Queens Coronavirus Daily Update March 19, 2020

Libraries
Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott announced that all branches will close indefinitely starting this week.

Amazon facility in Queens has first case of COVID-19

An Amazon delivery station, called DBK1, in Queens has been shut down due to its first case of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus. 

This week, a staff member of the facility was confirmed to have the virus, and the news was broken to the staff via a text in a “Amazon Workers United” group chat between workers. The company later confirmed this to be true.

The warehouse is now closed and being cleaned and the sick staff member is in quarantine. Daytime staff were sent home, though some workers said that the nighttime shift staff were still expected to come in.

Amazon said it will pay for two weeks sick time for any worker with coronavirus. They will not be permitted to return to work without a two-week quarantine.

“We are supporting the individual who is now in quarantine,” an Amazon spokeswoman said. “Since the early days of this situation, we have worked closely with local authorities to proactively respond, ensuring we continue to serve customers while taking care of our associates and we’re following all guidelines from local officials about the operations of our buildings.”

Two workers for the company’s headquarters in Seattle were confirmed to have the virus, but this is the first case of a warehouse staffer contracting it.

Read more about this in these two articles: The Atlantic, Business Insider

Queens Supreme Court Justice confirmed to have COVID-19

The Queens County Supreme Court has its first case of COVID-19 in the form of a judge. credit – Christopher Matthew Thiemann, Wikimedia Commons

A Queens Supreme Court justice from the Jamaica courthouse  was confirmed to have the virus and is now in quarantine, though trials will still continue with a modified schedule.

This judge is said to only be exhibiting “mild symptoms” at the moment, according to Office of Court Administration spokesperson Lucian Chalfen.

The judge’s courtroom is being sanitized and an “emergency judge” will temporarily take over until the justice with the virus has fully recovered. The building itself will remain open, though certain areas are closed.

As per a Unified Court System memorandum, courts across New York State will carry out current civil and criminal trials until their completion but will not open up any new cases for the time being.

In the Jamaica courthouse, many parts of the building, including the Trial Scheduling Part, Compliance Conference Part, Preliminary Conference Part and Subpoenaed Records office, have been closed off, with the active courtrooms being the main parts still open.

Read more about this in this article: The Queens Daily Eagle

Seven people between two Queens churches test positive for COVID-19 

St. Gabriel’s Church is one of the two Catholic congregations with new COVID-19 cases.
credit – google maps

Seven Queens parishioners tested positive for coronavirus this week after community gatherings in the past two weeks, all from either Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church or St. Gabriel’s Church.

One of the people, a Eucharistic Minister at Corpus Christi, had handed out communion on Ash Wednesday on Feb. 26, which could have partially contributed to the spread.

The Diocese of Brooklyn — which represents both Brooklyn and Queens — made the announcement on Tuesday. Since, the two churches, which are located in Woodside and East Elmhurst, have been undergoing deep cleaning. 

Diocese officials are urging churchgoers from both of the congregations to contact their doctors immediately if they begin showing symptoms of the virus. 

The diocese has also cancelled all mass at its churches, though the churches will be open for private prayer during scheduled hours. It has also encouraged its parishioners to attend live-streamed services rather than going in person.

Read more about this in these articles: International Business Times, New York Daily News

Queens Library system closed until further notice due to COVID-19 crisis

The Queens Public Library system has shut all branches starting March 16 until further notice to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and protect both staff library goers.

“To ensure you can continue to learn and grow with the library, we are expanding our collections of digital materials, which are always available, including thousands of free eBooks, audiobooks, eMagazines, songs, movies, and videos,” QPL President and CEO Dennis Walcott wrote on the library’s blog.

All late fees and holds will be suspended during this time period and the library is telling people to hold on to the materials that they have checked out, rather than returning them. People will be able to return materials when the library announces a plan for disinfecting them.

Due dates for everything checked out are also automatically extended.

This comes after the QPL originally announced on March 12 that it would be suspending all programs, classes and events from March 13 until the end of the month, or longer, as the Brooklyn and New York Public Libraries did.

“We’re just trying to serve the public as best we can, considering the situation,” said QPL spokesperson Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska. “We’re a safe space for people. They still rely on the library for access to the internet; access to information is needed more than ever and we’re going to provide it as best we can.”

The QPL blog also offers viewers a host of resources and links to educate themselves on the virus and how to handle it, as well as information about social distancing..

Read more about this in these articles: The Queens Daily Eagle, Queens Public Library

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