Friday Morning, May 22
NEW FRIDAY MORNING: I’d like to start today’s update with a note about cooperation and partnership in Government during this crisis, because I think it’s an untold story of this pandemic that might bring you some comfort.
At the very beginning of the outbreak, Governor Cuomo didn’t just begin holding daily briefings for the public, he also set up daily regional calls with his team and every member of the State Senate and Assembly from around the state, along with our federal representatives, and our county executive offices.
Every day, I get on a phone call with every Senator and every Assemblymember from across Nassau and Suffolk, along with senior staff from the Governor’s office, federal offices, and county offices.
The conversations cover a broad range of topics, usually concerns brought to us by you, our constituents, and we find solutions to them together. Sometimes we can resolve the issue right then and there, other times our suggestions or concerns result in a new executive order being issued to tackle that specific item. No matter what though, no one’s concerns are dismissed, and we always exhaust every path towards finding a solution till we get one.
This exercise has given a voice to every representative in every community regardless of seniority, and regardless of party, and it’s producing results for our residents every single day at a speed that I’ve never seen our government function at before. It’s really a beautiful thing to experience (even if some people never learn to mute their phones), it’s something I’m immensely grateful to the Governor and his team for facilitating, and I think it’s a model for how every government should work together across the nation.
Today, Governor Cuomo announced that summer school will be conducted through distance learning this year to help reduce the risk of spread of the coronavirus. In light of the Childhood Inflammatory Disease related to Covid-19 that has hospitalized over 150 children in New York, and taken the lives of 3, there are simply too many unknown risks to proceed with in-person schooling until more is understood. School meal programs and child care services for essential employees will continue, and school districts must also develop a plan for students with disabilities who participate in extended school year programs over the summer to ensure they receive instruction. Find out more information about our local school meal programs on my community resource guide here
Out of the same concern for our children, the state is still reviewing guidelines for day camps and sleepaway camps. The Governor said it well when he said “If I wouldn’t send my child to day camp, I wouldn’t ask anyone else to send their child to day camp. It’s that simple.”
The State will make a determination on the fall semester and issue guidelines in June so schools and colleges can start to plan for a number of different possibilities. K-12 schools and colleges will submit plans for approval to the state in July.
As we begin to slowly reopen our communities, its important that no New Yorker feel unsafe at work or be put into harms way unnecessarily. If your employer doesn’t make appropriate accommodations for your safety, for the safety of the public, or fails to provide you with PPE to do your job safely, you’re urged to call the state coronavirus hotline at 888-364-3065
As contract tracing becomes a bigger factor in our daily lives to keep the spread of the coronavirus to a minimum in our reopened communities, New Yorkers should be on the lookout from calls that come through on your phone from “NYS Contact Tracing”. If you get one of these calls, please pick up your phone. It’s important to speak with our local contact tracers if they’re trying to reach you, so that you can make informed decisions about your health.
Uninsured New Yorkers can get a free diagnostic COVID-19 test at any CityMD urgent care facility. All CityMD locations are offering nasal swab tests seven days a week, and walk-ins are accepted. Also a reminder that New York health insurers have been directed to waive all costs associated with COVID-19 testing. If you believe you have COVID symptoms, don't wait — get tested. Visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you to find a location near you.
In the last 24 hours, 49,219 people statewide were tested for coronavirus, with 2,088 positive results. In Nassau, 3,112 were tested with 119 new positives.
As of Monday, 39,487 Nassau County residents have tested positive for the coronavirus. Statewide, 356,458 New Yorkers have tested positive, with 5,1887 currently hospitalized, 1,695 in the ICU, 1,345 intubated, and 484 new discharges. Statewide, there were 246 new hospital admissions due to Covid-19.
We lost another 105 New Yorkers to the coronavirus since yesterday, including residents of Nassau County. This brings the total number of our friends and neighbors lost to 23,083 statewide, and 2,073 in Nassau.
