Coronavirus Update 03/18: Need for More Aggressive Action, Online Q&A, and Latest Updates

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to gain steam in New York City, it is more important than ever that everyone remains at home if at all possible.  

Importantly, this includes people who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19, which include high fever and dry cough.  Public health experts are urging those with such symptoms to remain at home and only contact a medical provider if your condition worsens.  

It is absolutely critical that we reserve the resources of our entire healthcare system for those who are gravely ill--not those with manageable symptoms.

The number of New Yorkers who are still engaging in non-essential activities in public is alarming.  That is why I believe we need to follow the example of San Francisco and other areas and put in place even stricter mandates for non-essential businesses to close.  Despite rumors, you may have heard, at all times services like supermarkets, pharmacies, and banks will remain open.

If you are healthy, you have an important role to play in our community: offer to help elderly and high-risk neighbors do errands so that the most vulnerable do not need to leave their homes for any reason.

Tomorrow at 1:00 pm I will be hosting an online Q & A session. I hope you will join me to get an update on the latest information on the outbreak, how to access important resources and to ask important questions you have on how to keep safe during the outbreak. Please find more information about how to join below.

My team and I are here for you now for any reason. As always, stay safe & STAY AT HOME,

Mark

Digital Q&A with Council Member Levine

We are working hard to keep you updated with the latest information and resources as they are announced. To help with that effort, we will be holding regular “Digital Q&A” sessions with the Council Member using the Zoom Platform. 

You can video conference or call in to hear Council Member Levine give an update on the latest information on the outbreak, how to access important resources and to ask important questions you have on how to keep safe during the outbreak. 

Time: March 18, 1:00 - 8:00 PM 

Join Video Meeting at: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/671787794

One tap mobile at: (646) 558- 8656  Pin: 671787794# US

Meeting ID: 671 787 794

If you any questions or need help connecting to the call please reach out to my staff at (212) 928-6814 or via email at district7@council.nyc.gov.

 

Digital District Office and Constituent Services

During the outbreak, My staff and I will continue to be available to you by phone or online to assist with any issues you are experiencing in-district or if you need any information on how to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

You can reach us during normal business hours at (212) 928-6814 or anytime at district7@gmail.com.

I have also set up a Digital District 7 Office page on Facebook as a resource to the community while my office is closed to the public. I will post regular updates and information on this page concerning COVID-19 and important community matters. You can also message the page and a member of my staff—all of which will continue to work remotely—will respond quickly. You can visit our District Office Page here or send a direct message here. 

Additional Updates & Resources 

New Recommendations from the NYC Department of Health

New York City’s healthcare system is at serious risk of becoming overwhelmed and we need to reserve our limited resources for the very sick and vulnerable. Not everyone who is sick needs to get tested or receive medical treatment. We need to make sure people with severe illnesses will be able to stay in a hospital or intensive care unit if they need to. 

Yesterday, NYC Health Department Health Commissioner Barbot issued new guidelines that will help prevent unnecessary visits to New York Hospitals:

  • If you are sick, stay home. If you do not feel better in three to four days, consult your health care provider. 
  • Avoid the emergency department and other places you seek healthcare if you are not severely ill.
  • If you need help getting medical care, call 311. You can get care in NYC regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.
  • If you have family or friends who are older adults or have chronic conditions, do not visit them if you feel sick.
  • Stay home for seven days after your symptoms started and for three days after your fever has stopped without the use of fever-reducing drugs, such as Tylenol and ibuprofen, and your cough or sore throat symptoms have improved.

Even if you are not sick, stay home as much as you can: work from home, study from home and avoid all unnecessary interactions and events. 

Community transmission means that COVID-19 is circulating in NYC and that we should act as if we are all exposed. We also must continue to follow proactive measures to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Public health officials recommend the public should:

    • Wash your hands with soap and water often
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing 
    • Do not touch your face with unwashed hands 
    • Refrain from shaking hands 
    • Monitor your health closely and stay home if you feel sick

 

  • Keep away from crowded public places and stay at home if possible

 

For the latest guidelines and information please regularly check the NYC Health Coronvirus page and you can text "COVID" to 692-692 to get text updates. 

 

***Alternate Side Parking is Suspending for a week until March 24th***

 

A Call to all NYC Health Care Workers - WE NEED YOU!

New York City is activating the 9,000 members of the Medical Reserve Corps and calling on anyone with medical training to join us. You can help us save lives and protect this city. Follow this link to join this fight.

