Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates February 1st

February 1st, 2021

FEBRUARY 1st RESOURCES AND UPDATES:

Gov. Cuomo issued a State of Emergency for 44 counties and urges New Yorkers to stay off the roads and avoid all unnecessary travel.

Above-ground subway service will have been suspended by the time you’re reading this; all other trains are running local only, so they can store trains on the express tracks. LIRR and Metro-North service is ending mid-afternoon. If you *have* to go out, make sure you have a way back home! (The City has “restricted” all unnecessary travel so that snowplows can do their thing.)

City-run vaccine sites will remain closed Tuesday (2/2), and clients have been texted or called to cancel appointments; sites will reach out to reschedule appointments.

Open Restaurants (i.e. outdoor dining) may not seat diners in roadways tonight (2/1).

Sanitation collection is suspended Monday and Tuesday (2/1-2).

Alternate-side parking rules are suspended through Saturday (2/6).

COVID hospitalizations dropped to 8,003. Of the 175,038 tests reported yesterday, 8,508, or 4.86 percent, were positive. There were 1,500 patients in ICU yesterday, down 34 from the previous day. Of them, 987 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 141 New Yorkers to the virus.

As of 11am this morning, 90 percent of first doses allocated to the state have been administered. This represents 1,393,064 first doses administered of the 1,554,450 first dose allocations received from the federal government. So far, 307,662 second doses have been administered out of 725,050 second doses received. See data by region on the State's Vaccine Tracker.

President Biden announced vaccine allocations to states will go up 16 percent and that we can count on that allocation for the next three weeks.

Remember, mental health resources are available for New Yorkers who need them. As we continue through the winter we can't underestimate the mental and emotional strain of the pandemic. New Yorkers can visit headspace.com/ny for free mindfulness resources or call our support hotline at 1-844-863-9314.

The application deadline for COVID Rent Relief is February 1, 2021. Last month, I signed an Executive Order expanding eligibility for New York State's COVID Rent Relief Program so more rent relief can be provided to New Yorkers. Learn more about the program.

Weill Cornell CTSC will be hosting an upcoming presentation "COVID-19 and the Community: Staying Safe in the Pandemic's Second Year " on Tuesday, February 9th from 10:30am-11:30am by Jonathan Berardi. The presentation will be done in English and Spanish. This presentation will start with a brief history of the COVID-19 pandemic, both globally and in the United States, and discussion about our current understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  Public health measures will be discussed with emphasis placed on the rationale for these measures.  There will be a brief review of current treatment options, and the role of clinical research will be discussed including trials being conducted at Weill Cornell Medicine. Please click the link below to join the presentation: https://weillcornell.zoom.us/j/98475912007 or dial by your location: +1 646 876 9923 US (New York), Meeting ID: 984 7591 2007

We're slowly coming down from our holiday surge and the number of new cases and hospitalizations have decreased across the state. In response, we're making modifications to our micro-clusters. All Orange Zone restrictions, and some Yellow Zone restrictions, have been lifted statewide—including all cluster zones in Western New York. The Yellow Zones that remain are in Newburgh and in New York City (two in the Bronx, one in Queens, and one in Washington Heights). Yellow Zone restrictions, which include mandatory weekly testing of a portion of students and faculty at schools, remain in place in those zones.

Additional cases of the UK variant have been identified in New York State. The new cases have been found in Long Island, New York City, Westchester, Saratoga, Tompkins, Niagara, Onondaga, Essex and Warren Counties, bringing the statewide total to 42 known cases.

The State extended a partnership with HelloFresh to deliver free meal kits to veterans and military families in New York. Since establishing this partnership in July 2020, HelloFresh has provided more than 200,000 nutritious meals to veterans and military families in New York City who are facing food insecurity due to COVID-19. Now, New York and HelloFresh are extending this collaboration through the second quarter of 2021, ensuring that veterans and military families in New York City will continue to receive these nourishing meals throughout the challenging months ahead. We thank HelloFresh for their partnership.

There is a new website created by volunteers that simplifies the search for appointments at https://nycvaccinelist.com/While the shortage of vaccine means that appointments are rarely available on this site and usually disappear very quickly, it may prove a more useful resource as the vaccine supply increases.

According to Governor Cuomo, if our current trajectory holds, we will be able to reopen New York City dining at 25 percent capacity on February 14th, Valentine's Day. Read the NY Times story here.

