Coronavirus Update: Stay-at-home order extended; Central New York cleared to begin reopening

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NEW YORK — “All the arrows are pointed in the right direction,” Gov. Cuomo says as five regions of New York state prepare to partially reopen on Friday.

Central New York is the latest to meet all seven metrics for reopening. The region joins the North Country, the Southern Tier, the Mohawk Valley and the Finger Lakes to enter phase one of the process.

With the exception of those regions, Cuomo extended the stay-at-home directive until June 13. This does not mean that a region, once it meets all conditions for phase one, has to wait for June 13.

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MAY 14, 2020

Stay-at-home directive extended
In an executive order Thursday night, Gov. Cuomo extended the statewide stay-at-home order until June 13th, for the regions that do not meet the standards to begin reopening.

Most of Central New York will slowly begin reopening on Friday, but Western New York and the eastern part of the state, from Albany down through the Hudson Valley to New York City and Long Island, will remain closed.

Regions that meet the criteria for reopening before June 13th could see an opening earlier than that date. And the governor in the order says the June 13th date could be extended as well for regions where the criteria isn’t met.

Seniors struggling with decisions to defer from colleges/universities
High school seniors across our area are trying to decide whether to defer admission to their respective colleges or universities for the fall due to uncertainty about whether campuses will be open.

New York becomes 1st state to issue criteria for COVID-19-related syndrome in kids
New York has become the first state to issue criteria for what symptoms health care providers should look for to better understand and combat a mysterious illness related to COVID-19.

New York is investigating 110 reported cases and three deaths related to Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome. The deaths include a 5-year old in New York City, a 7-year old in Westchester County and a teenager in Suffolk County.

New York needs federal help
Cuomo says the state is in a $61 billion hole and must fund schools, hospitals, local governments, police officers, and firefighters. “I spoke to president Trump this morning. He agreed to help fund the MTA. Already sent first installment,” Cuomo said.

MAY 13, 2020

NY courts begin return to in-person operations
As the New York State court system continues to navigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks announced the gradual return of judges and staff to courthouses in upstate counties that have met the Governor’s established safety benchmarks.

Jobs top of mind as New York lawmakers begin virtual public hearings
New York Lawmakers gathered Wednesday for their first virtual joint legislative hearing since the COVID-19 pandemic to explore the impact on small businesses and what measures lawmakers should prioritize to keep employers from closing down permanently.

“I furlough six of 11 staff members and sales plummeted,” said Natasha Amott, owner of Whisk NYC, a kitchenware company, as she described moving her business online while also trying to navigate what she described as a confusing and stressful process applying for state and federal relief and complying with the requirements that relief carries.

New York State Labor Dept. suspends unemployment forfeit penalties during pandemic
Thousands of New Yorkers previously blocked from receiving unemployment insurance now qualify for assistance under a policy change announced Wednesday by the New York State Department of Labor.

Commissioner Roberta Reardon announced the DOL would be suspending forfeit penalties during the duration of the pandemic. A forfeit penalty is a form of punishment imposed by the DOL when an individual claims unemployment insurance and the state determined they shouldn’t have. The penalty blocks those individuals from receiving future unemployment benefits that they are actually entitled to.

Westchester County grocery chain offering reservation slots
A Westchester County supermarket chain is now offering grocery shopping reservations through a partnership with OpenTable.

DeCicco & Sons, which has eight locations in the county, is providing shopping reservation slots to customers to allow them to shop safely while ensuring social distancing and avoiding overcrowding.

Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Update
There are 102 cases of what may be a rare COVID-related illness in children with symptoms of Kawasaki disease. Three children have died in the state. 60% of these children had the COVID virus, 40% tested positive for the antibodies, and 14% were positive for both. 71% of the cases went into the ICU with 19% intubations.

Elective Surgeries
Elective surgeries are permitted to resume in 12 more counties. Those counties do not include New York City, Westchester or Long Island.

Testing at churches begins
Abyssinian Baptist Church is one of 11 churches across the city, as well as Nassau County and Westchester that will begin testing on Wednesday. Northwell Health is working with churches to target testing in low income and minority communities where there have been greater rates of infection and hospitalizations. A second group of 13 churches will open for testing next week.

