Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates February 22nd

February 22nd, 2021

FEBRUARY 22nd RESOURCES AND UPDATES:

 

New regulations on nursing home visitations will go into effect Friday, February 26. These full guidelines depend on a county's COVID risk level, and continue to depend on the nursing home facility being free of COVID-19 cases for 14 days. For counties with COVID-19 positivity rates between 5-10 percent (on a 7-day rolling average), visitor testing is required and visitors must have a negative test before entry. For counties with COVID-19 positivity rates below 5 percent, visitor testing is strongly encouraged and rapid tests maybe be utilized. Alternatively, visitors may provide proof of a completed COVID-19 vaccination no less than 14 days from the date of the visit. Visitation was not be permitted if the county's COVID-19 positivity rate is greater than 10 percent. Compassionate care visits are always permitted.

COVID hospitalizations rose slightly to 5,804. Of the 142,019 tests reported yesterday, 6,146, or 4.33 percent, were positive. There were 1,148 patients in ICU yesterday, down 14 from the previous day. Of them, 780 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 89 New Yorkers to the virus.

As of 11am this morning, 93 percent of first doses allocated to the state have been administered. This represents 2,228,283 first doses administered of the 2,406,535 first dose allocations received from the federal government. So far, 1,155,870 second doses have been administered out of the 1,337,275 second doses received. See data by region and county on the State's Vaccine Tracker: ny.gov/vaccinetracker.

There are still hundreds of appointments available at the Medgar Evers College and York College vaccination centers for eligible New Yorkers. Both these sites, established in partnership with FEMA, open Wednesday and will vaccinate 3,000 New Yorkers a day, seven days a week. For the Medgar Evers College vaccination center, eligible New Yorkers who live in the following ZIP codes can book an appointment today: 11207, 11212, 11208, 11206, 11233, 11213, 11221, 11226, 11236, 11225, 11210, 11203, 11238. For the York College vaccination center, eligible residents in these ZIP codes can book today: 11436, 11434, 11433, 11419, 11413, 11412, 11422, 11429, 11420, 11411, 11418, 11435, 11428, 11423, 11432, 11427, 11439, 11691, 11692, 11693. Next week, scheduling opens to any eligible resident of Queens or Brooklyn. If you're eligible, schedule your appointment HERE or by calling 1-833-967-4829.

New York launched the New York Forward Rapid Test Program to help accelerate a safe economic recovery. This unique public-private partnership will make low-cost rapid testing available to the public to support enhanced economic activity as the State continues to reopen sectors of the economy. Eleven initial sites will open today in New York City with the capacity to conduct more than 5,000 tests per day, while additional sites are scheduled to open in New York City and other parts of the state in the coming weeks. Learn more.

New York City indoor dining will expand to 35 percent capacity this week. The new reopening guidance goes into effect Friday, February 26, and aligns with New Jersey's 35 percent limit.

President Biden took additional steps this week to expand COVID-19 testing, improve the availability of tests, and better prepare for the threat of variants. Steps over the last week have included expanding COVID-19 testing for schools and underserved populations, increasing domestic manufacturing of testing supplies, and rapidly increasing virus genome sequencing. You can read the full update from the White House here.

This week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Agriculture announced a coordinated extension and expansion of forbearance and foreclosure relief programs until June 30, 2021. You can read more about the Biden Administration’s housing actions here.

Vaccine Appointments Affected By Winter Storms. It is very possible that your scheduled vaccination appointment could be rescheduled due to winter storms in New York State. You will receive an email or text message rescheduling your vaccination appointment if you fall into this category. As part of the rescheduling process (to the extent possible), timing of your new appointment will be scheduled in alignment with the original appointment's time. If that new appointment time does not work with your schedule, you will be provided with a contact number to identify a different time that may work better.

Where and How Can I Get a Vaccine Through NYS? Vaccines are available at pharmacies, hospitals, and through local health departments statewide – please contact your provider of choice to schedule your vaccine appointment. Additionally, there is a network of State-run sites distributing vaccines statewide. To determine eligibility and to schedule an appointment through April 16 at New York State-run vaccination sites, you can use the Am I Eligible app.