Small Business Support
Governor Cuomo announced that the state is extending sales tax interest and penalty relief through June 22, 2020. The state previously provided relief through May 19th for returns due March 20th. This extension could provide interest and penalty relief for up to 89,000 vendors who had returns due in March. These small businesses file their taxes quarterly and annually, and have taxable receipts of less than $300,000 in the previous quarter.
This morning, Friday 5/22, from 10-11:30am, Newsday will be holding a webinar on small business emergency survival. "Keeping Your Business Afloat During These Challenging Times," a panel of financial, business and legal experts will be available to update you on the latest developments in federal, state and other resources for small businesses, and ways to deal with business and legal issues precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, hosted by SCORE NYC. The webinar is free, and you can register now by clicking here
The National SBDC (Small Business Development Center) Information Clearing House has extensive, industry-specific resources to help your small business weather the coronavirus outbreak and navigate a safe reopening. There’s information, guidance, tools, and support for a wide variety of businesses, from restaurants, to retailers, to service businesses, manufacturers, and so much more. Check it out at https://www.sbdcnet.org/industry-links/covid-19-industry-resources
As New York begins Phase 1 reopening of some regions across the state, the Governor’s Office has created yet another helpful online tool to help you navigate the reopening process. The New York Forward Business Reopening Lookup Tool will help you determine whether or not your business is eligible to reopen. Check it out at https://www.businessexpress.ny.gov/app/nyforward
New York Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is offering free remote counseling sessions with business advisers. Get assistance with how to start a business, the small-business loan application process and more. You must schedule an appointment, and you can do so by calling at 800-732-7232, or visiting nysbdc.org/appointment.html
Two studies on monkeys published yesterday offer some of the first scientific evidence that surviving Covid-19 might result in immunity from reinfection, a positive sign that vaccines under development may succeed. Although scientists have assumed that antibodies produced in response to the coronavirus may offer protection, there has been very little scientifically rigorous evidence to back that up. I caution though, this is extremely preliminary information, and we don’t know how long the antibodies offer protection, or how strong the protection may be—so if you have tested positive for antibodies, this is not your license to hit the town and throw caution to the wind.
Last week, when I held the State Legislature’s first-ever virtual hearing on the topic of federal small business relief, I heard testimony from countless small business owners who warned that there was an immediate need to fix the Paycheck Protection Program by allowing a longer period of time to spend funds in order to qualify for loan forgiveness. There was a glimmer of hope today that the US Senate might pass legislation to make just such a fix, but they failed to do so today before leaving for the holiday weekend. I am urging our federal representatives to do whatever they have to and get this fix done as soon as possible, and I will continue to fight for our small businesses to get the relief they need from Washington.
County Executive Laura Curran announced that Nickerson Beach cabanas will open on Father’s Day, with strict social distancing guidelines, and the cabanas will only be able to be used for storage. Congregation in and around the cabanas will not be permitted. The county will be reaching out to cabana renters and if they are not comfortable using them this season the county will hold their spot for next year, without penalty. Those who will use them this summer would pay for two months instead of the typical three-month season.
The County Executive also announced that the annual Fourth of July fireworks in Eisenhower Park have been postponed until September. All summer concerts at the park up until July 19 are also postponed.
Things That We Would Only Ever Be Talking About in 2020
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have analyzed more than 200 million tweets discussing the coronavirus since January and found that about 45% were likely sent by bots designed to sow division in our country. It’s an important reminder that there are plenty of bad actors out there looking to exploit this crisis for their own perverse motivations, and we all need to use our heads, take in good quality information, and make smart decisions based on that information.
My Coronavirus Community Resource Page is now live at coronavirus.senatorkaplan.com! There's lots of great information including what restaurants are open in our community for delivery, what government services have changed, and where to go if you need help with something during this difficult time. Check it out!
This is only a snapshot of the full resources available to our community during this difficult time. To see the full resource guide, visit coronavirus.senatorkaplan.com
With the beautiful weather we’ve been having, now’s a great time to check out some local recreation maybe you’ve never experienced before. Nassau County has a great interactive map to help you explore local bike and hiking trails: https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/biketrailmap
Cancer Services Program of Nassau County provides breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screenings at no cost to men and women who do not have health insurance, and people whose health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of these screenings, regardless of immigration status. Staying healthy right now doesn’t just mean from coronavirus: please consider getting a cancer screening today in a safe environment with all necessary precautions being taken to protect your health. For more information, call 516-470-4165, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or check “Cancer Services Program of Nassau County” on Facebook.