State Senator writes letter to NY Blood Center
It’s been more than a month since the FDA loosened the rules for gay men donating blood and yet many men are still getting turned away. New York State Senator Brad Hoylman wrote a letter calling on the New York Blood Center to expedite their implementation of new FDA guidelines, allowing gay men to donate blood after he was turned away earlier this month.

MAY 12, 2020

Blood donations for gay men
New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, has written the New York Blood Center a letter pressuring the organization to update its blood donation policies allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

Disinfecting drones launching to fight COVID-19
Drones are being used in a variety of ways during the coronavirus pandemic, including to help monitor crowds from up above and to ensure people are social distancing.

Now, one company is using the technology to help reopen businesses and bring people back together again.

CityMD mistakenly told 15,000 patients with antibodies in New York, New Jersey they have immunity
CityMD said they mistakenly told 15,000 patients in New York and New Jersey that positive results on their COVID-19 antibody test meant they had immunity.

Cuomo’s Americans First Law
Governor Cuomo predicted a new scam connected to the bailout “The new scam is these corporations will use this pandemic to lay off workers,” he said. The governor said that some corporations rehire fewer workers to increase their stock value. Cuomo is proposing the Americans First Law. It would require corporations that accept bailout money to employ the same number of employees that they did prior to the pandemic.

Cuomo on $3 trillion relief bill
The governor says New York needs $61 billion alone in federal support or will have to reduce spending by 20% at schools, 20% at hospitals, and 20% at the local government level. Governor Cuomo says local government includes firefighters and police. He is calling for the bill to include assistance to working families that can’t afford food or rent and funeral costs. Cuomo also wants it to fund testing and tracing.

Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome
Governor Cuomo said that New York State is investigating 100 cases of what appears to be a COVID-related illness in children. So far, Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome has killed three children in the state. Nearly two-thirds of the cases are between the ages of 5-14. Cuomo suspects that children in other states are affected, although they haven’t been diagnosed yet because most cases pop up after the child recovers from coronavirus.

Telethon raises $115M for New Yorkers
Tina Fey shed tears after announcing that more than $115 million was raised toward supporting New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19 during Robin Hood’s Rise Up New York telethon. “Thank you, thank you,” said a tearful Fey, the host of the Rise Up New York! event Monday evening. The Emmy-winning actress along with other A-list celebrities from Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Strahan asked for donations to help relief and recovery efforts.

MAY 11, 2020

Man released from NY hospital after 38 days in ICU
For COVID-19 patient Nick Falvo, the day he was released from the was one and his family will cherish forever. After 38 days in the ICU, he walked out of Westchester Medical Center Monday to a chorus of cheers and applause.

93 children in NY diagnosed with inflammatory syndrome possibly linked to COVID-19
Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that there are now 93 cases of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome, a mysterious illness with symptoms similar to Kawasaki Disease that is believed to be related to COVID-19, in New York.

As of Sunday, at least 38 of those cases were in New York City, with at least three deaths believed to be linked to the illness reported statewide.

Death rate below 200 in NY for first time since pandemic began
Governor Cuomo reported that the number of lives lost dipped below 200 for the first time since the pandemic began at 161, which added is “still too high” but that we are “on the other side of the mountain.” The total deaths in the state stand at 21,631.

Cuomo on regional reopening plan
Governor Cuomo said that if a region meets the 7 metrics by the CDC to reopen, he will move them into Phase 1 of the reopening plan after NY PAUSE ends on May 15. In a reopened region in Phase 1, all retailers can do curbside pickup.

The Finger Lakes region (Rochester) Mohawk Valley (Utica) and Southern Tier (Binghamton, Ithaca, Elmira) will be the first to meet all seven benchmarks to reopen their economicies by the end of the week. As of May 15, they will be able to reopen certain low risk businesses and recreational activities, including: landscaping and gardening, outdoor low risk recreational activities (i.e. tennis) and drive in movie theaters

Central New York and North Country are next, they have 6/7 metrics met. Long Island And Mid Hudson have reached 5/7 required metrics. New York City is only at 4/7.

