This week, we mourn the tragic loss of third-grade Brooklyn teacher Sandra Santos-Vizcaino, the first teacher to die from the new coronavirus. Ms. Santos-Vizcaino taught at P.S. 9 in Prospect Heights, and was described by the community as a generous, talented teacher; an amazing hugger who, over her 25-year career, pushed and supported her students unconditionally.

At least 2,935 people with COVID-19 have died in the state, representing 38 percent of confirmed cases in the U.S.

In the United States, at least 6,600 people have now died from the coronavirus, according to a New York Times database. The death toll has grown six-fold in eight days and now exceeds the number of people known to have died from the virus in mainland China, where the pandemic started in December.

There have been at least 102,863 confirmed cases of the coronavirus discovered in New York state, including more than 57,159 in New York City, considered the “hot spot” of the virus. At least 2,935 people with COVID-19 have died in the state, representing 38 percent of confirmed cases in the U.S.

  • 14,810 people with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized in the state
  • 25,590 cases in New Jersey, with 539 deaths
  • 3,824 cases in Connecticut, with 112 deaths

“[New York has] responded, I think in an extraordinarily powerful way. Admissions are starting to level off due to mitigation,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci

However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the scientific expert at the heart of the White House coronavirus task force, recently praised the COVID-19 response in New York. He said the state “has been hit particularly hard and they’ve suffered greatly. They’ve responded, I think in an extraordinarily powerful way.” He noted that, “admissions are starting to level off due to mitigation.”

There have been a lot of foreign nations, organizations and companies that are donating protective equipment and free services to New York City’s relief effort, including Facebook, Jet Blue, United Airlines, Uber, Lyft, The Met, the singer Rhianna and Louis Vouitton, noted the mayor in his daily address on Friday.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio gives his daily address on coronavirus, 4/3/20

Mayor’s Updates

New Recommendations for Face Covering
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is advising all New Yorkers to cover their noses and mouths using a scarf, bandana, or piece of clothing when in public to reduce the risk of transmission. This recommendation is modeled off a new study from the CDC published April 1st, which outlines the possibility of pre-symptomatic COVID-19 transmission in Singapore.

New Yorkers should not use surgical or N95 masks as face covers. Masks must be preserved for health care workers and first responders.

New Yorkers should continue to practice social distancing measures.

Expanding DOE Meal Hubs to all New Yorkers
To ensure every New York City resident can access nutritious meals, the Department of Education’s Meal Hubs will expand service to include all children and adults across the five boroughs starting on Friday, April 3. Sites will begin grab-and-go adult meal service, serving three meals a day, Monday through Friday. Adults and children can pick up three meals at a time and no adult will be turned away. There is no registration or identification required.

Meal hubs will operate from 7:30 AM- 11:30 AM for children and families and 11:30 AM- 1:30 PM for adults. Since March 16, the Department of Education’s free meals programs have served approximately 1.2 million meals to families and students at over 440 Meal Hubs sites across the city. Meal Hub locations can be found at here or text NYC FOOD to 877-877.

Relief for Small Businesses
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) opens up Friday, April 3rd. The $350 billion federal loan program is open to small businesses or nonprofits with fewer than 500 employee. The program is open on a first come, first serve basis. Those who are interested should apply here.

Stay Informed
Over 800,000 New Yorkers have signed up for the City’s COVID text notification system to get regular updates on the latest developments with coronavirus in New York City text COVID to 692-692.  New Yorkers can text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish. You will receive regular SMS texts with the latest news and developments. If you have any questions on finding medical care call 311.

Go here to read the NYC Department of Health Coronavirus fact sheet.

Outlook in Brooklyn

According to the latest data by the NYC Department of Health, the largest number of cases in Brooklyn so far are in South Brooklyn in the neighborhoods of Borough Park and Bensonhurst. Central Brooklyn is right behind South Brooklyn with cases growing in Crown Heights and Williamsburg.

NYC DOH Latest Data Map of Cases by Zip Code

New York City Department of Health

Brooklyn Zip Codes with the highest number of cases (60%-78%):

11232, 11219, 11230, 11203, 11225, 11213, 11233, 11212, 11236, 11237, 11211

Brooklyn Zip Codes with the fewest cases (25% – 45%):

11215, 11201, 11222

Other news this week included:

Employment
  • The city’s Workforce1 Career Center launched a Virtual Center to help New Yorkers prepare for, and connect to jobs across New York City’s five boroughs and in every sector of the economy.
  • The Unemployment Benefits and Health Insurance FAQ also provides guidance for those recently unemployed due to COVID-19.

