Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates January 4th

January 4th, 2021

JANUARY 4th RESOURCES AND UPDATES:

 

Last Saturday, the day after Christmas, the United States reached a grim milestone: 1 in 1,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. (The Census Bureau estimates the U.S. population at around 330,750,000. Saturday afternoon, deaths from COVID-19 reached 331,116, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. COVID-19 infections in the U.S. reached 18.7 million.)

  • Manhattan’s seven-day positivity average as reported by the New York State COVID testing dashboard is 2.9%, up from the 2.7% reported in our last edition.

  • New York City’s seven-day positivity average as reported by the NYC Dept. of Health is 7.93%, up from the 6.05% reported in our last edition.

Unfortunately, the Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany has confirmed the first known case of the U.K. variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 in New York State. An individual from Saratoga County, NY, with no known recent travel, tested positive for the strain, which scientists say is more contagious than other strains. It is not believed to be deadlier or to cause more severe disease. Because the virus strain is more transmittable, it could lead to a higher infection rate and possibly a higher hospitalization rate. Please continue to do what is proven to reduce the spread. Wear a mask, social distance and be cautious.

More than 2 million individuals are now eligible to be vaccinated as part of Phase 1A. Today, the list of eligible New Yorkers was expanded again to include all doctors, nurses and health care staff who come in contact with the public; ambulatory centers staff; and all public health care workers who provide direct in-person care, including those who conduct COVID-19 tests and handle lab specimens. Beginning this week, eligibility will also be expanded to include home care workers, hospice workers, and nursing home and other congregate setting workers who have yet to receive a vaccine through the federal nursing home vaccination program. See the full list, including previously announced priority groups, here.

A new web application will help New Yorkers determine if they are eligible to get the vaccine. By answering a series of simple questions, New Yorkers can find out if they are eligible for the vaccine and, if so, where to make an appointment. See if you're eligible here.

New York expects 85 percent of all nursing home residents to receive their first vaccine dose by the end of the week. New York State is committing resources to expedite the federally run nursing home vaccination program. There are 611 facilities enrolled in the program. We will expedite the vaccination of the remaining 15 percent of nursing home residents over the next two weeks.

Governor Cuomo signed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act, which extends the moratorium on COVID-related residential evictions until May 1, while also providing foreclosure protections to homeowners and small landlords.

New York has updated its quarantine guidelines to align with the CDC's recommendations. Individuals exposed to COVID-19 can end their quarantine after 10 days without a testing requirement as long as no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. After day 10 is reached, individuals must continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14 and if any develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact their local health department or their health care provider to report this change and determine if they should seek testing.

Unemployed New Yorkers will begin receiving extended and expanded federal unemployment benefits this week. Starting the week January 3rd, unemployed New Yorkers will receive an additional $300 payment through the extended Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation programs. New Yorkers currently receiving benefits do not need to call the Department of Labor to receive these extended benefits—they should continue to certify for unemployment benefits in their usual manner and will automatically receive extended benefits.

Starting January 1, 2021, New Yorkers can begin using sick leave benefits under the state's Paid Sick Leave law. This legislation secures paid sick leave for workers at medium and large businesses and paid or unpaid leave for those at small businesses, depending on the employer's net income. New Yorkers can use guaranteed sick leave to recover from an illness themselves, care for a sick family member and more. Learn about Paid Sick Leave here.

After you get the vaccine, which activities can you safely resume? Experts answered.

When New York became the global epicenter of the pandemic in the spring, many health care heroes put themselves on the line to fight tirelessly against the virus. To thank our health care heroes for their tireless work throughout the pandemic, the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce produced a video to express our universal appreciation for all they have done for New York and for the nation. Watch it here.

New York's Wadsworth Laboratory has begun aggressive research of the new, more contagious COVID-19 strain discovered in the U.K. Already, Wadsworth has looked at more than 3,700 virus sequences identified in New York. It has yet to find the U.K. variant present in any of the random samples. Additionally, Wadsworth and the Department of Health have made agreements with six hospitals from across the State to obtain additional samples for further research and are making arrangements with other hospitals to do the same. If the variant is already here, we want to know, and we want to be able to aggressively trace it.