AARP initiative aims to tackle racial inequality during COVID-19 pandemic
AARP NY has teamed up with the American Asian Federation, Hispanic Federation, NY NAACP and the NY Urban League to address racial inequalities among older New Yorkers that have now intensified during the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials say people of color account for 62% of New York City residents who are 50 or older, and half of residents 65 and older were born in a foreign country. Moreover, during the past decade, the number of New Yorkers age 65 and over has increased by 26%.

MAY 10, 2020

Lifting New York on PAUSE
More information is expected Monday, but as far as lifting the PAUSE order, Cuomo said it will be regional and contingent on factors the state lays out. He said there will be regions in New York that qualify for reopening on May 15.

Americans First Law
Gov. Cuomo proposed “The Americans First Law,” requiring firms to hire back all workers if they want bailout money from the government.

More child deaths under investigation
Gov. Cuomo said an additional two child deaths are under investigation in New York in connection to an illness that could be related to COVID-19. There are a total of 85 cases in the state so far, mainly in kids that are toddlers through elementary school aged.

Nursing home measures
All nursing home staff must be tested twice a week. Hospitals cannot discharge a patient to a nursing home unless that patient has tested negative for COVID-19.

Death toll rises

The death toll in New York increased by 207, Gov. Cuomo announced Sunday. Of those deaths, 164 were in hospitals and 43 were in nursing homes.

The governor also announced that daily COVID-19 hospitalizations came down to 521 admissions yesterday – this takes the state to where the “hellish journey” began on March 20, according to the governor. That was the day NY PAUSE was signed.

College students create online global friendship opportunity amid COVID-19 pandemic
A team of computer science students in New York have mastered the art of making connections online and they turned a college assignment into a global friendship opportunity.

Three Cornell University students developed Quarantine Buddy — a virtual way to make friends while stuck at home. Now their concept is catching on in some surprising ways amid a critical time of social distancing.

Delta stops service at some regional airports through September
Delta Airlines said it is suspending service at 10 smaller regional airports through summer as part of a previously announced 85% reduction in its service schedule.

In the tri-state area, that means flights at Westchester County Airport and Stewart Airport will cease.

NY Gov. Cuomo criticized over highest nursing home death toll
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has won bipartisan praise for rallying supplies for his ravaged hospitals and helping slow the coronavirus, is coming under increasing criticism for not bringing that same level of commitment to a problem that has so far stymied him: nursing homes.

In part-lecture, part-cheerleading briefings that have made him a Democratic counter to President Donald Trump, Cuomo has often seemed dismissive and resigned to defeat when asked about his state leading the nation in nursing home deaths.

MAY 9, 2020

Network of 24 COVID testing sites to open at NYC churches in hard-hit minority communities
New York is partnering with Northwell Health to open 24 temporary COVID testing sites at churches in predominantly low-income communities of color.

3 young New Yorkers dead from mysterious, possibly COVID-related illness
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 3 “young New Yorkers” have died of what may be a COVID-related illness in children. The illness has symptoms that are similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. The governor said the Department of Health is investigating.

226 new deaths; hospitalizations, intubations & new positive cases down
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that 226 deaths related to COVID-19 occurred Friday, that’s up from 216 on Thursday. The governor said total hospitalizations, intubations and new positive cases continue to drop. There were 572 newly confirmed cases Friday.

MAY 8, 2020

Child with mysterious illness possibly linked to COVID-19 dies
Health officials in Westchester County announced Friday that a child being treated for a mystery illness believed to be linked to the coronavirus has died. The illness, called Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19, prompted an advisory to healthcare providers to immediately report any related symptoms. County Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler said officials are still assessing whether underlying conditions were a factor in the child’s death.

MAY 7, 2020

Rent Relief
Governor Cuomo extended the moratorium for COVID-related hardship an additional 60 days until August 20th. No one can be evicted for non-payment of rent until that date.

Tenants can also use their security deposit to pay their rent.

MAY 6, 2020

New York State Board of Elections appeals June 23 presidential primary
The New York State Board of Elections is now appealing a federal judge’s decision to restore the state’s presidential primary.

On Tuesday, the judge ruled that the state must hold its primary on June 23 as planned. Last week, the board canceled the primary by removing all candidates’ names from the ballot except for Joe Biden, even though New York was still planning to hold its congressional and state-level primaries.