Also, If you have an open space that might be suitable as a community location or health care screening site, the Office of Emergency Management wants to know about it. Send an email to publicprivate@oem.nyc.gov

Information for Students During NYC PS Shutdown 

In the face of a looming threat from the coronavirus outbreak, New York City’s public schools will be closed through April 20th--and possibly through the end of the school year.

School-age children can pick up a free breakfast or lunch between 7:30 am and 1:30 pm this week. To be clear, that means ANY child 18 and under can go to the nearest public school and pick up a meal, not just public school students. 

Some of the details of the closure plan are yet to be worked out or still in flux, but below is a run-down of the key elements left for the week so far:

  • Thursday, March 19-Friday, March 20: Students who need it will be able to begin the process of picking up the technology necessary for remote learning. More guidance to families will be sent this week. 
  • Monday, March 23: Remote learning launches, with additional guidance provided throughout the week of the 23rd.
  •  Monday, March 23: Regional Enrichment Centers will be available for the children of first responders, healthcare workers, and our most vulnerable populations, with more details to follow. 

Remote Learning 

Remote learning will go into effect for grades K-12 the week of March 23rd. DOE will support schools at all levels of readiness to deliver remote learning, and more information will be provided to families about online platforms in the coming days.

School officials and the Office of the Comptroller are working with Apple to purchase and give out up to 300,000 iPads and several telecommunications companies to help with internet access.

We will follow-up with a separate email when more information is available and check the DOE Coronavirus web page regularly for the latest.

It is critical that all parents sign up for a New York City schools account for their children to access these remote learning programs. You can sign up for your account HERE.

"Learn at Home" Resources

In addition to “remote learning”, the Department of Education is providing supplementary learning resources to students and parents for use during the school closure. To help students engage in educational material, DOE has shared resources for students in all grades, from Early Learn through elementary and middle school, and for high school. These materials should not replace “remote learning” plans, but during this unusual time, it is important that students supplement their course work 

The materials on the grade-specific pages include:

  • Guides and materials for instructional activities
  • Recommended educational television shows
  • Links to a variety of books, magazines, and websites on a wide range of topics that appeal to children at all ages

Assistance for Seniors 

Seniors are extremely susceptible to COVID-19. To keep our seniors safe and healthy during the outbreak, it is vital that anyone over the age of 70 or who have a preexisting health condition stay at home. 

The rest of us can help make that possible: If you yourself are healthy, offer to run an errand for a vulnerable neighbor so they don't have to leave the house. 

In an effort to protect seniors, all Department for the Aging programs has been ordered closed, including all congregate meal, recreational, and educational services, and activities. Senior centers will still operate to offer food, either as take-home meals or meals delivered to homes. Here is a list of the senior center offering food pick and deliveries in our area:

  • Goddard Riverside Senior Center from 12pm-1pm
  • Central Harlem Kennedy Senior Center from 11am-1:30pm
  • YM/YWHA Washington Heights from 11:30-1pm
  • Washington Heights Star Neighborhood Senior Center from 11am-12:30pm
  • ARC Fort Washington Senior Center from 12-1:30pm
  • ARC XVI A. Philip Randolph Senior Center from 12-1:30
  • ARC XVI Central Harlem Senior Center from 12-1:30pm 

Support for NYC Small Businesses 

The City's Dept of Small Business Services has set up a website with important information about financial assistance for businesses impacted by COVID-19 and how to help you and your business stay safe and prevent the spread of germs. Visit the website HERE.

The City will provide relief for small businesses seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit.

The City is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees. Eligible owners who would like to learn more about these programs should fill out an interest form HERE.

(https://www1.nyc.gov/site/sbs/businesses/covid19-business-outreach.page)

 

Keeping Up-To-Date with Factual Information

We have already seen misinformation and rumors spread online that have hindered our ability to respond to this outbreak. Beating back misinformation takes up valuable time and resources that need to be focused on fighting the virus.

You should not rely on social media or over-sensationalized news reports to get the best information on Coronavirus. I would highly recommend that you regularly check NYC Health’s Coronavirus multi-lingual website, which has been set up to provide the public with practical and accurate information with real-time updates, effective prevention measures, and other important resources. 

The city has also set up text-alert systems in English and Spanish so you can receive real-time updates on the city’s COVID-19 response. New Yorkers should text COVID to 692-692 for English or COVIDESP to 692-692 for Spanish. 

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact our office at (212) 928-6814 or district7@council.nyc.gov.

Council Member Mark Levine

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