Virgin Atlantic has also agreed to require pre-departure COVID tests before passengers leave from the U.K. to New York. This is the third major airline to require a COVID-19 test before allowing passengers to board planes traveling from the United Kingdom to New York. I thank British Airways, Delta Airlines and Virgin Atlantic for this agreement.

Organizing and Decluttering: Search and Care will host a workshop for older adults January 15 @ 1pm on effectively decluttering and organizing your home in the times of COVID-19. Although many of us are finding ourselves spending more time at home, with more time to go through our belongings, some of us may feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin organizing and decluttering our space. Whether it is our most precious items or perhaps junk that seems to come out of nowhere, Felice Cohen will help you figure out where to begin this process which, for many, can be therapeutic. Register in advance for this meeting here.

Beginning Tuesday, January 19, 2021, MTA New York City Transit will resume fare collection on all Access-A-Ride services. The Access-A-Ride fare is $2.75 per trip (the same as the full fare on public transit) and is collected in cash. Customers must have exact change ready at boarding as Paratransit operators do not provide change or accept round-trip payment. MetroCards cannot be used as payment but customers may pay their fares using Access-A-Ride TransitCheck Coupons. Each coupon is good for full payment on one trip. As always, for those eligible, Personal Care Attendants may accompany Access-A-Ride passengers free of charge.  We will be notifying our Paratransit customers of this change directly by email, text alert, automated announcements on the Paratransit phone line, and through communications from our Paratransit customer service team, along with posters on Paratransit vehicles. We will also be using social media and our website to get the word out.  Customers may continue to safely choose how to book their trips via online trip management, MYmta App or by calling the Access-A-Ride call center at 1-877-337-2017. For the safety of our customers and employees, face coverings are required for all customers using MTA services.  For more information about Access-A-Ride Paratransit Service, visit https://new.mta.info/accessibility/paratransit.

The Department of Financial Services issued guidance that will help expand New York's hospital capacity. DFS is directing insurers to suspend certain preauthorization and administrative requirements to help hospitals implement New York's "surge and flex" protocol. With today's action, hospitals will be able to quickly transfer patients between hospitals, better balance patient load and more.

The New York State Department of Health has authorized the use of extra doses that have been found in Moderna vaccine vials. We have learned that many 10-dose vials of the Moderna vaccine have enough of the vaccine for 11 doses. (The Pfizer vaccine, similarly, found to have extra doses.) The Department of Health issued guidance on administering these extra doses.

For more detail on what to expect from vaccinations, see Our Town’s article citing Professor  Nina Schwalbe who teaches at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

New York State is in Phase 1 of vaccine distribution, and has already vaccinated more than 140,000 people with either the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine or the similar Moderna vaccine. The first New Yorkers to receive them, according to the State, will be:

  • Hospital emergency room workers, ICU staff, and pulmonary department staff

  • Nursing home residents and staff

  • Federally qualified health center employees

  • EMS workers

  • Coroners, medical examiners, and certain funeral workers

  • Staff and residents at NYS developmental disability and mental health facilities managed by OMH and OPWDD

  • Staff and residents at NYS OASAS addiction facilities

  • Urgent care center employees

  • Individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines

  • Next week, 1/4/21, the State plans to begin to vaccinate ambulatory care center staff and public-facing public health workers.

The State is expanding the priority groups of individuals eligible to receive a vaccine. The expanded group includes urgent care center employees, individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines (including local health department staff) and residents of NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) facilities. Next week, the state expects to further expand the group eligible for vaccination to ambulatory care workers and public-facing public health workers.

Our Town asked New Yorkers to reflect on this year, and their gratitude. Click here for a view of what they see in New York and New Yorkers.

Holiday greetings know no distance. Over the holidays, the seven astronauts aboard the International Space Station beamed a holiday message down to Earth—a message they called "Resilience," in tribute of the exceptionally difficult year we endured. "There couldn't be a more fitting name to describe 2020," said NASA astronaut Victor Glover, "The resilience of the human spirit is something that we can truly celebrate in this special season."