Brooklyn Borough President Covid-19: A Rundown and Review

  • The senior center meals program is now 100 percent delivery, rather than grab-and-go. Seniors should call their local senior center for more information if they haven’t already received meals.
  • Per Mayor de Blasio, New York City residents who break social distancing rules will be subject to fines up to $500. Fines of $250 to $500 would begin for people found congregating in public spaces who fail to disperse when ordered, or return after officers have told them to move along.
  • Mental health professionals have signed up to volunteer their services for a FREE hotline. Call (844) 863-9314 for a free appointment.
  • Worried about having to self-isolate in a dangerous home situation? Co-quarantined with an abuser? Please reach out and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  Call 1 (800) 799-7233,  TTY 1 (800) 787-3224, or chat online at thehotline.org.
  • There are 23 fewer Regional Enrichment Centers (REC) sites to maintain sufficient staff, supervision and attendance. If you are a New York City Department of Education staff member interested in volunteering at a REC site to care for the children of New York City’s first responders, health care workers, transit workers, and other key personnel, fill out the application here. The Regional Enrichment Centers include children of grocery, pharmacy workers, the Staten Island Ferry, NYC Water Ferry, water/sewer personnel, and other essential staff. To enroll a child in a REC site, fill out the application here.
  • New York City needs your medical ventilators, old or new, not in use. Please let us know here if you have any. If you have face shields, gloves, gowns, or anything that might help to donate/volunteer, go to nyc.gov/donate.
  • Numerous businesses have reached out about how they can provide support. The City launched this intake form and a designated hotline (833-NYC-0040) for local businesses that have resources to offer that can potentially support the COVID-19 emergency response effort.
  • In line with New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommendations, NYC Health + Hospitals is no longer testing patients for COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization. If you are sick with fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat, you must stay inside and isolate yourself from others. Isolate yourself for at least seven days from when your symptoms started. You must also be without fever during the last three days of your isolation. Please only go to the emergency room if you are severely ill.
  • The City has created a new, online portal that will allow New Yorkers to self-report COVID-19 data, helping the City to communicate with affected members of the public and assist in the identification of areas that may require an enhanced response. By going online or calling 311, New Yorkers can quickly input information about themselves and legal guardians can add information for children or adults in their care. New Yorkers can update their status at any time through the Portal or by calling 311. The Portal is available in 11 languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu. It is not intended as a mechanism for providing medical advice or treatment, and should not be relied upon as a method to obtain medical care or emergency service. Personal information will be stored securely and only accessible to City employees protecting public health. It will not be accessible by ICE, or used for law enforcement or any other purpose.
  • Governor Cuomo announced “Matilda’s Law” to protect New York’s most vulnerable populations, including individuals age 70 and older, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying illnesses through specified requirements: Stay home and limit home visitation to immediate family members or close friends in need of emergency assistance. If visitors are necessary, they should be prescreened for high temperatures and flu-like symptoms.
  • Per Governor Cuomo, 100 percent of a non-exempt essential service business’s workforce should stay home. Guidelines on what essential services must still be in person can be found here. A halt on all non-essential public gatherings is in effect.
  • After an initial warning, the NYPD will be enforcing the suspension of religious services and will impose fines and other penalties, including building closure, on those who are not adhering to the guidance.
  • Governor Cuomo announced the closure of all New York City playgrounds today, though parks will remain open for the time being.
  • Banks will waive mortgage payments for 90 days and suspend foreclosures. Eligibility is based on financial hardship. Late payment fees and ATM overdraft fees are also suspended. All student loan interest has been suspended.
  • Tax Day has been pushed back from Wednesday, April 15th to Wednesday, July 15th. This is an extension for federal tax returns; we have also called for an extension of state tax returns. As per Mayor de Blasio, all tax lien sales will be postponed from May until at least August.
  • The US Census Bureau has suspended all 2020 Census field operations until Wednesday, April 1st; please fill out the Census online and #MakeBrooklynCount.
