NY-12 COVID Update 2/24/2021
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 update, they can sign up here.
By the Numbers
Confirmed Cases: 28,261,595
People Fully Vaccinated: 19,882,544
% Fully Vaccinated: 6.08%
New York State
Confirmed Cases: 1,604,892
People Fully Vaccinated: 1,352,005
% Fully Vaccinated: 6.92%
New York City
(Last 7 days)
Total Cases: 24,558
Confirmed Deaths: 384
President Biden and his administration continue to take steps to combat the health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, that included taking additional steps to protect the most vulnerable Americans, to work more cooperatively with the global community, to increase lending to small businesses, to change PPP distribution to further promote equitable access to relief, to secure America’s critical supply chains, and to deliver masks to communities hit hardest by the pandemic. Additionally, President Biden today extended the National State of Emergency initially issued on March 13, 2020.
You can read this week’s full updates from the White House below:
The United States-Canada Partnership
This week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the US-Canada Partnership Roadmap which will prioritize combating COVID-19, among other items. A fact sheet from the White House can be found here and an overview of the plan can be found here.
New York State Updates
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 vaccine statewide – to determine eligibility and to schedule an appointment through April 16 at New York State-run vaccination sites only, 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 FEMA Vaccination Sites: York College in Queens & Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn
The New York State-FEMA mass vaccination sites at York College in Queens and Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn opened today, February 24. These sites will vaccinate 3,000 New Yorkers each day. For the first week of appointments, vaccines are reserved for residents of eligible zip codes within Brooklyn and Queens, opening to the entire boroughs on February 27.
New York Forward Rapid Test Program
This week, a public-private partnership was announced that will make low-cost rapid testing available to the public. Eleven initial sites opened on February 19 in New York City with the capacity to conduct more than 5,000 tests per day. Additional sites are scheduled to open in New York City and other parts of the state in the coming weeks. A full list of locations and additional information can be found here.
Expanded Guidelines for Nursing Home Visitations
New, expanded guidelines for visitation of residents in nursing home facilities, developed in accordance with CMS and CDC guidelines, will begin on February 26. The Department of Health recommends that visitors take a rapid test before entry, and DOH will provide rapid tests to nursing homes to facilitate on-site visitor testing and at no cost. Visitation continues to depend on the nursing home facility being COVID free for 14 days.
Updated Guidance for College Campuses
Colleges and universities conducting weekly testing of at least 25% of total on-campus students, faculty, and staff will not be required to go on pause unless their positivity rate exceeds 5% during a rolling 14-day period.
Colleges and universities not conducting weekly testing of at least 25% of their population must go on pause if they have 100 individuals test positive or their positivity rate exceeds 5% - whichever is less - during a rolling 14-day period.
Opening NY: Billiard Halls & Movie Theaters, Updated Guidance for Weddings & Catered Events
Billiard halls statewide and movie theaters in New York City are now permitted to re-open.
New guidance has been released for weddings and catered events which are scheduled to resume on March 15.
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.
A full list of guidelines can be found here.
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, or 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 your 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 expanded, with the latest expansion in place as of Monday, February 15.
COVID-19 Centers of Excellence
Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health opened the second of three COVID-19 Centers of Excellence in NYC. The new community health clinic located in Jackson Heights, Queens will support recovering COVID-19 patients beginning Monday, March 1. The site is designed to meet the unique needs of patients recovering from COVID-19. More information on these centers can be found 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 vaccination sites will be added as they are available. You can also make an appointment via phone by calling 1-877-VAX-4NYC (1-877-829-4692).
While the vaccination process is underway, every New Yorker should wear a mask, social distance and avoid small and large gatherings. COVID-19 is still spreading 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 for a telephone town hall this Thursday, February 25 at 6:30pm on President Biden's American Rescue Plan.
I'll be providing information and answering questions about the legislation, including:
I will also be joined by special guest State Senator Brad Kavanagh, the author of New York's rental assistance program, and other local experts who will help answer your questions.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.