Effective March 15th, marriage receptions can be held under limited state guidelines. Events must be approved by the local health department and there will be mandatory testing of all guests before an event. Capacity at weddings and receptions will be limited to no more than 150 people or no more than 50 percent of the venue's capacity, whichever is lower. All patrons must be tested prior to the event. This upcoming change in guidelines follows the success of the Buffalo Bills program, which allowed fans to attend home games with mandatory testing.

New Yorkers should not be charged for Personal Protective Equipment by in-network health care providers under their state-regulated health and dental insurance coverage. Pursuant to State Department Financial Services guidance, insurers are required to make sure that consumers are not charged PPE-related fees by in-network providers. New Yorkers who have been wrongfully charged are eligible for a refund from their insurer. To date, the Department has recovered a total of $414,727 of PPE-related charges for more than 14,000 consumers since the start of the pandemic.

To date, New York has conducted over 31 million tests. New York continues to lead in testing and in less than a week we've conducted one million tests. Getting tested for COVID regularly is a great way to ensure your health and the health of those around you. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID or believe you may have been exposed to the virus, get tested. Find a testing site near you. You can also call 1-888-364-3065 to make a free appointment at a New York State-run testing location.

An amazing team of volunteers (sign up to help them here) has created NYCVaccineList.com, an all-in-one website that aggregates all available vaccine appointments at City, State, and private sites by pinging those sites electronically and by phone every few minutes.

Seniors who schedule an appointment at City-run vaccine sites through vaccinefinder.nyc.gov will be asked if they need transportation, and NYC Dept. for the Aging (DFTA) providers will then contact those seniors by phone to coordinate free ride pick-ups using Access-a-Ride, private car services, and cabs.

Gale Brewer formed a Manhattan Vaccine Task Force to improve local implementation of, and increase health equity within, the City and State’s vaccination efforts-- composed of community-based organizations, volunteer groups, elected officials, Community Board chairs, and other stakeholders from across the borough with on-the-ground knowledge of all of Manhattan’s communities. The first meeting was last week, and they’ll meet weekly. Contact [email protected] to learn more.

Gov. Cuomo announced that New Yorkers can now report suspected fraud in the vaccine distribution process to 833-VAX-SCAM (833-829-7226) or [email protected].

Travels Far,” the MTA’s memorial to the 136 transit employees lost to COVID, is now available to view online.

Tuesday (2/2) at 6 pm, Lenox Health Greenwich Village hosts “Ask the Experts: Updates on COVID-19” on Zoom. RSVP to [email protected].

All public school buildings will remain closed Tuesday (2/2), and all instruction will be remote; Learning Bridges sites will also be closed. GetFoodNYC Grab & Go sites are suspended.

The NYC Panel for Educational Policy rejected the Gifted and Talented testing contract in the wee hours of Thursday (1/28).  Gothamist covered the story here.

President Biden signed an Executive Order last Friday (1/22) asking the Dept. of Agriculture to allow states to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and to increase by 15% the Pandemic EBT funding which goes to students who would have qualified for free or reduced-priced school meals if schools were in session.

Monday (2/1) through Thursday (2/4) from 3-5 pm, the 7th annual To Code + Beyond: Toolkits for Change” presents tools for bringing high-quality computer science education to public schools, hosted by Cornell Tech’s K-12 Initiative. Educators, policymakers, and funders can click the title to register.

College and graduate students can now apply for a paid summer internship with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. Apply by Friday, 3/5.

Entertainment/Distractions

A Gorgeous Snowy Owl Makes "Mega-Rare" Manhattan Appearance In Central Park. Read about it in Gothamist here.

Multicultural arts and education nonprofit Get Empowered has launched a free, virtual fitness and wellness series for adults. Email [email protected] to register for Zumba (Mondays and Tuesdays, 6 pm) and/or yoga, movement, and mindfulness classes (Wednesdays, 7 pm).

[email protected] - Steven Zipperstein: Monday February 8, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM. Steven J. Zipperstein, author of "Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History" (Liveright/WW Norton, 2018), has just started writing a biographical study of Philip Roth. Roth is one of the world's most highly regarded and awarded American writers of his generation, if not one of the most controversial American novelists. Based on extensive archival research, interviews with close friends and others, as well as conversations with Roth himself over the course of several years. Join us for a fascinating evening as Steven Zipperstein and Leah Garrett discuss the life of Philip Roth and Zipperstein’s journey on beginning a biography. Click here to register.

Nathan Myhrvold, who worked at Microsoft as Chief Technology Officer for 14 years, has captured the highest resolution image of a snowflake's structure. Capturing the uniqueness of each snowflake was extremely difficult since they are so small and melt so quickly, but Myhrvold developed a machine that was able to photograph a snowflake's individuality in clear resolution.