New York's health insurance Open Enrollment Period will be further extended to May 15, 2021, aligning with states across the country. With this extension, New York joins the federal Marketplace and other state-based Marketplaces giving consumers even more time to enroll for 2021. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, New York's health insurance Marketplace, or directly through insurers.

DOUBLE MASKING GUIDANCE: Although we’re excited about the vaccines, we must remain vigilant in our fight against the spread of COVID-19. Wear a face covering at all times, indoors and outdoors to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued guidance that you can get better protection by wearing two masks (a cloth mask over a disposable mask), or by wearing a single higher-grade mask, such as a KN95. Specifics are available here.

SENIOR VACCINATION EFFORTS: Mayor de Blasio announced a three-pronged plan to vaccinate homebound seniors and the essential frontline home care workers who care for them. Beginning last week, the City launched on-site senior vaccination clinics in Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) and, with the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in March, stand up a vaccination drive for homebound seniors. To minimize risk for homebound seniors, the City will aim to vaccinate 25,000 home health aides, offering dedicated appointments in the areas where they live and work.  This work compliments the City’s ongoing on-site clinics in NYCHA developments for NYCHA residents 65+. More detail is in the recent release.

Beginning March 15, weddings and catered events can resume statewide. Venues are restricted to 50 percent capacity, with no more than 150 people per event. All attendees and patrons must be tested prior to the event. Mask wearing and other safety protocols will be required.

On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo announced that with continued decreases in the infection and hospitalization rates, we are able to take steps in our post-COVID recovery and we are now in a place where we can bring back our recreational industries with the proper safety protocols in place. Indoor family entertainment centers will be able to reopen with 25 percent capacity and health protocols starting Friday, March 26th. Outdoor amusement parks can open with a 33 percent capacity starting Friday, April 9th. As we've said time and time again, our success will be determined by our actions and as long as we stay united and keep carrying this progress forward we will be able to see more and more sectors of our economy reopen.

Day and overnight summer camps in New York State can begin to plan for reopening. The Department of Health will issue specific reopening guidance, including details on timing, in the coming weeks.

Tuesday through Sunday (2/23-28) from 8 am - 7 pm, free, walk-in COVID testing is available at LSA Family Health Service (1st Ave. and 115th St.).

Tuesday (2/23) at 11 am, “COVID-19 Impact Panel: Amplifying the Experiences of Arab, Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian Populations” discusses the pandemic’s effect on immigrant, refugee, and low-income communities, sponsored by the Arab-American Family Support Center. Click here to register.

eCornell is hosting several webcasts with Cornell faculty and industry experts (click the titles to register):

Wednesday (2/24) at 7 pm, “Violence Prevention” is the kick-off discussion for the virtual “Envisioning Alternatives to Policing” series from the Museum of the City of New York. Register here.

Thursday (2/25) at 6 pm, virtual town hall “To Vaccinate, or not to Vaccinate” discusses COVID vaccine safety and efficacy, featuring health experts from communities of color and members of Community Board 9's Same Gender Loving/LGBTQ+ Task Force (CB9 covers West Harlem). Click the title to register.

Thursday (2/25) at 6 pm, NYU Langone experts answer questions about the COVID vaccines, in partnership with Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. Register here or watch on YouTube or Facebook.

The Governor announced sweeping nursing home reform legislation to increase transparency, hold nursing home operators accountable for misconduct and help ensure facilities are prioritizing patient care over profits as part of the 30-day amendments. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing health equity and access to care issues among all communities, however, the State's minority communities and older adults have been disproportionately affected. These reforms would make permanent the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to improve the health and safety of nursing home residents, as well as the quality of services in nursing home facilities.

This legislation aims to improve the safety and quality of New York's nursing homes through a series of reforms that increase transparency around nursing home staffing, expenditures and ownership; hold operators accountable for violations of the Public Health Law and other misconduct; and ensure nursing home facilities are prioritizing patient care and safety over profits and adequate funding is spent on direct patient care and resident staffing.

