|IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM SENATOR BIAGGI: 3/16/2020 UPDATE REGARDING CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASES IN NYS|
|Dear Neighbor, This is a rapidly evolving situation and there have been a number of key updates over the last few days that will be critical to slowing the spread of the Coronavirus in our state and protecting the most vulnerable among us|
I want to reiterate the new guidance that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released yesterday for all New Yorkers. First and foremost, all New Yorkers should stay home as much as possible. New Yorkers should only leave their homes for essential tasks like grocery shopping or work (if you cannot work from home). You may leave your home to go on a walk or exercise outside, but practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from others. Parents, I urge you to talk to your children and teens about how serious this guidance is and impress upon them the need to stay home and not gather in groups. All New Yorkers should act as if they have been exposed to COVID-19 and closely monitor their health. If you have symptoms, stay home. Only seek medical attention if your symptoms do not get better after 3-4 days or if you are very sick. Following this guidance will be critical for ensuring that those most in need can get medical attention, and will help keep all New Yorkers safe. For questions and updates, contact the Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065.Today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont issued a joint Executive Order closing all movie theaters, casinos, gyms, and bars that do not serve food, effective as of 8pm on Monday, March 16th.
All bars and restaurants will also be closed, except for take-out or delivery services. Governor Cuomo is also recommending that all non-essential services close by 8pm. I know that these new restrictions will place an enormous burden on many small businesses in our community. Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17th, businesses in New York City with fewer than 5 employees will be able to apply online for employee retention grants. Soon, New York City will also begin to offer low interest loans to businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Businesses can find more information here. Pelham small businesses can fill out this survey to add their business to a directory of Pelham small businesses and connect with the Pelham Chamber of Commerce. More information is available here. Both Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made announcements today about their efforts to increase hospital capacity in anticipation of a growing number of cases. Governor Cuomo is easing certain regulations to allow existing hospitals to expand their capacity. In the absence of action by the federal government to mobilize the Army Corps of Engineers, as Governor Cuomo has requested, New York State will begin to work with the National Guard and building unions to expand hospital capacity in New York State. They plan to retrofit existing facilities into health centers and are asking local governments to identify facilities and available beds that can be used. New York City has already identified several facilities that can be used to expand capacity, including Westchester Square Hospital in District 34 which will provide 150 additional beds. Today, Mayor de Blasio also signed an Executive Order requiring that all elective surgery be postponed, effective in 96 hours, to free up additional capacity in existing hospitals. Today, Westchester County Executive George Latimer declared a State of Emergency in Westchester County. The declaration will allow the county to expedite measures to respond to the pandemic in Westchester, and close down all 44 public and private county schools not already closed for a minimum of 14 days. Read the official statement here. Following suit, the Village of Pelham and the City of Mount Vernon have also declared state of emergencies, as to expedite response coordination with the county and state governments. Reminder About School Closures:
New York City schools are closed through at least Monday, April 20th. Remote learning will not begin until Monday, March 23rd. All families should sign up for a New York City Schools Account to facilitate remote learning. This week, families can pick up grab-and-go breakfast and lunch from all New York City public school buildings between 7:30am-1:30pm. Any student can pick up food from any school, you do not need to go to your child’s normal school building. I want to thank all of the school janitors, cafeteria workers, safety personnel, and others, who showed up to work today to ensure that New York City students could continue to get meals.
The city is working in partnership with Spectrum and other internet companies to provide free internet access to students in K-12 or college for the next 60-days in order to participate in remote learning.
Pelham schools will remain closed through at least Friday, April 10th. Distance learning will begin on Wednesday, March 18th.
Mount Vernon schools will remain closed through at least Friday, March 27th. All after-school and senior programming will be suspended until March 30th. Families can find more information about grab and go meal programs and remote learning here.
NYCHA residents can find the latest update from the New York City Housing Authority here.
The Riverdale Y is giving out free lunches to seniors, both for those who are able to pick up and for delivery. If you are in need of this service, please reach out to the Senior Center Director Sharon Asherman via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feeding Westchester will be working with the Mount Vernon Department of Parks & Recreation to deliver meals to homes.
Yesterday, the State of New York Unified Court System announced that all eviction proceedings and eviction orders are suspended effective today. However, if tenants need assistance you can call the Met Council’s Tenants’ Right Hotline on Monday and Wednesday between 1:30-8:00pm, Tuesday between 5:30-8:00pm or Friday between 1:30-5:00pm for assistance in English and Spanish at 212-979-0611.
Ways to Help:
Donate blood: The American Red Cross is urging healthy, eligible individuals to schedule a blood, platelet or AB Elite plasma donation appointment to help maintain a sufficient blood product supply and avoid any potential shortages. There is a donation location in the Bronx at Fordham University open from 11:00am-5:00pm, sign up for a time here.
Retired or non-practicing medical professionals: Governor Cuomo is asking retired and non-practicing medical professionals to return to the field to help expand New York’s testing capacity and serve those in need of critical medical care. If you are able to volunteer your time and medical training in any way, please email my office at email@example.com with your contact information.
Volunteer to run errands: If you are able to run errands for those who are at high risk from COVID-19, you can sign up through Invisible Hands.
Mental Health Resources: I know that these are challenging times and we all may need extra support. New York City residents can call 1-888-NYC-Well or text WELL to 65173 to connect with free and confidential mental health and substance use support.
Alternate Side Parking: As of right now, the Mayor has not suspended alternate side parking. However, individuals who are under mandatory or voluntary isolation may request to have their ticket dismissed, if they can present appropriate documentation. For information, please call 311.
As of this evening, March 16th, 2020, there are nine hundred and fifty (950) confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus in New York State. Of the confirmed cases, four hundred and sixty-three (463) are located in New York City, Two hundred and twenty (220) are located in Westchester County, one hundred and nine (109) are located in Nassau County, sixty-three (63) are located in Suffolk County, sixteen (16) are located in Rockland County, twelve (12) are located in Albany, eleven (11) are located in Orange County, ten (10) are located in Dutchess County, ten (10) are located in Monroe County, seven (7) are located in Ulster, six (6) are located in Erie County, five (5) are located in Saratoga County, four (4) is located in Schenectady County, two (2) in Greene County, two (2) in Putnam County, two (2) in Allegany County, one (1) is located in Broome County, one (1) is located in Delaware County, one (1) is located in Herkimer County, one (1) is located in Tioga County, one (1) in Tompkins County, one (1) in Montgomery County, one (1) in Ontario County, and one (1) is located in Onondaga County.
This is an evolving situation. For updated information on the Coronavirus (in multiple languages) from trusted sources for your designated area, please visit:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
New York State Department of Health
Westchester County Department of Health
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
While you are at home, don’t forget to fill out the Census! It is critical that all New York residents are counted in the Census in order to get the funding we deserve for our schools, public transportation, affordable housing, roads, and more! For more information, and to complete the census, you can click here.
I know this is a difficult time and each day seems to present new challenges. I urge each of you to take time for yourself – drink water, go outside for a few minutes, and stay connected to your friends and family. We will get through this together.
With Gratitude,State Senator Alessandra
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