New York-area nonprofit mails spa boxes to women fighting breast cancer
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought one nonprofit’s operations to a complete standstill, Spoil Me Pink quickly took their operations remote and began mailing miniature spa days in a box to women fighting breast cancer around the country.

Many of the women have compromised immune systems and are at a higher risk for a serious case of COVID-19, forcing them into near isolation since the pandemic began.

Lawmaker proposes forgiving student loans of doctors, nurses fighting coronavirus
A U.S. lawmaker proposed forgiving all student loan debt for health care workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, introduced the bill Tuesday in response to doctors and nurses who pushed back at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s suggestion that the federal government gives 50% hazard pay bonuses to those workers. Many of them said they were appreciative of the hazard pay sentiment, but pointed out that the 50% boost would do very little to help them out of debt.
Westchester County honors COVID-19 victims
A new memorial called “Ribbons of Remembrance” now stands at Lenoir Preserve overlooking the Hudson River and the Palisades dedicated to Westchester County residents who have lost their lives to COVID-19. Visitors will find the memorial a short walk away from the Lenoir Preserve parking lot in front of the Wightman Mansion.

Most NY patients are retired or unemployed, survey finds
Hospitals in New York state say only 17 percent of recently admitted patients were working, Governor Cuomo announced on Wednesday. Hospitalizations and new cases continue to decline, but the death toll is approaching 20,000.

NY issues advisory for mysterious COVID-19 related illness in children
The New York State Department of Health issued an advisory to healthcare providers Wednesday about a serious inflammatory disease affecting children throughout the state that is believed to be linked to the novel coronavirus. As of May 5, officials say there are 64 potential cases of the condition, called Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19, that have been reported in children in New York hospitals, including in New York City.

Cuomo examines who is getting hospitalized
With everything shut down, the governor wanted to see where most of the new cases of coronavirus hospitalizations were coming from and it’s primarily downstate, New York City and Long Island. 66% of those people were coming from their own homes and Governor Cuomo found that shocking. He said they were mostly over age 51. 84% of people were at home and not traveling and non-essential employees. The governor said those statistics reinforce the need to wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer and washing your hands, and if you are part of the vulnerable population you need to stay home to protect yourself and maintain social distancing. “It comes down to personal responsibility,” Cuomo said.
Testing at nursing homes
The Westchester County executive ordered all nursing homes to be tested for COVID-19. There are now more than 30,000 confirmed cases across the county.

MAY 5, 2020

Judge restores NY Democratic presidential primary
The New York Democratic presidential primary must take place June 23 because canceling it would be unconstitutional, a judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres ruled after hearing arguments a day earlier as lawyers for withdrawn presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang argued that it was wrong to cancel the primary.

PSA face mask contest
New Yorkers will now be able to enter a free contest in creating and sharing a video explaining why people should wear a face mask in public amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Cuomo announced Tuesday.

“How much is a human life worth?”
Governor Cuomo talked about reopening the state of New York and why it’s so important we stay closed for now. He said that first wave projections went from 60,000 deaths to 140,000 deaths in the country due to rising mobility in most US states as well as easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 states by May 11.

“How much is a human life worth?” Governor Cuomo asked. “Let’s be honest about it and let’s be open about it.” He said that all facts were being considered and that he feels the 12-step process and markers work best in determining the proper time for regions to restart. “A human life is priceless, period,” Cuomo said.

Vintage planes write messages of thanks over NY
A fleet of vintage WWII planes honored New York hospital workers, first responders, essential workers and all others affected by COVID-19 Tuesday by writing giant messages of thanks and hope in the sky. The airplanes flew over the five boroughs of New York City, as well as Long Island and Westchester County, just before noon.

Federal funding battle
Governor Cuomo said the “mismanagement for decades” President Trump spoke of is not the state governments – it is the federal government. He added that before the crisis broke out he did not ask the federal government for anything for New York state, and the state gets back less than it gives.

Nursing home deaths
New York state is reporting more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities as the state faces scrutiny over how it’s protected vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic. At least 4,813 people have died from COVID-19 in the state’s nursing homes since March 1, according to a tally released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration late Monday that, for the first time, includes people believed to have been killed by the coronavirus before their diagnoses could be confirmed by a lab test.