Increasing Transparency: These reforms aim to increase transparency by:

  • Requiring nursing homes to post their rates for each payer source on a public website, updated annually;
  • Requiring the posting of all facility owners;
  • Requiring the posting of a list of all contracts or other agreements entered into for provision of goods or services for which any portion of Medicaid or Medicare funds are used by the facility within 30 days of execution of the agreement; and
  • Requiring information regarding staff be included in an application to establish a nursing home.

Holding Operators Accountable for Misconduct: These reforms aim to hold operators accountable for misconduct by:

  • Increasing civil monetary penalties to $25,000 for violations of the Public Health Law, including increasing penalties for willful violations of Public Health Law or regulation;
  • Removing the requirement to provide adult care facilities a 30-day period to rectify violations prior to imposition of a penalty; and
  • Building off legislation signed by the Governor in 2019, requiring any nursing home with a repeat Infection Control Deficiency to work with the Quality Improvement Organization, or a state designated independent quality monitor, at the nursing home's own expense, to assess and resolve the facility's infection control deficiencies.
  • Streamlining process to appoint a receiver to protect patient health and safety.

Prioritizing Patient Care Over Profit: These reforms aim to ensure nursing home facilities are prioritizing patient care over profits by:

  • Requiring that nursing homes spend a minimum of 70 percent of revenue on direct patient care and a minimum of 40 percent of revenue on resident staffing; and
  • Establishing a nursing home profit cap and limiting certain unscrupulous transactions, including but not limited to related party transactions over fair market value and payment of compensation for employees who are not actively engaged in or providing services at the nursing home.
  • Limiting the overall proportion of management salaries and setting a cap by regulation, dependent on the size of the facility, for managers and executives.

Spreading kindness and appreciation is as easy as leaving a note. At the State-run vaccination site at the Javits Center in Manhattan, one New Yorker left a thank you note for the staff at the site after getting their vaccine shot. Almost instantly, others followed suit. Now, bulletin boards at the Javits are covered in notes expressing much-deserved thanks to our hard-working vaccinators and staff. As I've said before, New Yorkers are tough but they're also loving and this is just more proof of that.

Apply by March 11, 2021 for one 11 units of rent regulated affordable apartments at 345 East 94th Street. Submit your application here.

Education/Parenting

Tuesday (2/23) at 4 pm, middle school teachers are invited to a virtual workshop about early relationship abuse prevention, sponsored by Rising Ground’s STEPS to End Family Violence. The course is eligible for one Continuing Teacher and Leader Education credit. Register here.

Wednesday (2/24) at 4 pm, Battery Dance hosts a virtual kids introductory hip-hop class. Register here.

Thursday (2/25) at 5 pm, parents and caregivers of students with disabilities can get remote learning support during the weekly virtual “Parent Guide to Remote Learning” series from Rep. Adriano Espaillat and the NYC Dept. of Education. Register here.

The CDC has provided guidelines for safely reopening schools. For more information, read this Washington Post article and the CDC guidelines.

The Governor released updated guidance for infection rates and testing protocols on college campuses. Colleges and universities testing at least 25 percent of total on-campus students, faculty and staff weekly will not be required to go on pause unless their positivity rate exceeds 5 percent during a rolling 14-day period. Colleges and Universities not testing at least 25 percent of their population weekly must go on pause if they have 100 individuals test positive or their positivity rate exceeds 5 percent - whichever is less - during a rolling 14-day period. This updated guidance will encourage more testing on campuses while allowing schools to better pinpoint and isolate problems before requiring a shift to remote learning so they don't have to disrupt in-person instruction for everyone.

Previously, colleges and universities were required to go on pause if they had either 100 individuals or 5 percent of their student population test positive over a 14-day period, regardless of weekly testing rates. The updated guidance shifts to a rolling 14-day average favored by epidemiologists and medical professionals, as opposed to the original 14-day static timeframe.

Colleges and universities must transition to remote learning with limited on-campus activity when that threshold is reached during a 14-day period. If after two weeks, the local health department finds the college has demonstrated that it cannot contain the number of cases, then they could continue to require remote learning, or impose other mitigation measures in consultation with the State Department of Health. During that time, athletic activities and other extracurricular activities must be suspended, and dining hall options must move to take-out only.

