COVID-19

AMPHS Coronavirus Updates as of 3/17/2020

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(Rev. 3/17/2020)

AMPHS is committed to continue providing up-to-date information related to the coronavirus in your language. There have been a lot of changes in recent days that not only impact AMPHS’ service provisions but the critical services that we use everyday. We will be providing you with regular information from NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and Center for Disease Control so you can understand how to protect yourself and your loved ones. Below are the most recent updates as of March 17, 2020. At the moment, there are 814 confirmed cases in NYC and 1,374 positive cases in NYS.

How are AMPHS’ services impacted?

To ensure the health and safety of our staff and community members, AMPHS will not be open for walk-in services between March 17, 2020 and Tuesday, April 21, 2020. In April, we will make a determination to reinstate in-person services based on City, State, and Federal recommendations. All programs and events held at our AMPHS center and partner sites, including Adult Literacy classes, are cancelled or postponed until further notice; classes and some counseling services will continue to be offered through online platforms or by phone as permitted by HIPAA privacy guidelines During this time, we encourage community members to call us at (212) 256-9036 with any questions . Our phone lines are open between Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM to serve you. We will continue to offer vital services to the extent possible through our hotline. Community members with existing appointments will receive a call from our team regarding alternative arrangements. 

What is the latest guidance for NYC schools and libraries?

  • As of March 15, 2020, all NYC schools will be closed immediately with a tentative restart date of April 20, 2020 Remote learning will go into effect for grades K-12 as of March 23, 2020. The Department of Education will support schools at all levels of readiness to deliver remote learning; more information will be provided to families about online platforms. Students who do not have access to the necessary technology for remote learning can pick up devices from Thursday, March 19th through Friday, March 20th. To keep students busy at this time, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has learn-at-home resources as supplementary learning materials, which does not replace remote learning.
  • During this critical time, it is vital that NYC families have a central way to stay connected with student progress. The #NYCSchoolsAccount lets you see your student’s grades, attendance, schedule, and more from any computer, phone, or tablet: http://schools.nyc.gov/nycsa. If you do not have an account, please make sure you sign up for one. If you need help with signing up for an account, call us at (212) 256-9036.
  • All library branches will also be closed; Brooklyn Public Library will be closed until at least March 31st. To access digital resources, please visit https://www.bklynlibrary.org/coronavirus.
  • The pre-K application deadline has been extended to Sunday, March 29th. Families can apply online through MySchools or over the phone by calling 718-935-2009 (Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm).

Will schools continue to provide breakfast and lunch?

Grab-and-Go breakfast and lunch will be available at the entrance of every building every weekday from 7:30 am-1:30 pm, to any child under 18, no matter what school they may attend, be it charter, public or private. This program will be available at every school site for this week, and students don’t need to go to their actual home institution but can pick up the food at whatever school is convenient. The plan is to then switch to centralized hubs for food service as the city does during summer breaks.

I still need to go to work. How can I get childcare services?

Starting Monday, March 23, 2020, Regional Enrichment Centers will be available for the children of first-responders, healthcare workers, and our most vulnerable populations, with more details to follow. Some mutual aid networks might also offer childcare services; see Resource #3 below.

What are the current recommendations for group gatherings?

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that no gatherings with 50 people or more take place for the next eight weeks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. These gatherings include both indoor and outdoor, such as conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings and other types of assemblies. For more information about places of public gathering and scheduled events, contact those facilities or visit their websites.For gatherings with 49 people or fewer, the CDC advises facilities to remain at less than 50% capacity in order to better encourage social distancing. 

How is service at bars, restaurants and entertainment venues being affected?

Starting Tuesday, March 17, restaurants, bars and cafes may only serve food take-out and delivery. Casinos, nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses, concert venues and gyms must all close. 

Important cleaning and coronavirus prevention supplies are not only limited, but the costs are high. Is this allowed? 

An emergency rule banning price gouging on supplies needed to treat or prevent coronavirus has been implemented. The items include thermometers, sanitizing wipes and baby wipes, paper towels, latex gloves, face masks, fever reducers, cough suppressants, zinc oxide supplements, facial tissue, toilet paper, rubbing alcohol and Aloe Vera. Retailers cannot increase the price of these items by more than 10 percent. With every violation, there will be a $350 fine. To report price gouging, please submit a complaint to the Office of New York State Attorney General Letitica James.

I just got back from a CDC-designated country and am supposed to home self-monitor. What do I need to do?

  • Take your temperature twice a day. 
  • Check for symptoms — fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • Stay at home and remain out of public places. Do not go to school or work. 
  • If you experience symptoms, call your regular healthcare provider regarding your symptoms and do not show up at the clinic without calling. If you do not have a regular healthcare provider, see Resource #8 below.
  • You need to do this for 14 days since the day you left the CDC designated country that requires home self-monitoring, even if you spent time in another country before entering the U.S. 

How are seniors affected?

All senior centers are closed until further notice. Citymeals on Wheels is providing centers with emergency meals and continues to operate its home-delivered meals program. Continue to check in on your elderly loved ones by giving them a call regularly.

I have been told to practice safe “social distancing.” What is it and why is it effective?

The idea is to maintain a distance between you and other people — in this case, at least six feet. That also means minimizing contact with people. Avoid public transportation whenever possible, limit nonessential travel, work from home, and skip social gatherings. You are not required to remain indoors all day; you may leave your house to get some fresh air, just make sure to avoid being in close contact with people. 

When you do leave your home, wipe down any surfaces you come into contact with, disinfect your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer and avoid touching your face. Above all, frequently wash your hands — especially whenever you come in from outside, before you eat or before you’re in contact with the very old or very young.