Reimagining education
The governor talked about ways to reimagine education with virtual and internet learning. He wants to see schools open better than before and says he’s working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reimagine education in the new normal.

MAY 4, 2020

White Plains firefighter dies of COVID-19
White Plains Professional Fire Fighters IAFF Local 274 announced the death of Deputy Chief Edward Ciocca due to complications from COVID-19. He is remembered as a loving father, devoted fireman, a leader and a caring friend.

Virtual graduation
Westchester County lawmakers are planning a virtual graduation celebration for the class of 2020. Community leaders, teachers, parents, grandparents and siblings are being asked to record a short video to say congrats to the high school seniors in their lives.

Cases in Westchester County
The number of confirmed cases in Westchester County have now surpassed 30,000. More than 1,100 people have died.

Regional reopening plan for New York
The governor talked about number indicators that the state will use to determine if a region is ready to reopen. He said the rate of new infections needs to be below an infection rate of 1.1, healthcare capacity must have 30% hospital and ICU bed available, diagnostic testing capacity of 30 tests for every 1,000 residents, and a contact tracing system must be in place. Every hospital needs to have a 90 day supply of PPE stockpiled.

MAY 3, 2020

Cuomo calls out residents who refuse to wear face masks
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday those who do not wear masks are “disrespecting” frontline workers putting their lives in danger to help put a stop to the deadly coronavirus.
Faced with 20,000 dead, nursing homes seek shield from lawsuits
Faced with 20,000 coronavirus deaths and counting, the nation’s nursing homes are pushing back against a potential flood of lawsuits with a sweeping lobbying effort to get states to grant them emergency protection from claims of inadequate care.

At least 15 states have enacted laws or governors’ orders that explicitly or apparently provide nursing homes and long-term care facilities some protection from lawsuits arising from the crisis. And in the case of New York, which leads the nation in deaths in such facilities, a lobbying group wrote the first draft of a measure that apparently makes it the only state with specific protection from both civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution.
7 Northeast states join forces, forming a regional team to purchase PPE
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are launching a regional purchasing consortium to jointly procure PPE, tests, ventilators and other medical equipment. This will increase the market power and help prevent price-gouging, NY Gov. Cuomo said.
PPE requirement for hospitals
Gov. Cuomo announced all hospitals in New York state must have on hand a 90-day supply of PPE.

MAY 2, 2020

Frustration over reopen rallies
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that he understands the frustration building over the economic shutdown, but when asked about a rally on Long Island Friday to reopen the state, he drew a line.

People have a First Amendment right to make an argument, he said, but not to imperil people’s health.

“You want to jeopardize your health, God bless you,” the governor said. “You have no right to jeopardize my health … the mask is about my health, and my children’s health and your children’s health.”

Antibody testing update
Cuomo announced the latest round of the state’s antibody survey. Currently, 12.3% of the 15,000 tested are positive. Within the 12.3%, New York City accounts for the highest percentage (19.9%) of that group. The Bronx is testing at 27.6% positive for the coronavirus antibody.

Nearly 400 of the 900 new COVID-19 cases are coming from Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

No eviction in May for those who can’t pay rent
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New Yorkers cannot be evicted if they fail to pay rent this month. A law protects them from eviction. That law expires next month, and the governor said he will review its status then

Impact on homeless in subway
“You do not help the homeless by letting them sleep on a subway car in the middle of a global pandemic,” Cuomo said, addressing concerns about what will happen to them when they are forced to leave trains overnight during the cleaning-related shutdowns. Cuomo said efforts are being made to connect the homeless to help they need, and that this crisis presents an opportunity to engage with them.

MAY 1, 2020

Schools closed for rest of academic year in state
All K-12 schools and colleges in New York state will remain closed for the rest of this academic year, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday. Distance learning and meal plans for students will continue. A decision on summer school will be made by the end of May.

Rockland County parks reopen
Parks in Rockland County are now reopened to the public. They have been closed since April 7, for three weeks.

The reopenings come after a decline in hospitalization rates throughout the county.

MORE: Coverage from April 2020


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