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

Entertainment/Distractions

Candy hearts are one way to share affection on Valentine's Day but for penguins, rocks are perhaps the better love language. The staff at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, NY, helped the zoo's Humboldt penguins decorate their nests with Valentine's Day messages using non-toxic painted rocks. Two of the birds, Luis and Elmer, were very excited to choose colorful rocks for their nests.

Perseverance, NASA’s advanced new rover, touched down on Mars. Here’s what you need to know about its mission and the experimental “Marscopter” on board.

Tonight (2/22) at 8 pm, the “Harlem Chamber Players’ 13th Annual Black History Month Celebration” features music by Harlem Renaissance and contemporary Black composers, presented by the Greene Space and the Brooklyn Public Library. Register for the virtual concert here.

Tonight (2/22) at 8 pm, stream “Purim: Funny Story,” a modern retelling of the Purim story by comedians and celebrities, hosted by the Met CouncilClick here to watch.

Wednesday (2/24) from 9 am - 11 pm, stream films in honor of Black History Month, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” about James Baldwin’s time in the South during the civil rights movement, sponsored by the Workers Unite Film Festival. See films here.

Wednesday (2/24) at 1 pm, “Virtual Tenement Talk: The African Family Experience in Early New Amsterdam” is co-sponsored by the Tenement Museum and the African Burial Ground National Monument. Watch on YouTube.

Wednesday (2/24) at 1 pm, “Black Farmers’ Pathways to Success Webinar Series: Reimagining Urban Food Systems” spotlights the Black Yard Farm Cooperative at Corbin Hill Food Project. Click the title to register.

Wednesday (2/24) at 6 pm, Honoring Black History: The Parks Naming Project” is a virtual panel discussion focused on the ongoing effort to name park spaces in honor of the Black experience, hosted by the NYC Dept. of Parks. Register here.

Thursday (2/25) at 2 pm, NY’s Path to Ranked Choice Voting: Manhattan Forum” discusses the major issues on ranked choice voting and its effect on Manhattan, sponsored by Spectrum. Register for the Zoom here.

Thursday (2/25) at 5 pm, Harlem School of the Arts virtual alumni series “How I Did It” continues with Broadway actress Aiyana Smash. Register here.

Thursday (2/25) at 6:30 pm, [email protected] discusses “The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant, and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety” with author and child psychiatrist Harold S. Koplewicz. Register for the virtual talk here.

This Lunar New Year, Port Washington, NY used the holiday's traditional red lanterns to raise money for those affected by the pandemic. Community members participated in the fundraiser by sponsoring red lanterns hung at Sunset Park. The donated funds go toward gift cards at local restaurants that are then given to help families in need. Organizer Jill Carvajal was inspired by similar lantern displays in Chinatown. With the help of her friend Diane Livingston and Bin Hu Laurence, they made it happen in Port Washington. The lanterns will stay up through the end of February and so far, the project has raised more than $23,000.

FINANCIAL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES UPDATES

SBS also offers small business owners and employees free training on technology tools and COVID-19 safety through “NYC Means Business: Training Your Employees” to help bridge the digital divide. Zoom and Google Workspace trainings are also available in Spanish and Mandarin. Apply for the program here.

Tuesday (2/23) at 10 am, virtual forum Nonprofit Mergers and Strategic Partnerships” explores merger case studies, transaction guidance, and best practices, hosted by Nonprofit New York and the NYS Office of the Attorney General. Click the title to register.

Tuesday (2/23) from 11 am - 2 pm, schedule a 15-minute consultation with a NYC Dept. of Buildings representative to discuss any building issues during virtual office hours, sponsored by Council Speaker Corey Johnson. Contact 212-564-7757 or [email protected] for an appointment.

Wednesday (2/24) at 1 pm, “Town Call on Health Coverage” offers media and entertainment professionals information about accessing affordable health plans, services, and prescriptions, sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Click the title to register.

