NY-12 COVID Update 2/17/2021
As our city, state, and country continue to confront COVID-19 and community spread, I write today to update you and your loved ones with the most important information during this ever-changing pandemic landscape. I hope you find it helpful. If you have friends or family who would like to receive this weekly update, they can sign up here.
By the Numbers
Confirmed Cases: 27,756,624
People Fully Vaccinated: 15,471,536
% Fully Vaccinated: 4.73%
New York State
Confirmed Cases: 1,553,117
People Fully Vaccinated: 1,082,023
% Fully Vaccinated: 5.54%
New York City
(Last 7 days)
Total Cases: 27,328
Confirmed Deaths: 422
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.
Extension of COVID-19 Forbearance and Foreclosure Protections for Homeowners
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.
New York State Updates
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.
An appointment is required. If you visit a location without an appointment you will not receive a vaccine.
New Vaccination Sites
FEMA Sites: Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, & Yonkers
Governor Cuomo and the White House announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will establish four additional community-based vaccination sites in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and Yonkers. These four major vaccination sites outside of New York City will vaccinate approximately 1,000 New Yorkers each day beginning the first week of March, and appointments will initially be reserved for members of the community in which the sites are located.
Community Pop-Up Sites
Governor Cuomo announced that 13 community-based pop-up vaccination sites, including five in NYC, are coming online this week. These pop-up sites will be housed at community centers, public housing complexes, and cultural centers. The State expects to vaccinate more than 3,850 people throughout the week. More sites will be coming online each week.
You can find the locations of the pop-up sites and read more about the program here.
Opening NY: Family Entertainment & Amusement
Governor Cuomo today announced the limited opening of entertainment and amusement centers across the state.
All facilities must submit reopening plans with health protocols to their local health departments. All customers and staff will be required to wear face coverings and social distance. Prior to entry, all customers will be subject to health screenings, including temperature checks.
New York State's day and overnight summer camps are allowed to begin to reopening plans. The Department of Health will issue specific reopening guidance, including details on timing, in the coming weeks.
Read more here.
Closing Times Extended
On Sunday, February 14, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.94, which, among other modifications, extended the closing time for bars, restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, casinos, billiards halls, and other State Liquor Authority-licensed establishments statewide. The extension allows for these establishments to remain open an additional hour, until 11 pm.
Extended Open Enrollment
The Open Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers has been extended through May 15, 2021. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, New York's Official Health Plan Marketplace, or directly through insurers.
Coverage start dates will vary:
Individuals who are eligible for other NY State of Health programs - Medicaid, Essential Plan and Child Health Plus - can enroll year-round.
New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, by phone at 1-855-355-5777, and by connecting with a free enrollment assister.
COVID Alert NY
As a reminder, New York State has launched COVID Alert NY, an app to provide COVID-19 exposure alerts to help protect our community while maintaining your privacy. More information here.
The State is strongly encouraging eligible and healthy New Yorkers to donate blood. During this crisis, we have seen severe blood shortages across NYS. Your donation could save a life. More information here.
As I make this request, I am aware of and working to reverse the antiquated three month deferral policy for MSM who wish to donate blood. Earlier this year, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and I were successful in getting the FDA to decrease the 12 month deferral period to three months, but we need to completely get rid of this policy that is not based on current science, stigmatizes the LGBTQIA+ community, and undermines crucial efforts to increase the nation’s blood supply as we grapple with the coronavirus crisis.
New York City Updates
To find the testing site closest to you, click here, text “COVID TEST” to 855-48, or call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319).
Vaccine-Eligible New Yorkers
New York is currently in Phase 1a and 1b of vaccination distribution. Phase 1b has been twice extended, with the latest extension in place as of this past Monday, February 15.
This extended group of New Yorkers now eligible to receive the vaccine includes those with certain types of underlying conditions, including those with 9/11-related cancers and pulmonary diseases.
Expanding Vaccination Effort for Seniors
This week, Mayor de Blasio announced a three-part plan to vaccinate homebound seniors and the essential frontline home care workers who care for them.
Read more from the City here.
Signing Up To Get Your Vaccine
If you are eligible, you can use the NYC Vaccine Finder to find a vaccination location near you and make an appointment.
Additional COVID-19 vaccine sites will be added as they are available. You can also make an appointment by phone by calling 1-877-VAX-4NYC (1-877-829-4692).
While the vaccination process is underway, every New Yorker should continue to wear a mask, social distance, and avoid small and large gatherings. COVID-19 continues to spread in New York City and throughout the United States. This is a vital time to follow the recommended prevention guidance and do your part to stop the spread.
I hope you’ll join me next Friday, February 19 from 8:30 – 9:30am for a Virtual Coffee with Carolyn.
RSVP to receive dial-in info here.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.