Adams Outraged Over Treatment of Burial Process
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams yesterday stood outside the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in Manhattan to demand wide-reaching reforms to the way the bodies of those who pass from COVID-19 are handled and buried.
Adams’ demand follows numerous reports from funeral home directors across the city indicating that bodies are being stored with little regard for the dignity of the deceased, causing added pain for their loved ones.
Adams urged the city and state to mandate more appropriate policies for morgues and cemeteries to handle the dramatic rise in fatalities as COVID-19 continues to ravage New York, so that families can lay their loved ones to rest in a timely and respectful manner.
“COVID-19 has placed an incredible strain on our public health system unlike anything we have faced in recent history. But even a public health crisis of this magnitude should not get in the way of treating the deceased with basic dignity. These aren’t just pieces of flesh; these are our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, loved ones. We need to build out a system that treats people with respect. We must institute common-sense reforms to make our handling of bodies more respectful, and give families the comfort of a proper, quick burial. The unimaginable pain of losing a loved one should not be compounded by inappropriate handling and burial procedures,” said Adams.
Cumbo Reminds of Sexual Awareness Month
Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Downtown Brooklyn) reminded everyone that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and wants to bring attention the issue of sexual assault across the city and the world.
“I and fellow Women’s Caucus colleagues recently introduced a Reproductive Health Bill package that would increase accessibility to social services and expand our youth sexual education programs within New York City schools. These are vital steps in promoting sexual assault awareness and prevention. We must protect the victims of this violence to the best of our ability through social services. Immigration status should not impede receiving proper health care or victims’ services,” said Cumbo.
“Furthermore, to stop the cycle of violence, we must educate our youth. That is why we are calling on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, a bill that would require comprehensive sexuality instruction for students in grades K through 12. For students to live self-determined lives, free of gendered and racialized violence, their education must include comprehensive sexual education that is culturally relevant, affirming, and inclusive.”
The Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE), is currently conducting programs online. If you would like to register for their upcoming workshop, “Staying Safer: Decreasing Tension in our Homes” please follow this link. For more information or to contact the center, please visit their website here, send them an email at [email protected], or give them a call at (718) 788-1775.
Rose Hosting Live Townhall with Health Expert
U.S. Rep. Max Rose (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) this week will be hosting a live telephone town hall to answer constituents’ questions and give them the latest updates on the work Congress is doing to confront this crisis head-on.
Joining will be a health expert from one of our local hospitals, as well as representatives from the Small Business Administration to help navigate some of the economic relief programs that are available.
“As you may know, Congress also just passed nearly $500 billion in new aid for small businesses, non-profits and hospitals. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. As I said to my colleagues on the House Floor before the vote, this should have happened weeks ago. But now it’s time to move forward and get to work helping those frontline workers who still need us,” said Rose.
Myrie’s Town Hall’s and Updates
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) thanked those who joined last night’s virtual health town hall and announced the upcoming virtual events he has planned.
Virtual Town Halls next week:
- THE FIGHT AHEAD: We’ll talk about what’s next for the state legislature and response to COVID-19 with several of my colleagues from the legislature. It’s called “The Fight Ahead.” Wednesday at 5:30 P.M. More info here and you can submit questions here.
- CONSUMER PROTECTION: How to stay safe from scams and help protect the most vulnerable to predatory behavior. Thursday at 6:00 P.M. (also at our Facebook Live page here.)
Other COVID-19 Updates
Cases and Hospitalizations
- There are now 14,258 currently hospitalized for COVID-19 and we have lost 16,162 New Yorkers statewide since the beginning of the pandemic. The rate of hospitalizations, intubations, and deaths have all continued downward.
Today, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order to send applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters in New York.
Child Care Scholarships
- The state will provide child care scholarships to essential workers. Essential staff whose income is less than 300% of the federal poverty level will be eligible ($78,600 for a family of four), and you can use these scholarships to pay for your existing care arrangement.
- As part of the continued effort to improve conditions at nursing homes, the city is increasing clinical personnel, increasing PPE shipments, and providing further guidance on safety regulations. A new task force will also work with approximately half of all nursing homes to collect data on staffing, PPE, decedent management, and any other needs.
Gounardes Announces Legislation to Strengthen and Expand Unemployment Benefits
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D- Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park ) last week announced he is introducing a package of bills designed to dramatically increase access to unemployment benefits in the wake of massive job loss due to the coronavirus crisis.
The Reduced Hours Unemployment Bill automatically provides eligible businesses with information on the Department of Labor’s shared work program and allows them to enroll retroactively so their employees can receive unemployment benefits for reduced hours.
This will allow New Yorkers who have been furloughed or received reduced hours to stay afloat financially while helping small businesses to maintain jobs until after the crisis subsides. People in a wide variety of fields, including restaurants, retail workers, lawyers and local journalists have been furloughed or had hours reduced since the pandemic began.
The Unemployment Notification Bill requires businesses to inform workers of their eligibility to apply for unemployment if they have not received hours in seven days. Many workers are unaware that they have the right to these benefits even if they have not been laid off.
The Health and Safety Unemployment Eligibility Act allows those 65+ or at especially high risk of complications from Covid-19 or who live with someone in those categories to access unemployment insurance if they have to quit their jobs. Many New Yorkers who are considered essential workers during the Covid-19 crisis may be senior citizens or have underlying conditions that leave them vulnerable to coronavirus.
Unemployment Eligibility with Severance Bill allows New Yorkers to have access to unemployment even if they take a severance or a payout throughout the course of the pandemic.
“Unemployment insurance is the lifeline for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers right now who have found themselves with reduced hours, furloughed or laid off through no fault of their own. We must guarantee that these urgently needed funds reach New Yorkers. These bills prioritize getting working people the funding they need to keep their heads above water in the midst of this devastating crisis,” said Gounardes.