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The same downward trend in coronavirus cases that we began to see last this week has continued this week, giving everyone hope that this pandemic continues to stabilize. NY on PAUSE is proving to be effective and it comes to show that the only way out of this pandemic is if we all do our part in preventing the spread of this disease. AMPHS knows that this is a difficult time for many of us for a variety of reasons. We are here to help support you through this. We encourage you to reach us through our phone line at (212) 256-9036 and through our Virtual Community Center. 

Our phone lines remain open Tuesday to Saturday, 10AM-6PM, to answer any questions and concerns that our community members may have. You can also connect with us through our social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram, and can engage with us through our weekly Facebook Live sessions where we continue to share important updates in English (Mondays 5PM), Spanish (Mondays 6PM), Chinese (Tuesdays 5PM) and Arabic (Tuesdays-Time to be shared weekly in respect to prayer times and Ramadan).

As of today, there are 145,855 positive COVID-19 cases and 10,889 deaths in NYC, and 37,995 hospitalizations, a decline of almost 25% from last week.

In NYS, there are 263,460 positive COVID-19 cases and 15,740 deaths.

COVID-19 Updates

What is the status of hospitalization rates?

The state announced that the number of hospitalizations has continued to fall for nearly a week. The governor suggested again that we are past the peak of the crisis in terms of hospitalizations and deaths. The Mayor also shared the city’s data on the downward trends: the number of admissions to hospitals with COVID-19, current hospitalizations, and percentage of positive tests for the virus have all declined in recent days.

How much longer will elective surgeries be cancelled?

The state has released criteria that will allow some hospitals to resume elective surgeries. These surgeries are a major source of revenue in many hospitals.

When will antibody testing begin?

Large-scale antibody testing began this week. The testing will randomly sample 3,000 New Yorkers to estimate the percentage of those who are now immune. However, the state would need help from the federal government to bring it to the required scale.

Are new COVID-19 testing centers available?

Six new testing sites with priority for NYCHA residents and other nearby residents with risk factors will be available

  • Opening This Friday: H+H Community Testing Sites
    • Cumberland Health Center, Crown Heights
    • Belvis Health Center, Mott Haven
    • Gouverneur Health Center, Lower East Side
  • Opening Next Week: NYCHA Testing Sites
    • Jonathan Williams Houses, Williamsburg
    • Woodside Houses, Woodside
    • St. Nicholas Houses, Harlem
  • New York City Housing Authority and urgent care provider Ready Responders will launch a pilot testing program at seven public housing facilities — the Highbridge, Edenwald, Andrew Jackson, Brevoort, Queensbridge, Red Fern and Hammel Houses 

Several independent provider organizations will also be providing expanded testing services: 

  • OneMedical is expanding testing for 1199 workers, health care workers, and residents over 65 in the hardest-hit communities
  • CAIPA is offering mobile testing in sites across New York City. Testing will require a CAIPA primary care physician’s referral and walk-ins will not be allowed to ensure social distancing. Testing sites include:
    • Sunset Park, Brooklyn: MJHS Parking Lot – Entrance on 8th Avenue and 62nd Street 
    • Flushing, Queens: Kissena Blvd and Barclay Avenue

What is contact tracing?

When someone is confirmed to be infected with a virus, such as through a positive COVID-19 test, contact tracers try to track down others who have had recent prolonged exposure to that person when they may have been infectious. Typically, that exposure means being within 6 feet of the person for more than 10 minutes; in a health care setting, such as a hospital, the bar is lowered to five minutes. Healthcare workers then make an effort to reach out to every one of those contacts, tell them that they may have been exposed, and give them instructions on what to do next. That may include telling them about possible symptoms or directing them to self-isolate.

Will this be implemented in New York?

New York has partnered with New Jersey and Connecticut to launch a tri-state contact tracing program, with help from former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, with the goal of preventing a future surge of COVID-19 infections. Michael Bloomberg has volunteered to help develop and implement a regional contact tracing program. The program will be supported by $10.5 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies and developed in conjunction with Johns Hopkins’ researchers.

What is being done to protect NYCHA residents from COVID-19?