New York continues to monitor for the presence of the more contagious U.K. strain of COVID-19. The State Department of Health and private labs across the State have been analyzing genomic sequencing of COVID specimens since early spring, with more than 4,300 specimens sequences.

In case you missed it, you can watch the Columbia University Neighbors vaccine Zoom town hall Gale Brewer hosted last week with Community Boards 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

A minimum wage increase goes into effect. As part of the NY 2016-17 budget, New York signed legislation enacting a statewide $15 minimum wage plan that will lift the earnings of more than 2.1 million New Yorkers in all industries across the state. The minimum wage rose today from $13 to $14 for Long Island and Westchester, and from $11.80 to $12.50 for the rest of New York State. The NYC minimum wage reached the target of $15/hr a year ago today.

Death benefits to families of frontline government workers are extended for 30 days. This extends a measure signed in May providing death benefits to the families of frontline workers who lost their lives fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. They were there for us when we most needed it.

Education/Parenting

Get free homework help from licensed teachers through the United Federation of Teachers by calling 212-777-3380 or visiting the Dial-A-Teacher website, Mondays through Thursdays, 4-7 pm Help is available in Armenian, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Greek, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Tagalog.

The city’s Department of Education announced that applications opened for children applying for a kindergarten seat next fall; the deadline to submit applications is January 19, 2021. Parents should check the DOE website for further information and sign up for update emails at https://www.schools.nyc.gov/sign-up.

The City’s Dept. of Education made significant changes to middle and high school admissions, opened Specialized High School Admissions Test registration (open through 1/15):

  • The test will be administered at students’ home schools the week of 1/27.

  • The Discovery program, for students scoring just below cut-off scores, will reserve 20% of seats at each specialized high school for Discovery program participants (learn more here, under the Specialized High Schools tab).

  • The DREAM program (for 7th grade SHSAT prep) will be held virtually.

Non-specialized high school applications open on 1/18 (until 2/22). “Screens” for state tests and grades from the 2018-2019 school year and first marking period of the 2019-2020 school year will continue. High schools are no longer allowed to prioritize seats by district, and priority by borough will be eliminated beginning in the 2021-2022 school year.

Middle school applications open 1/11 (until 2/8):

  • Screens based on grades, attendance, and state test scores will be paused for this year.

  • Students will rank their top 12 choices and will be placed into a lottery for schools that receive more applicants than there are seats.

  • Middle schools can maintain geographic priority or priority for students of particular needs/demographics.

Students applying to arts high schools that require auditions must register by Tuesday, 2/23/21 and submit the virtual audition material by Monday, 3/1/21 (depending on the school, it might require a PDF, video, or other digital supplement). Learn more here.

Rising 6th graders in a K-8 school and rising 9th graders in a 6-12 school will have priority for seats in their current schools.

Entertainment/Distractions

If you’re inspired by the Netflix show “The Queen’s Gambit,” you could learn to play chess from an International Grand Master through Great Courses.

For New York Times Virtual Walking Tours of New York, click here.

For a view on how food consumption will change, click here.

For a sampling of front doors decorated for the holiday spirit, see Our Town’s photos.

Buffalo Bills stadium will allow limited capacity for the first home playoff game. The State Department of Health, the NFL and the Buffalo Bills have come to an agreement to allow approximately 6,700 fans to attend the Bills' first home playoff game in 25 years.

“A Christmas Carol in Harlem” is available to stream for free through The Classical Theatre of Harlem through Sunday (1/3/21).

Watch the global concert “As One,” produced by New Heritage Theatre Group and Inamori Art Project Group, through Monday, 1/18/21.

Apply now to join your Community Board, the most grassroots form of local government. The Boards are pivotal in shaping their communities and work to enhance and preserve the character of the city’s many unique neighborhoods. Applications close Monday, 2/1/2021.

