Queens Lawmakers on the Move April 20, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Kim’s Statement on Cuomo’s Response to Nursing Home Deaths

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, and Murray Hill) on Friday called Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order mandating nursing homes to communicate with loved ones a step in the right direction but said more still needs to be done.

Kim’s comments came as nursing homes across the city have seen scores of deaths of the elderly with many working caregivers at these facilities also coming down with Coronavirus. The state Department of Health is charged as the government agency overseeing all nursing homes in the state.

“I appreciate the governor’s staff working with me and sending inspectors onsite to monitor the status of our nursing homes,” said Kim. “But I’m still unclear if these inspections are designed to find solutions and fix the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 at our nursing homes or if they are for optics and damage control. Regardless, what’s clear is that the buck must stop with the one person who asked for total control in New York, and that is Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The governor’s executive order mandating nursing homes to communicate with loved ones is a step in the right direction. I encourage him to go further and direct his agencies to purchase and distribute an abundance of PPEs [Personal Protective Equipment] ASAP to all nursing homes.”

Kim said he will introduce legislation this week with the support of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) in providing immediate measures to protect our vulnerable older adults in nursing and long-term facilities.

Meng Urges Trump to Combat Nursing Home Deaths, Particularly in Queens

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) announced Friday that she sent a letter to President Trump urging him to help combat the high numbers of deaths that are occurring at nursing homes in New York, particularly in Queens, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meng’s correspondence calls on the President to use any means possible to expeditiously manufacture COVID-19 tests, and prioritize them for New York so that local long term care facilities can conduct the testing that is needed. 

Meng also urged the President to increase coronavirus funding for nursing homes, and improve data on COVID-19 cases in these facilities to help contain and mitigate the spread of the virus. In addition, she called for replicating nationally the recent New York State requirement that long term care facilities inform family members of residents within 24 hours of any COVID-19 infections or deaths.

“The deaths at our nursing homes have been tragic and heartbreaking,” said Meng. “The elderly are among our most vulnerable populations. More must be done to protect them and we desperately need help from President Trump and his administration. I implore him to provide the resources that our long term care facilities need, and to do so immediately. I await his reply to my letter.”

Constantinides Applauds Decision Allowing Marriages Amid COVID-19 Crisis

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, parts Woodside, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) on Friday applauded Gov. Cuomo granting his request to suspend the in-person requirement and allow clerks to perform digital civil wedding ceremonies. ,

“Nothing should get in the way of love — not even a pandemic. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for hearing our call to allow couples to marry despite in-person requirements to receive a license,” said Constantinides. 

“There is so much to worry about right now, from fears of contracting coronavirus to struggling to afford rent, that this shouldn’t add to people’s anxiety. That’s especially true as many New Yorkers need their partner’s healthcare coverage and other benefits, which are often only accessible through marriage,” he added. 

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa announced the executive order to let couples access marriage licenses remotely, while clerks will be able to perform ceremonies over video.

Sanders Jr. to Host Virtual Small Business Training Series

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale and parts of Far Rockaway) who is committed to helping business owners experiencing industry disruptions due to the COVID-19 today will hold the second in his virtual forums with experts and solutions needed to help businesses during these challenging times.

In today’s series, the topic will be “Digital Skills for Everyday Tasks,” featuring Angelina Darrisaw, Founder & CEO of C-Suite Coach.

Learn how to manage work and life tasks more effectively using Google tools. Whether you want to build a budget, create a meeting agenda, or organize your priorities, these best practices will boost your productivity.

To view online go to Facebook.com/SenatorJamesSandersJr/ at 4 p.m., today, April 20, or to listen by phone, call (606) 313-6073 and use the Access Code: 748994.

Those who view online on Facebook Live can ask their questions in real-time by typing into the comment box. Those who are listening by phone will not be able to ask questions in real-time but can follow up with Senator Sanders’ Office afterward.

DOHMH, Census Bureau to Brief Queens Borough Board 

Acting Borough President Sharon Lee and the Queens Borough Board today will hear a presentation from the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) on the City’s response and priorities for Queens, the epicenter of the COVID-19 global pandemic.  

The Board will also hear an update from the U.S. Census Bureau on the Census 2020 count that began nationwide on March 12, and the evolving efforts to ensure a full and accurate count in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This meeting is slated for 5:30 p.m., today, April 20 and will be conducted virtually, with Borough Board members participating via WebEx videoconference. The meeting will also be live-streamed to the public on the Borough President’s website at www.queensbp.org/community-boards