  • The Employee Retention Grant for small businesses with four or fewer employees is now available and includes space for you to add March’s revenue.  Information and eligibility can be found here. Additionally, loans are available for small businesses affected by COVID-19, the application can be accessed here. The Small Business Continuity Fund will offer financial assistance to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for loans of up to $75,000, to help retain employees and ensure business continuity.
  • The US Treasury has just released guidelines for the new Paycheck Protection Program that awards small businesses with less than 500 employees seeking COVID-19-related relief with forgivable loans toward job retention and certain other expenses.
  • We are partnering with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to get businesses the relief they deserve amid the pandemic. Join the Small Business Hotline via the Brooklyn App.
  • Per Governor Cuomo, the statewide school shutdown will be extended through at least Wednesday, April 15th. New York City public schools are remote learning. The NYC Department of Education will provide computers and internet access to every student who needs it. Call (718) 935-5100 (press 5). Parents and guardians of students with disabilities can send questions to specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov.
  • School sites are open for grab-and-go meals this week, from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM, outside of main entrances of every school building. Go to schools.nyc.gov, or text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 for lists of where meals are being served.
  •  CUNY distance learning will resume on Thursday, April 2nd.
  • For veterans and their families, the NYC Veterans Alliance has a list of resources on their website.
  • MTA buses and subways remain open, and the NYC Ferry system and Staten Island Ferry will continue to operate. MTA buses are rear-door boarding-only, with exceptions for disabled riders. On local buses, that means no more fare collection. Regular fare policy remains in effect wherever on-board payment boxes or SBS off-board ticket machines continue to be accessible.
  • MTA NYC Transit has revised service in Brooklyn to maintain essential service and mitigate overcrowding: The X37/X38 express routes have a 30 minute headway, the X27/X28 will start an hour earlier beginning at 6:00 AM, and the B82 Select Bus Service (not operating on Sundays) will have reduced headway.
  • Alternate Side Parking (ASP) is suspended through Tuesday, April 14th. Parking meters are still in effect. Rideshares and carpools have been banned by executive order.  With the exception of families, there can only be one passenger per vehicle.
  • The City is recruiting TLC-licensed drivers through DeliveryTLC to help with work related to COVID-19, such as delivering food to older adults. This work will be paid $15/hour plus reimbursement for gas and tolls. Drivers will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. The initial need for drivers will be small, but they expect it to increase as they expand the programs.
  • The NYC Department of Buildings is fining and shutting down non-essential construction sites, which were ordered to close on Friday, March 27th unless the project is an emergency project necessary to protect the health and safety of the occupants, or if shutting down the site would create unsafe conditions. In addition, essential construction may continue and such construction includes roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters.
  • All Brooklyn Public Library branches are closed until further notice, visit their website for virtual story-times and cultural programming.
  • A statewide eviction moratorium is currently in effect, including residential and commercial properties as well as foreclosures, according to the Office of Court Administration. The City will work with the State to suspend the Rent Guidelines Board process for the coming year, which will maintain all regulated rents at their current level for 2.3 million tenants in nearly one million stabilized units across the city.
  • Utilities have been ordered to not shut off service for gas, water, or electricity. Internet services will not be cut off during this time.
  • If you see price gouging, report it to 1 (800) 697-1220, fill out the complaint form on the New York State Attorney General’s website, or email askeric@brooklynbp.nyc.gov.

Finally, if you are feeling sick, please wait three to four days before contacting a doctor. Use telemedicine services BEFORE going to the doctor’s office, urgent care, or the ER. Thanks to our advocacy and Governor Cuomo’s leadership, co-pays for telemedicine consultations have been eliminated due to COVID-19. For urgent care telemedicine, utilize NewYork-PresbyterianMount Sinai, or NYU Langone. For mental health telemedicine, reach out to Columbia Doctors. For diabetes telemedicine, reach out to NYC Health + Hospitals. If you know of other NYC services, email askeric@brooklynbp.nyc.gov.


*Thank you to the office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo for contributing much of the updated information in this list. For more updates and resources, you can visit the BP’s coronavirus online update here.


This coverage of coronavirus is a special to BK Reader. We are asking for your help in keeping our coverage and database current with any helpful references and news tips. Please send all tips to covid19@bkreader.com. With your help, Brooklyn will emerge stronger and more unified as a borough. Thank you.

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