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, 2/22/2021.

FINANCIAL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES UPDATES

File your taxes for free if you earned $68,000 or less in 2020, thanks to NYC Free Tax Prep. If you didn’t receive some or any of the two pandemic stimulus checks, NYC Free Tax Prep can assist with claiming the equivalent amounts as a “Recovery Rebate Credit.” (Volunteer tax preparers are needed for these sites, too.)

As a result of the relief act passed in December, filers can also take advantage of a one-time look-back provision, allowing them to choose to use their 2019 or 2020 income for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, a change that benefits those who lost their job in the last year.

In other personal finance news, the Biden administration has extended the pause on most federal student loans -- due to expire Sunday (1/31)-- through 9/30, which means payments are suspended, collections on defaulted loans are stopped, and the interest rate is 0% through September. The Federal Student Aid Office’s website has a detailed FAQ about eligibility.

Manhattan landlord James Fong has created UpPeg.com, an online platform where landlords can list available retail space and potential tenants can approach landlords directly. List vacancies or find a vacant storefront.

Applications close Friday, 2/12 for “Project Innovation,” a grant for nonprofits from NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47. Apply here.

 The Green City Force Service Corps is hiring NYCHA residents ages 18-24 with a GED or high school diploma. This 8-month, paid AmeriCorps opportunity prepares members for roles in the green jobs industry. Register for an information session, Tuesdays at 2 pm, by contacting (646)-622-6778 or [email protected]. Apply for the Service Corps here.

Tuesday (2/2) at 6 pm, small theaters are invited to an information session about receiving $2,000 operating grants from Art New York’s Creative Opportunity Fund, hosted by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Register here.

Restaurants can now sign up for Restaurant Week To Go until tomorrow (2/2) at 5 pm. Restaurant Week itself has been extended through Sunday, 2/28 with takeout and delivery meals available for $20.21 each.

NYC created "What to Expect When You’re Inspected: NYC Indoor and Outdoor Dining Checklist for Participating Establishments." Check it out here. 

Applications open Thursday, 4/1 for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants aka Save our Stages. Arts venues and representatives can see eligibility criteria here and should note they must have been in operation as of 2/29/2020 and must not have received a Paycheck Protection Program loan on or after 12/27/2020. For additional info, contact [email protected].

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.

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.)

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 hosted 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.

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.

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

Helpers for COVID-19 is an organization that delivers essential goods to the immunocompromised. To volunteer, click here. To request deliveries, click here or call (862)-621-9614‬. Assistance is available in English, Hindi, Russian, Mandarin, Spanish, and Hebrew.

The NYC Civic Corps is seeking nonprofit organizations to host 2021-2022 AmeriCorps members, who help develop host organizations’ volunteer programs. Learn more and apply here.

The Dept. of Sanitation is seeking locations with indoor storage space that can host eCycleNYC bins for electronics recycling. Interested building owners and managers can fill out this form, and DSNY will be in touch.

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 Center415 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 

2021 Virtual Roundtable for Boomers and Seniors from Senator Liz Krueger. “Being Mortal: Thinking About End of Life Decision Making”

This year's Roundtable series will bring together experts to offer concrete tools to assist with end of life planning, and provide a forum to ignite our imagination about what we value and how we want to live as we age.

To RSVP for any or all of the sessions in this year's series, please go to https://tinyurl.com/2021SeniorRoundtableSeries.

Thursday, February 18th - Health Care Proxies and Living Wills 10 am - 11:30 am

- Sally Kaplan, Program Director, What Matters: Caring Conversations about the End of Life, Marlene Meyerson JCC
- Tina Janssen-Spinosa, Senior Staff Attorney, Total Life Choices Program Coordinator, NYLAG

Thursday, March 18th - Research on the Use of Psychedelics to Address End-of–Life Existential Distress 10 am - 11:30 am

- Anthony Bossis, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, NYU Langone Health
- Mary Cosimano, MSW, Director of Guide/Facilitator Services, Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, Johns Hopkins

Thursday, April 22nd - Living Well: What Do We Value Most? 10:00 am – 11:30 am

- Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, Senior Rabbi, Central Synagogue
- Jeannie Blaustein, PhD, D. Ministry, Founding Board Chair, Reimaging End of Life, Adjunct Faculty, Pace University, Psychology

Thursday, May 20th - Reimagining Later Life Care Models 10 am – 11:30 am

- TBA

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