FINANCIAL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES UPDATES

President Trump finally signed the $908 billion coronavirus relief package on Sunday, 12/27/20. The package includes these provisions (according to this piece at the Washington Post):

  • $600 stimulus checks for those earning under $75,000 annually, including children-- so a family of four would receive $2,400. (The size of the payment decreases for people who earned between $75,000 and $99,000 in the 2019 tax year until it is eliminated above $99,000.)

  • Extended unemployment benefits of up to $300 per week, at least through 3/14/21.

  • Extended Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for part-time and gig workers who did not qualify for state unemployment insurance benefits. But there’s a twist: Applicants must provide documentation proving employment or self-employment within 21 days of applying; those extending their benefits before 1/31/21 have 90 days to submit the documentation.

  • $284 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans, expanded eligibility for nonprofit organizations, news outlets, churches, and faith-based organizations and modifications to the program to better serve smaller businesses and independent restaurants.

  • Recipients of forgiven PPP loans will be allowed to deduct the costs covered by those loans on their federal tax returns.

  • $20 billion for targeted grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program.

  • Extension, until 1/31/21, of the federal moratorium on evictions (slated to expire at the end of this year) and $25 billion in emergency assistance to renters.

  • $20 billion for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines, $8 billion for vaccine distribution, and $20 billion to assist states with COVID-19 testing.

The relief package also included $15 billion to fund the “Save Our Stages Act” to help save independent cultural venues ranging from Broadway theaters to dive bar rock clubs, from museums to movie theaters (and includes talent agents and managers, too).

The Mayor extended the City’s Open Storefronts program through 9/30/21, allowing storefront retail businesses to continue operating directly outside their store. Plan now for warmer weather; read the FAQ for eligibility and operating guidelines, and apply here.

Save the date (Tuesday, 1/12/21 at 2 pm) for “Set Your Business Up for Success in 2021,” a free small business webinar hosted by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. It will feature advice on taking advantage of the new federal stimulus package, the latest consumer behaviors, and free resources for online marketing. Click the title to register.

You could work as a snow laborer removing snow and ice for the city Dept. of Sanitation. If you apply now, you’ll be ready to work after the next storm. Pay is up to $22.50 an hour; you must be over age 18 and eligible to work in the U.S. (The Census Bureau is also hiring-- looking for employees to take additional surveys. View a field representative job description and application link here.)

Governor Cuomo has extended the eviction moratoriumThursday (1/7), Lenox Hill Neighborhood House hosts virtual trainings on applying to the Rent Relief Program. The English session is at 2 pm, and the Spanish session is at 3 pm. Click the links to join.

Gov. Cuomo has reopened COVID Rent Relief applications through Monday, 2/1/2021 to provide a one-time subsidy paid directly to landlords. Because most of the program’s $100 million in funding wasn’t disbursed in the fall, eligibility has been broadened to help more New Yorkers. Those who previously applied and were denied will be automatically reconsidered for this next round-- they won’t have to reapply. Newly eligible renters or those who never applied can apply here. To qualify, tenants must have:

  • Had reduced income in the four months of April, May, June, or July 2020 (compared to March);

  • Had a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income before 3/7/2020; and

  • Paid more than 30% of their gross income in rent from April through July.

Those criteria applied to New York County (i.e. Manhattan) translates to a maximum income of $63,700 for a single-person’s household paying over $1,592 in monthly rent; or $90,950 max for a four-person household paying $2,273 a month; view other household sizes’ income caps here.

Learn about the Paycheck Protection Program application process at a webinar hosted by Congressmember Adriano Espaillat. Watch on FacebookYouTube.

TechCongress, a technology policy fellowship, is recruiting for its 2021 Congressional Innovation Scholars program, which places technologists to serve as tech policy advisors to Members of Congress. The program pays a stipend equivalent to an annual salary of $60,000 and other benefits. Scholars have been working on the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee report on Big Tech, helped pass the OPEN Government Data Act into law, and worked to change defense procurement policy to allow start-ups to better compete with larger contractors. TechCongress will host an information session Wednesday, 1/27 at 2 pm. Applications close Friday, 2/5.

