Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move March 19, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Editor Note: We encourage all lawmakers to step up with emails to us so we can comprehensively put out all that you are doing during this COVID-19 health crisis. Wishing all lawmakers, their staff and our readers health and happiness in your isolation!

Myrie Gives Corona Virus Updates

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) has been sending a fairly comprehensive coronavirus daily newsletter.

“We hope this update finds you well. The news continues to move quickly, so be sure to skim through to get the latest and if you haven’t already, check our continuously updated Coronavirus Resource Guide. Remember: the current public health guidance is for everyone to behave as if they already have the virus. More information on the guidance is here,” Myrie wrote.

Myrie’s Updates:

  • As of this morning, there are now 2,382 cases statewide (1,008 new), with 1,339 in NYC (695 new). There have been 14,597 tests (4,482 new).
  • Today, I was proud to join the Senate in passing emergency paid sick leave legislation. The bill ensures employees in New York State will be able to access paid leave if they are subject to a mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The Senate bill also waives the 7-day waiting period before New Yorkers can apply for unemployment insurance. This action builds on legislation passed by the Senate to allocate $40 million to help address this crisis. You can read more about the bill in our previous email here.
  • Governor Cuomo announced a new mandatory state requirement that no business can have more than 50% of their workforce report for work outside of the home. It exempts essential services including: food, pharmacies, healthcare, media organizations, shipping, and supplies, etc. You can see his full presentation here.  
  • USCIS is suspending in-person immigration services. For emergency requests, go here:
  • The MTA is no longer scheduling shared rides for Access-A-Ride services effective Thursday, March 19 in order to protect riders. Riders can travel with a personal care attendant or approved guest. 
  • The Riders Alliance is collecting New Yorkers’ stories about their experience with public transportation during the outbreak. You can fill out their survey here
  • The MTA announced it will hold its next board meeting virtually on Wednesday, March 25 at 10:00 a.m.
  • President Trump announced that he will invoke the Defense Production Act, which will allow the federal government to step up production of medical supplies like masks and ventilators. He has also deployed a hospital ship to New York City with 1,000 hospital beds. More info here.
  • Some medical experts are recommending that people who believe they are infected with the novel coronavirus avoid taking ibuprofen (Advil). We encourage you to consult your doctor or find a doctor to speak with via the State coronavirus hotline before making any changes to your medication: 1-888-364-3065

“Please let us know if there are any questions you have or ideas for how to improve our updates during this crisis. As always, you can call our office at 718-284-4700 or email us at [email protected],” Myrie wrote.

Cumbo Gives Corona Updates

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) has also been sending a fairly comprehensive COVID-19 e-newsletter.

“Today our staff expressed on social media how grateful we are for our healthcare workers. I have been on the phone daily with health care leaders in District 35 and they are learning about Covid-19 just as we are, but unlike many of us, do not have the option of telecommuting and social distancing. They are in clear and present risk of exposure and do it anyway for the sake of all of us. These are truly the heroes of our time and we cannot thank them enough,” wrote Cumbo.

“Let’s continue to laugh, smile, be kind to one another, and find joy in the small things! I am using this time to reflect on the importance of health, happiness, and family, and encourage you all to do the same,” she added.

The e-newsletter also included:

The NYC Employee Retention Grant Program Application is now open. This grant is available to businesses with one to four employees that can demonstrate at least a 25% decrease in revenue as a result of COVID-19. A list of required documents can be found here.

The NYC Small Business Continuity Fund (Loan) – Application will open next week

Arts and Culture: From the Couch

Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch!

National Museum of Natural History Virtual Tours

Please look out for one another during these uncertain times. If you can, stay in, cook, clean, tend to house/apartment (kids love to help keep house), do projects with children, or even ask them to write short stories, songs, or poetry! Yesterday we sent out links for activities and educational movies for kids to enjoy from home. For more info on child-friendly activities, follow our social media pages for daily updates,” Cumbo wrote.

“For all those who need assistance at this time, our remote constituent service hours begin at 11 a.m. Please dial 718-260-9191 regarding your constituent service needs and a staff person will get back to you within 24 hours,” the lawmaker added.

Adams to Join Brooklyn Hospital to Promote New Telemedicine Command Center

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams today will join The Brooklyn Hospital Center to promote a new facility within the hospital dedicated to telemedicine appointments amid the outbreak of coronavirus in New York City. 