Following last week’s announcement about Open Culturethe Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), together with the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and the Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management, will host a Town Call on Open Culture that will feature a panel and Q&A about the new program, which allows ticketed, socially distanced, outdoor performances at more than 100 street locations throughout the five boroughs. Applications open on March 1.

OutSmartNYC is a collective of industry staff, patrons, clinic providers, educators, and activists organizing to prevent and end sexual violence in bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Their mission is to create a safer space where everyone can have the best possible night out. They are calling on nightlife industry professionals to help them reimagine nightlife post-COVID.  More information about this event is available here.

Free financial counseling is available through the NY Legal Assistance Group. Make an appointment by calling 311 and asking for NYLAG or by visiting this website.

Applications close Sunday, 2/28 for 10 $5,000 grants for Black entrepreneurs, sponsored by retailer Citi Trends. Eligible product categories are apparel, beauty, skin care, hair care, footwear, home decor, bedding, bath, technology, and accessories. Apply here.

Applications close Sunday, 2/28 for five $10,000 grants for Black women-owned businesses, sponsored by the 2021 New Voices + Barefoot #WeStanforHer program. Grants also include complimentary business coaching and mentoring. Apply here.

Applications close Friday, 3/12 for grants up to $15,000 for Asian American women-led organizations and women artists focused on social change, sponsored by the Asian Women Giving Circle. Apply here.

Applications close Saturday, 5/1 for four $10,000 grants for businesses owned by Black women and femmes, sponsored by Merchant Maverick. Apply here.

Free legal services are available in all languages for low-income people through the City Bar Justice Center’s Legal Hotline, via their online application or 212-626-7383 (open Mon-Thu, 9 am - 5 pm, Fri 9 am - 1 pm). Those seeking a referral for a lawyer can contact the New York City Bar’s Legal Referral Service, which has waived its initial consultation fee for all legal issues until further notice. Request a referral online or by calling 212-626-7373 (212-626-7374 in Spanish) Mon-Fri, 8:30 am - 5:30 pm.

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.

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.)

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

Here’s how you can help communities affected by the severe winter weather in Texas.

Students at P.S. 146 in East Harlem are in need of iPad chargers. If you’re able to donate, contact [email protected].

Animal Care Centers of NYC is seeking donations of large crates, no-pull harnesses, toys, and pet food.

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.)

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

Senator Krueger's Virtual Town Hall. Telehealth Basics: What It Is, and How to Access the Service

On Friday, March 5th from 2 pm – 3:30 pm, Dr. Sarah Czaja, Director for the Center on Aging and Behavioral Research at Weill Cornell, will join Senator Krueger to provide an overview of what telehealth is, when to use it, and how to get the most out of your virtual telehealth care visit. This portion of the event will feature a question and answer session with Dr. Czaja.

After Dr. Czaja’s presentation, hospital representatives will host breakout rooms for a workshop on how to make a virtual visit with your specific health network doctor. During this portion of the program, hospital representatives will share information about your network’s portal, how to make an appointment online, and answer your technology-related questions about telehealth.

Participating Hospitals Include:
- Lenox Hill Hospital (Northwell Health)
- Memorial Sloan Kettering
- NYU Langone
- Mount Sinai
- NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine
- Hospital for Special Surgery

When you RSVP, please indicate your preference for the health network breakout room you want. We will automatically place you in the breakout room when the main presentation is over. If you do *not* choose a specific breakout room, one will be assigned to you.

If you have questions about what telehealth is, how to make the most of your telehealth visit, or how to get online to use the telehealth service, please RSVP for the town hall on March 5th by going to: https://tinyurl.com/telehealthtownhall. Attendees will be able to submit questions through Zoom during the event but are strongly encouraged to submit them in advance when registering. For this telehealth event, you will only be able join the event online through Zoom, a webinar hosting service. The event will not be livestreamed on Facebook.

*If you would like to attend the event but are uncertain about how to use Zoom, DOROT's Tech Coaches can help! To be matched with a coach who can help you remotely at no cost to you, call 917-441-3706 or email [email protected]*

The event is cosponsored by DOROT, Search and Care, Stanley Isaacs Senior Center, and Lenox Hill Neighborhood House.

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, 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