Apply by 2/16/21 for one of 32 affordable apartments in six West Harlem buildings (118 W. 139th St., 123 W. 112th St., 30 W. 132nd St., 281 W. 118th St., 120 W. 139th St., and 122 W. 139th St.). Studios to four-bedrooms are available with income limits of $48,480-$120,080. Apply through the NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development’s Housing Connect portal.

Apply by Wednesday, 1/27/21 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s paid internships for undergraduate and graduate students. The internships all begin in the summer but vary in length.

Asian-American and Pacific Islander college students can apply to the AAPI Community Fellowship about mental health, sponsored by local wellness nonprofit CollectedApplications close Friday, 1/8.

Arts organizations can now apply for an ArtTable fellow for summer 2021. ArtTable provides $4,000 stipends for women arts students or emerging professionals to spend up to eight weeks with an arts organization. Host organizations can apply here by Sunday, 1/31.

The Department of Small Business Services issued the following advice about PPP.

$284 billion was just allocated for another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a forgivable business loan offered through the federal government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The first round of funding ran out fast, and many businesses who were not prepared ahead of time were unable to successfully apply for funding. Although guidelines and applications are not live yet, we recommend preparing now so you are ready to apply as quickly as possible.

Please note: requirements may change, but below are a few ways to start preparing.

Prepare Your Documents

Each lender may have different requirements, but you can begin collecting some commonly required documents, including:

  • Copy of Photo ID for all owners who own 20% of the business or more
  • 2019 and 2020 Profit and Loss Statements to show revenue loss during 2020
  • 2019 Business Tax Returns
  • For partnerships – include IRS Form 1065 and Schedule K-1
  • For sole proprietors – include IRS Form 1040 Schedule C
  • Articles of Incorporation / Business Organizational Documents
  • Payroll Reports with a list of gross wages, paid time off, and taxes assessed for all employees for all 12 months of 2020
  • 2020 Employer IRS Documents (including one of the following for all 4 quarters of 2020):
  • Form 941: Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return
  • Form 944: Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return (for smallest employers)
  • Form 940: Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return
  • Form W-3: Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements
  • Documentation to support Health Insurance and Retirement expenses incurred as a part of payroll expenses (for example: a statement from insurance or retirement company)

Sign Up for Notifications

Be sure to sign up to receive updates from your lender and from SBS to stay in the loop on when and how you can apply.

Determine How Much You Can Apply For

You can apply for up to $2 million or 2.5 times your monthly payroll, whichever is less – if you are a restaurant or a hotel, you can apply for 3.5 times your monthly payroll up to $2 million.

Loans will be forgiven (meaning you do not need to pay them back) if you use them for eligible expenses, including 60% for payroll expenses and 40% for other eligible operating expenses.

Even if you already received a PPP loan you still may be eligible for a second award.

To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Show proof of 25% economic loss in at least one quarter during 2020
  • Have 300 employees or less
  • Have operated your business since on or before February 15, 2020

We recommend getting your business paperwork in order as soon as possible so you are ready to apply when applications go live.

Applications are now open for the Cultural Arts Capital Loan Fund from the Fund for the City of New York. This loan initiative provides bridge financing to assist small and mid-sized nonprofit cultural arts organizations with their capital project expenses, with a priority to groups that have capital grants from the Borough President, City of New York and the Department of Cultural Affairs. BIPOC-led organizations are strongly encouraged to apply. Fill out this inquiry form to start an application.

Eligible storefront businesses can apply for an interest-free NYC LMI Storefront Loan of up to $100,000, from the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services and Pursuit.

The Interest Rate Reduction Grant reduces the interest expense owed on an existing business loan with select Community Development Financial Institutions. Click here to find participating CDFIs and more information.

Artists are invited to apply for the Experimental Projects Residency Program from Alfred University’s Institute for Electronic Arts. Apply here.

Applications for HEAP can be accessed by calling 212-331-3126 or visiting the ACCESS HRA website for instructions here. HEAP applications are available for download here.

