Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move March 30, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Clarke Opens Up Public Forum For Coronavirus Concerns

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Park Slope) opened up a public forum where people can send their thoughts and concerns on how they are dealing with coronavirus and what they think the government can do to help

She also sent a reminder that last week, two bipartisan emergency relief packages were passed to provide free COVID-19 testing and paid leave, expand food assistance, extend unemployment insurance, fund research into a vaccine, and support state and local agencies, who are our frontline responders in this crisis.

In the weeks ahead, Clarke is hoping to pass another round of relief aimed specifically at the financial burden this crisis is having on everyday Americans. 

Adams Mourns Lives Lost in NYPD, FDNY, and Faith Communities

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Borough President Eric Adams released a statement on COVID-19 fatalities within the FDNY, NYPD and Brooklyn’s faith communities. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a tragedy growing in magnitude every day. We are losing our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, friends and neighbors, colleagues and mentors. Every soul that leaves us is one we must come together to uplift, even while we are physically separated.

“Several individuals have passed in recent hours whose service to our communities deserve a unique moment of mourning and reflection. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends, and parishioners of Reverend Jorge Ortiz-Garay of St. Brigid’s Church in Bushwick; he is believed to be the first Catholic priest to perish from COVID-19. Reverend Ortiz-Garay was widely beloved in Brooklyn’s Mexican-American community, and he will be deeply missed by all those whose lives he touched. 

“We also come together to mourn the loss of James Villecco, a US Army veteran and ambulance mechanic from Staten Island who is the first FDNY fatality due to COVID-19. James was a hero who supported the medical care of our city, and we send our deep sympathies to his family, friends, and colleagues. Additionally, as a retired member of the NYPD, I share in grieving the loss of Detective Cedric G. Dixon, the first officer we have lost to COVID-19. NYPD officers go out every day and brave unexpected situations to keep our city safe, and we join Detective Dixon’s family, friends, and colleagues in remembering a great man who protected and served us for 22 years.

“To every essential frontline worker, faith healer, and everyday New Yorker struggling from the effects of COVID-19: We are with you. There has never been a time quite like this for us to call on the spirit of One Brooklyn. We must be Brooklyn Strong to get through the months ahead, and I know we will,” said Adams. 

Rose Applauds VA Action to Treat Non-Veteran Patients 

Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) issued the following statement applauding yesterday’s announcement that the Veterans Administration (VA) will assist New York City’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) by opening 50 beds to non-Veteran patients to ease the burden on local hospitals.

 “We’re at war with the coronavirus and we need all the help and resources we can get,” said Rose. “We drastically need to increase capacity at our hospitals, and utilizing VA facilities in that effort makes sense and is the right thing to do. As a veteran myself who strongly supports the VA’s mission, calling for the VA to embark on its Fourth Mission isn’t something I proposed lightly, but we’re in unprecedented times. I applaud the leadership of the President, Governor, VA, FEMA, and our local hospitals for hearing my calls and taking this action—it will help save lives.”

 VA, which made its decision after determining this action would not negatively impact Veteran care, is opening a total of 50 beds (35 acute care and 15 intensive care unit) to non-Veteran, non-COVID-19 patients to help assist New York City in its COVID-19 response efforts. 

Stringer on Hospital Conditions- Alarming

City Comptroller Scott Stringer

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer released a statement on the conditions of the hospitals during the time of coronavirus crises. 

“The nurses and doctors who are helping NYC to get through the COVID-19 pandemic are true heroes who deserve our utmost gratitude and respect. But the reported conditions in our public hospitals during this unprecedented public health crisis are alarming, and my office is committed to working with the Governor and the Mayor to find answers.

“Our public health system serves families and residents that already face significant barriers to quality health ​care, and our frontline workers can’t take care of us if we fail to protect them.  

“We must ensure that our public hospitals have the funding, protections, resources and support they need, properly managed and coordinated, to protect New Yorkers during these uncertain times – and I am ready to do everything in my power to help,” said Stringer.

Carroll Bill to Eliminate Virus Exclusion form Business Insurance Policies

Robert Carroll
Assemblymember Robert Carroll

Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Ditmas Park) last week introduced legislation, (A-10226), to eliminate the virus exclusion in business interruption insurance policies. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has required businesses across New York State to shut their doors, causing many to lay-off or furlough their employees.  The economic impacts of this pandemic are being felt globally and are especially burdensome on small business owners.  

Many businesses in New York already have business interruption insurance, which is designed to replace income and cover payroll when a disaster such as this COVID-19 pandemic strikes. The problem is that after previous viral outbreaks such as SARS, the insurance industry added viral exclusions to prevent businesses from collecting payment in the midst of a viral outbreak. 

“It is unconscionable that instead of stepping up and helping New Yorkers whose businesses are being wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, that insurance companies are only thinking of their own bottom line and refusing to pay out for business interruption insurance,” said Carroll.

“I have heard from small business owners across New York City who, because they have been paying high business interruption insurance premiums for years, thought they were covered for times like these, but now realize in fact that they’re a victim of a loophole by the insurance industry,” he added.

Perry Slams CDC on Refusal to Provide Testing Equipment to SUNY Downstate

Nick Perry
Assemblymember Nick Perry

Assemblyman Nick Perry (D-East Flatbush) said last week that SUNY Downstate Medical Center stands eager and prepared to help fight the spread of COVID-19, but is being hampered and prevented by a Center for Disease Control (CDC) roadblock.   

To facilitate COVID-19 testing, Downstate is in need of a COBAS 6800 testing machine, which is subject to CDC approval. This equipment would allow Downstate Hospital to test and diagnose over 1500 New Yorkers daily, and facilitate the implementation of the desperately needed drive-thru testing in Central Brooklyn.  Immediate action is necessary, but notwithstanding daily pleadings from Brooklyn leaders, CDC has refused to budge, and has yet to respond to SUNY Downstate’s request, said Perry..

“The people of Brooklyn can’t wait patiently while our neighbors are getting sick and facing death each day. Procurement of the COBAS 6800 would be a great benefit not just to Brooklynites, but to all of New York City, which is America’s epicenter of this global pandemic,” said Perry.

“My colleagues and I are alarmed that there seems to be no understanding of the urgency and seriousness of this situation, that can get the CDC bureaucrats to budge. These individuals who are failing in their duty to act, may already have blood on their hands, and with each passing minute they hurting more and more New York families with their inaction,” he added.