The command center, which is staffed by trained health care professionals at the hospital, allows people to be pre-screened for potential symptoms consistent with COVID-19 before coming to the hospital in person, alleviating the growing strain on finite medical resources. Adams, who has long been a proponent of telemedicine, will call for this model to be scaled up across the city to public hospitals immediately to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The event is slated for 3 p.m., today, March 19 at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, 121 DeKalb Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn/Fort Greene.

Rose Push, Trump Deploys Naval Hospital Ship 

Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) is grateful to Governor Cuomo for announcing the decision that President Trump will dispatch the Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort to New York Harbor.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the quick and decisive action by the President and Governor to hear our call to deploy the USNS Comfort to New York Harbor,” said Rose, “Getting ahead of the crisis and increasing capacity and hospital beds is vitally needed. The 1,000 beds, labs and additional resources aboard this ship will be a huge help in our efforts.”

As New York City seeks to drastically increase hospital capacity and beds to address the growing threat of coronavirus (COVID-19), Rose led a letter with fellow New York Congressmembers José E. Serrano, Tom Suozzi, and Nydia Velázquez in calling for President Trump to deploy a Naval hospital ship to New York City a few days ago.

Lander Wants Release of Rikers Island Prisoners 

City Council Member Brad Lander
Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Council Member Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Gowanus) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams held a tele-press conference with Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and other advocates to call on Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and New York City’s District Attorneys to suspend broken windows arrests and similar criminal penalty enforcement policies, and to release most people incarcerated at Rikers who are over 50 years old, in order to protect vulnerable New Yorkers from exposure to COVID-19.

“This crisis has put the stark differences in how our society cares for and values people into sharp relief,” said Lander, “while many New Yorkers are staying home, stocking up, and washing their hands, people who are incarcerated are trapped in close quarters without sufficient cleaning supplies and inadequate medical care. And the public employees who staff the jails and courts are at severe risk as well, as we saw this week when an investigator on Rikers Island became one of the first casualties of this crisis. New York City and New York State have a responsibility to shrink the jail population by halting arrests for low-level offenses and releasing people who are most vulnerable to illness. If we fail to do so, the increased death toll will be on our hands, and no amount of soap will wash it away.”

This morning, it was revealed that a Corrections Officer working on Rikers Island tested positive for COVID-19. One of the first NYC deaths due to coronavirus was an investigator who works on Rikers. Currently, there are over 900 people held in jails on Rikers Island over the age of 50. At least two-thirds have chronic medical conditions, around 300 are held on a parole warrant, around 200 are held on bail, and around 75 on a city sentence.

“Over-incarceration and the approach to broken windows policing have long been a disastrous approach devastating lives and communities,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Lentol Legislation for State-Wide Absentee Ballot Voting

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol
Assemblymember Joseph Lentol

Assembly Member Joseph Lentol (D-Greenpoint, Williamsburg) announced today the introduction of legislation for New York State to implement an absentee ballot election state-wide for the upcoming presidential primary on April 28.

“The COVID-19 virus is spread mainly from person-to-person and the single most effective way to prevent and slow the further transmission of the virus is to avoid close contact and stay at least 6 feet away. It is not wise to conduct the 2020 presidential primary in person, especially when we can conduct it through emergency absentee ballot safely and securely,” said Assembly Member Lentol.

A crisis exists due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) which will negatively impact and impair the efficient operation of early voting and election day voting for the presidential primary, scheduled for April 28, 2020.

Frontus Praises Expedited Assistance to the Homebound 

Mathylde Frontus
Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus

Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Gravesend) praised state officials for easing access to consumer-directed home care programs.

“Leaving elderly and disabled patients without care for even a few days is a hidden public health emergency within the larger coronavirus emergency,” Frontus said. “I thank the Department of Health for taking swift action to make sure everyone can receive the care they need.”

Yesterday afternoon, the state Department of Health streamlined access to Personal Care Services and Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Services for New Yorkers dependent on home care. The new guidelines allow medical assessments and enrollment procedures to be completed by phone.

Frontus Touts Coronavirus Sick Leave Law

Mathylde Frontus
Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus

Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Gravesend) tonight helped pass legislation that provides sick leave and other benefits to all New York workers sidelined by coronavirus.

“We cannot compel workers to stay home and then punish them for doing what’s right to protect the public,” Frontus said. “The spread of COVID-19 requires extraordinary measures, and we shouldn’t penalize workers for a situation beyond their control.”

The law is the product of an agreement among the Assembly, Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was signed into law tonight.

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