Learn new job skills and earn certificates to advance your career through 4,000 free online courses offered by the state Dept. of Labor and Coursera, such as “How to Manage a Remote Team” and “Entrepreneurship.” View the course catalog.

The DSNY has issued the below information about restaurant outdoor dining and snow. For more information, click here.

Open Restaurants that use outdoor heating must follow newly released guidance from the Dept. of Buildings and the FDNY for electricnatural gas and propane heaters. Open Restaurants are subject to new regulations pertaining to roadway barriers, snow and dining enclosures, per the Dept. of Transportation.

If you are a New York City renter at risk of eviction, you may be eligible for free legal assistance. For more information, please contact the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants or the City Tenant Helpline by calling 311, or visit the New York City Tenant Resource Portal by clicking here. You may also seek help through the Legal Aid Society by calling (212) 577-3300 or by clicking here for more information.

NYC Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration (DSS/HRA): For updated information on COVID-19 and changes to social services benefits, including SNAP food assistance, cash assistance, and burial assistance, please refer to DSS/HRA’s Important information about COVID-19 and your HRA benefits.

Free financial counseling is available by phone through the NYC Dept. of Consumer and Worker Protection. Book an appointment online or by calling 311.

The Dept. of Small Business Services has launched Career Discovery NYC, a free career search and skills training tool.

Restaurant & Bar Reopening Toolkit – Find all the guidelines and resources you need in one place, including checklists, Open Restaurant siting criteria, and posters. Download it here, and find additional guidance and resources for restaurants on SBS’ restaurant reopening guide here.

Find Outdoor Dining Fixtures & Equipment – Please click here for the City's directory of equipment rental fixtures & equipment for safe outdoor dining.

The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) will work to ensure that the most up-to-date guidance and materials needed by small business owners for a safe phased-in reopening are readily available. The information will be housed on a centralized resource page with guidance and best practices for the restaurant industry across all five boroughs. SBS will also launch a reopening supplies marketplace for easy access to wholesalers selling PPE, gloves, sneeze guards and other equipment. Business owners can call a hotline at 1-888-SBS-4NYC to ask questions about this process.

PPE for Small Businesses: NYC SBS coordinating with 70+ BIDs and Chambers of Commerce to provide 2 million pieces of PPE to small businesses citywide. Find a distribution partner near you at: Free Face Coverings for Small Businesses & Their Employees

The City’s Department of Small Business Services has shared their new “Find a Job” page, which lists open employment listings from across NYC. Learn more and search the listings.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP

Order directly from restaurants, not from delivery apps. See why the New York Times.

Businesses and organizations can donate extra food and supplies to local organizations that can then redistribute them. Details about eligible donors and recipients can be found online: For food donations visit nyc.gov/donatefood; for non-food donations, visit nyc.gov/donate.

Borrow free equipment for community clean-ups from the Dept. of Sanitation by calling 311, emailing [email protected] or submitting this form.

If you are experiencing COVID symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to someone who is positive, get tested. Find a testing site near you. You can also call 1-888-364-3065 to schedule a free appointment at a New York State-run testing location.

If you get a call from NYS Contact Tracing, pick up. Contact tracers are working around the clock to trace clusters and inform people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. How can you help? Simply by picking up the phone. If your caller ID says "NYS Contact Tracing," pick up and help New York stop the spread. (Tracers will never ask for your Social Security Number or financial information; if someone does, they are not an official tracer and you should hang up.)

Get a flu shot. Find pharmacies and clinics offering flu shots through the NYC Health Map. You can sort for free shots and for locations covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Give your friends a call. Check in with your family. Ask them how everything is going and how they are feeling. Let's show each other some love because mental health is just as important as physical health. New Yorkers can also call the State's mental health hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for free emotional support, consultations & referrals to a provider.

The pandemic has caused declines in organ donations. With so many people awaiting lifesaving organ transplants, Governor Cuomo urges New Yorkers to become organ donors and join the NYS Donate Life Registry.