Port Washington residents Dr. Lauren Block and Adam Block PhD created a beautifully illustrated e-book for kids aged 4-11 to help them make sense of the coronavirus and the world we’re living in today. The book is called “Kelly Stays Home: The Science of Coronavirus” and its available FREE for download to anyone who is interested. If you have children in your family, visit https://www.kellystayshome.com/ and check it out!
There are now over 700 locations statewide where New Yorkers can get diagnostic testing, and in order to make sure more New Yorkers are getting tested, Governor Cuomo has further relaxed the criteria for who can get a test and created some helpful online resources.
- If you are concerned you might need a test, but you’re not sure if you meet the criteria, take the online self-assessment at https://covid19screening.health.ny.gov/
- *Note: In Nassau County, all workers interacting with the public are now eligible to receive diagnostic testing, whether you have symptoms or not.*
- To locate a testing site near you, visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you and enter your address to view a list and a map view of the nearest testing sites. The state has also partnered with Google Maps to display testing site results when you search "COVID testing near me" on Google Maps.
- Please remember you must always schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19 diagnostic test by calling 1-888-364-3065 or your healthcare provider.
Amid an uptick in domestic violence incidents, NYS has launched a new 24/7 texting program and confidential online service to help abuse victims safely interact with the Domestic Violence hotline without being overheard by their abuser. If you’re in an unsafe situation, know that you’re not alone, and you’re not trapped. There is help—text 844-997-2121 or visit opdv.ny.gov. You can also call the Safe Center here in Nassau County 24/7 at (516) 542-0404
How You Can Help
There are many more ways to help-visit coronavirus.senatorkaplan.com for the full list.
New York State is seeking highly trained technologists to assist with our Covid-19 Technology SWAT team. Individuals from leading global technology companies are being deployed across high-impact and urgent coronavirus response activities across a range of functions, including Web/Mobile Development, Data Science/Analytics, End User Support and Digital Content Strategy. Individuals, technology companies, universities, nonprofits, research labs, and other organizations with technology expertise are invited to submit an expression of interest. Learn more at https://www.ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-covid-19-technology-swat-team
Frontline Foods is now in Nassau County and they need donations to do their great work supporting our local restaurants and our healthcare heroes. This innovative nonprofit organization takes your 100% tax-deductible donation, uses it to purchase food at local restaurants in our community, and brings the food to our healthcare heroes in local hospitals. Visit https://www.frontlinefoods.org/nassaucounty to learn more and make a donation.
Supplies of donated blood continue to be critically low, and anyone who can donate should do so. If you are interested in donating blood, please contact New York Blood Center at 800-688-0900.
In order to help research effective treatments for Coronavirus, plasma donations are needed from people who tested positive for coronavirus but have since resolved and gotten better. Your plasma will be used to help save lives of ill patients using the convalescent plasma method, and you can learn more and donate by visiting https://www.nybc.org/donate-blood/convalescent-plasma/
Please, take a few minutes today and fill out the census right away if you haven’t yet done so. Visit my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 and do your part to help NY get its fair share.
To help support our First Responders, New York created the First Responders Fund. The fund will assist COVID-19 health care workers and first responders with expenses and costs, including child care. The State Department of Health is accepting donations for the fund, and received an anchor $10 million contribution from Blackstone. Donations can be made electronically at www.healthresearch.org/donation-form
We're All In This Together
As always, if there’s any way I can be of assistance to you and your family as we navigate these difficult times, please contact me at 516-746-5924 or email@example.com.
If you don’t already get this newsletter delivered straight to your inbox each day, but would like to, sign up at https://www.nysenate.gov/questionnaires/anna-m-kaplan/sign-receive-nassau-coronavirus-email-updates
Thank you for allowing me the privilege of being your Senator.