Mayor De Blasio announced additional support to NYCHA residents which consists of increased COVID-19 testing, a $5M investment to provide free tablets and internet service to NYCHA seniors, distribution of hand sanitizer to thousands of residents, enrolling all senior buildings in food delivery, and providing gloves and face coverings to residents.

What can I do if my loved one has been missing due to COVID-19?

Mayor de Blasio announced the activation of the Unified Victim Identification System (UVIS) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The system allows New Yorkers to file a report at nyc.gov/CovidMissing about a friend or loved one who may be missing due to COVID-19. People without internet access can file a report by calling 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) from outside New York City.

How long can I stay in a hotel if I am displaced by COVID-19?

The state is now allowing people who are assisting with or displaced by COVID-19 to stay in a hotel for longer than 28 days without becoming a tenant. This will make it easier for hotels to continue providing shelter to those in need during the crisis. 

What is Pandemic Unemployment?

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a program that temporarily expands unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. PUA is one of the programs established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

How do I apply for Pandemic Unemployment?

Previously, New Yorkers were required to apply for regular Unemployment Insurance and be rejected before applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. A new application now allows New Yorkers to be able to simply fill out one form to get the correct benefits. The application is available at unemployment.labor.ny.gov, or by calling 1-888-209-8124.

EVENT CHANGES

Have summertime events been affected by COVID-19?

The city announced that all non-essential events in June that require permits will be cancelled, including the NYC Pride Parade, Puerto Rican day parade, and others. However, the City is working with Macy’s to bring forth a 4th of July celebration while following precautions associated with COVID-19.

Can I still get married in the middle of this pandemic?

Governor Cuomo issued executive order 202.20 which allows New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allows any authorized officiant to perform marriage ceremonies using online video technology.

Education Updates

When will be the last day to request a device for my child to use for remote learning?

Thursday, April 23, 2020 was the last day that families could apply for a device to borrow from the DOE to receive the device before May. Everyone who filled out a request form online, with a staff member, or over the phone, will be sent follow up emails and texts. Priority will be given to students most in need. There is no need to call the DOE or 311 to check on the status of the device. The DOE is getting the devices out as fast as they can, and are following processes to make sure the highest need families get them first.

Will I have to take my regents exam in June?

Students who intended to take any June 2020 Regents may be eligible for a June 2020 Regents exemption must meet one of the following eligibility requirement:

  • The student is currently enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents examination and will have earned credit in or passed such course of study by the end of the 2019-20 school year; or
  • The student is currently enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents examination and has failed to earn credit by the end of the school year. Such student returns for summer instruction to make up the failed course and earn the course credit and is subsequently granted diploma credit in August 2020; or
  • The student was previously enrolled in the course of study leading to an applicable Regents examination, has achieved course credit, and has not yet passed the associated Regents examination but intended to take the test in June 2020 to achieve a passing score.

Federal and Local Relief Bills 

Will my stimulus check automatically go to debt collectors if I have debt?

No, Attorney General James issued official guidance to New York State banking institutions, creditors, and debt collectors, making clear that financial relief provided through stimulus payments are exempt from garnishment under New York law. 

What is included in New York City’s Virus Relief Package introduced by the NYC Council on April 22, 2020?

  • The New York City Council introduced a virus relief package that included measures to protect tenants, small businesses, essential workers and homeless people.
  • The legislation contains a workers’ “bill of rights” that requires paid sick leave for gig workers and premiums for nonsalaried essential employees at big companies until the state of emergency is lifted, as well as a ban on the firing of essential workers without just cause.
  • The legislation would also give renters who have been affected financially by the virus and shutdown more time to pay their rent, and offer housing protection to essential workers.

What is included in the Federal Government’s Stimulus Relief Package passed on April 23, 2020?

  • $310 billion in new funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, which gives small firms loans that could be forgiven if they use them on wages, benefits, rent and utilities. Within that pool, $60 billion will specifically go to small lenders
  • $60 billion for Small Business Administration disaster assistance loans and grants.
  • $75 billion in grants to hospitals overwhelmed by a rush of COVID-19 patients.
  • $25 billion to bolster coronavirus testing