Apply to become a member of the NYC Community Emergency Response Teamwhich assists first responders with community preparedness and disaster support. Apply here.

Donate Plasma: Recovered COVID-19 patients are needed to donate plasma, which is used to treat critically ill patients across the country. Donate at a NY Blood Center location. Eligible donors can give convalescent plasma up to eight times in a three-month period.

THE CITY is asking folks who know any New York City residents who have died of COVID-19 to fill out a simple form to tell them about the lives of those we’ve lost. Their goal is to put as many names, faces and details to the numbers as possible. You’ll find more here — including the form.

Donate blood. The New York Blood Center says that levels of blood are dangerously low. To make an appointment to donate, visit nybc.org or call 1.800.933.2566. Appointments are strongly recommended.

Support local businesses by buying gift cards. We have posted links to sites selling gift cards. Another site selling gift cards to restaurants, barber shops, and events like ghost hunts, and museums, see SupportLocal at https://supportlocal.usatoday.com/cities/

New York City Service is looking for volunteers to help those affected by COVID-19, click here.

New York State has provided a form for the donation of goods, services, or space. To access the form, click here.

The dedicated staff at the Stanley Isaacs Center, 415 E. 93 St., needs help supporting their older adult clients through meals and case management services. Interested in volunteering? Shifts: Meal Plating from 7:00am-9:00am; Meal Delivery from 9:45am-1:00pm; Cold Packing from 10:00am-1:00pm. Contact [email protected]org

LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS' TELE-TOWN HALLS & COMMUNITY EVENTS

Senator Krueger's Virtual Town Hall Series
COVID-19 and the Vaccines

On Thursday, January 14th from 4 pm – 5 pm, Dave A. Chokshi, MD, MSc, Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, will join Senator Krueger for an update on the course of the COVID-19 virus in New York City and information about the FDA-approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Now that we have approved vaccines to fight COVID-19, Dr. Chokshi will share information about the immunization process. Topics of discussion will include the City’s plans to administer the vaccines, vaccine safety and efficacy, who should be vaccinated, and logistics required to vaccinate all New Yorkers who want to be immunized.

You will have the option of joining the event online through Zoom, a webinar hosting service.

You will also have the option to view the event online through Facebook. Please note that you do not need a Facebook account or profile to view the event through Facebook.

If you do not have access to a computer, tablet, or other electronic device, you can listen in by telephone.

**Once you register for the event, you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom and Facebook links, and the call-in details.**

The event will feature a question and answer session with Dr. Chokshi. If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, whether they are safe for everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding persons, the prioritization of New Yorkers to receive the vaccine, i.e. older adults and those with underlying conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, what side effects you might experience, and when and where you can anticipate being vaccinated, please RSVP for the town hall on January 14th.  Attendees will be able to submit questions through Zoom and Facebook during the event but are strongly encouraged to submit them in advance.

Please let us know you plan to attend the January 14th Virtual Town Hall on COVID-19 and the Vaccines by registering at https://tinyurl.com/kruegervaccinetownhall.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs & Resources

The State's Coronavirus Hotline is open 24 hours if you have any questions or concerns: 1-888-364-3065. **If you need help getting medical care, you can also call 311. New York City will provide care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.

The NYP COVID Hotline 646-697-4000 can answer questions about COVID-19. This hotline is a public service to provide information only and not to diagnose, treat, or render a medical opinion. Their Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions document is available on the NYP Coronavirus website.

To get regular updates on the latest developments with coronavirus in New York City text COVID to 692-692. You will receive regular SMS texts with the latest news and developments. Please check nyc.gov/health/coronavirus for the latest updates

If you are experiencing stress or feel anxious, contact NYC Well at 888-NYC-WELL (888-692- 9355) or text WELL to 65173. NYC Well is a confidential help line that is staffed 24/7 by trained counselors who can provide brief supportive therapy, crisis counseling, and connections to behavioral health treatment, in more than 200 languages.

Additional resources:

Download the app on your iPhone here.  Download the app on your Android device here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Past Updates from CB8