I was laid off from my workplace over the past couple of weeks. Can I apply for unemployment?

The seven day waiting period to apply for unemployment has been waived for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines. For more information visit: https://labor.ny.gov/ui/how_to_file_claim.shtm

How is vehicular transportation impacted?

Alternate side of the street parking rules are suspended through March 24. Additionally, all ride hailing carpools (such as Uber and Lyft) are banned. People who are a couple can ride together.

What are the latest developments around testing?

  • The City is now able to test 5,000 people a day for coronavirus, a major increase from the current capacity of several hundred people a day. 
  • Brooklyn Hospital will begin pre-screening potentially infected patients with basic thermometers and other tools at a new outdoor facility (121 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn).

The following are some local resources that can be useful during this time:

  1. AMPHS’ Blog – See here for a list of COVID-19 FAQs as the situation continues to change.
  1. Corona Couriers – A collective of cyclists willing to courier supplies to people in need for free, using the low contact methods first implemented in Wuhan. Anyone in need can e-mail requests to coronacourier@protonmail.com.
  1. New York City Democratic Socialists Resource Document – https://bit.ly/NYCDSACovid19 
  1. Invisible Hands Deliver – Grocery Delivery Website, Tweet
  1. Heights and Hills – Volunteer to support home-bound seniors – Google Form, Tweet, Website
  1. Tenants Rights Hotline- English & Spanish (212) 979-0611
  1. For real-time updates from NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, text “COVID” for English or “COVIDESP” for Spanish to 692692. Messages and data rates may apply. Visit nyc.gov/coronavirus for additional resources and information. 
  1. If you need a provider, NYC Health and Hospitals provides care to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, insurance status or ability to pay. Call 844-NYC-4NYC (844-692-4692) or 311. 
  1. If you are feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, connect with trained counselors at NYC Well, the City’s confidential helpline. Call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355), text “WELL” to 65173. Or chat online at nyc.gov/nycwell.

AMPHS Response to Coronavirus & Important FAQs

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(Rev. 3/15/2020)

Here at the AMPHS, the health and safety of our communities is our highest priority. We understand the concern over the coronavirus and will continue to send information about preventive measures as we learn more. Here are answers to important questions:

How are AMPHS’ services impacted?

We are dedicated to providing you the needed services and will continue to offer essential services Tuesday to Saturday, 10AM – 6PM until further notice while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Please continue using the services at AMPHS and other community organizations if they are important to you, unless you are displaying symptoms of fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath or have a pre-existing condition. We are taking the necessary precautions to protect our members because your health is our priority. 

Currently, New York State and New York City are in a State of Emergency. What does that mean? 

The number of positive coronavirus cases in NYC has risen to 269 as of today. A State of Emergency means that the Governor and Mayor can more rapidly reallocate funding and create new rules  to protect New Yorkers.

Should I go outside into crowds or gatherings?

Gatherings with 500 people or more have been banned – with the exception of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and mass transit facilities. Venues with capacity of less than 500 will reduce capacity by 50%. This goes into effect at 5 PM on March 13. Small gatherings are still permissible, but individuals should maintain social distancing of 6 feet. 

How are schools impacted?

While local public school districts can elect to close, the only mandatory closures at this time are if a member of the school community, which includes staff, faculty, and students, tests positive for coronavirus. In that case, the school will close for a minimum of 24 hours. If a school is closed for 24 hours, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch will be available for any student who wants it at the entrance of their school building. Student tardiness and absences in the current school year will not count against students for their admissions to middle school and high school. However, families must notify schools of the reason for the absence.

How is mass transit affected?

Mass transit will not be halted, but workers will be conducting a deep clean every 72 hours, including Access-A-Ride. However, it is advisable to avoid packed train cars and traveling during rush hour.

How are seniors at nursing homes protected?

Only screened medical staff will be admitted to nursing homes – no visitors will be permitted due to the severity of the virus for seniors, with some exceptions.

How is the virus spread?

The virus spreads from one person to another between people who are in close contact, through respiratory droplets that are produced when one coughs or sneezes within a radius of 6 feet. Another way a person may contract the virus is by touching a surface or object that has the virus and proceed to touch their mouth, nose, or eyes (however this is not the main way the virus is spread).

How can I protect myself and my family from the virus?

The easiest and most effective way to prevent the coronavirus is through frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you do not have soap or water, use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol level or higher. Maintain more vigilant hygiene practices — disinfectant your doorknobs, phones, sinks, and handles regularly. 

How can I get tested?

The City approved 23,000 new tests, which will be prioritized for those who have been exposed to someone diagnosed with a confirmed case of coronavirus, returned from impacted travel areas, seniors with pre-existing conditions, and for those who already display symptoms and have had other tests come back negative (meaning they likely have coronavirus). 

Do I have to pay for the tests?

If you have health insurance, you are not responsible for copays or coinsurance for the test.

If you do not have health insurance and need coronavirus testing, you may call 311 and they will refer you to a public hospital where you will receive the test for free.

My business is seeing less business and I cannot pay my employees? How can I get help?

New York City will provide relief for small businesses seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees with decreased sales of 25% or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000. Small businesses with fewer than 5 employees can apply for a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees. Eligible owners should fill out this interest form.

We are closely monitoring the situation and will send regular updates. If you do feel sick or have symptoms, you should call and seek guidance from a health professional or call the state’s helpline: 1-888-364-3065 or the city’s help-line 311. If you experience any discrimination or harassment, call 311 and file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights. For regular updates from NYC, text “COVID” to 692692 or visit the NYC DOHMH website.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (212) 256-9036 and we will connect you with the appropriate resources or a counselor. You can also check out our Immigrant Resources Directory to find a social service provider.