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COVID Newsletters

Weekly COVID newsletter (5/13)


It’s Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

At press time,’s COVID-19 tracker shows Manhattan has 22,889 confirmed cases and 2,629 probable deaths; New York City as a whole has 185,206 cases and 20,316 deaths.

This morning, the Gotham Gazette published my op-ed with Brooklyn Council Member Antonio Reynoso: “New York City Must Keep and Expand Organics Collection, It’s an Essential Service.” I was proud to join him and Council Member Keith Powers this morning for a press call announcing the introduction of two bills that would preserve community composting for organics and introduce procedures for green disposal of inorganics like textiles and electronics.

This Friday (5/15), at 3:30 pm, I will be hosting a virtual Town Hall calling for enough city funding for one social worker in each public school. I’ve been pushing for this for some time, and we’ve never needed to provide mental health care more than in the aftermath of this pandemic. Our schoolchildren deserve it.

Co-sponsored by NYU’s McSilver Institute and the Greater NY Chapter of the Links, panelists will include Jasmin Berrios, LCSW at the Partnership with Children, David Garza, President of the Henry Street Settlement; Hilary Kopple, LCSW at the  International High School at Union Square; Dr. Michael Lindsey, Executive Director of NYU’s McSilver Institute; and Council Member Mark Treyger who chairs the Council’s Education Committee.

Please join us at 3:30 pm next Friday, May 15, 2020 for a lively discussion. Register for the Zoom session here.

Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have named many advisory bodies composed of stakeholders and experts working to determine best practices as we adapt to a “new normal.” There are, literally, hundreds of names, so I’ve made an all-in-one blog post listing the composition of every advisory body I’ve heard of on my office website here.

The Associated Press has now obtained the complete 63-page Centers for Disease Control (CDC) document advising on how to safely reopen businesses and institutions that I wrote about in last Friday’s (5/8) newsletter. Here is a link to that complete 63-page document, and here is a link to that followup AP story.

Today the Mayor announced an expansion to the city’s Open Streets program, which will allow more New Yorkers to move around while safely social distancing. Temporary protected bike lanes will also open on Broadway in the Financial District and on 38th and 39th streets going crosstown. In Manhattan the open streets total just over 5 miles, with 4 additional miles of protected bike lanes. The open streets locations in Manhattan include:

  • 115th Street in East Harlem

  • 13th, 17th, and Little West 12th Streets in the Meatpacking District

  • Hudson Boulevards East and West in Hudson Yards

  • West End Ave and 75th Street on the Upper West Side

  • 114th Street in Harlem

  • Edgecombe Ave by Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem

New swab testing sites (for those who suspect they are infected) are now open for appointments at churches, noted below, sponsored by NYS and run in partnership with Northwell Health. The remainder of the list is also included here; only the City site in Manhattanville conducts antibody testing (for those who believe they have already recovered from the virus).

  • NEW (swab only): H&H at Saint Nicholas Houses, 218 West 127 St. The site takes walk-ins, but NYCHA residents take priority. Call (844) NYC-4NYC for more information.

  • NEW (swab only): Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 West 138 St. Call (833) 422-7369 to make an appointment.

  • NEW (swab only): Convent Avenue Baptist Church, 420 West 145 St. Opens next week; (833) 422-7369.

  • NEW (swab only): Mount Neboh Baptist Church, 1883 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. Opens next week; (833) 422-7369.

  • Manhattanville Renaissance Health Center (antibody testing only), 21 Old Broadway, NY NY 10027. Make an appointment online here; those without internet access can call (888) 279-0967.

  • Somos Community Center, 2360 Amsterdam Ave at 177 St. 12 noon – 4 pm M-F. (888) 364-3065

  • Sydenham/H&H, 264 West 118 Street, NY NY 10026 9am-3:30pm M-F. (212) 932-6500

  • Gouverneur/H&H, 227 Madison St., NY NY 10002 9 am – 3:30 pm M-F. (212) 238-7897

  • Ryan Health Center, 2381 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (at 128 St) NY NY 10027. M-F, 9 am – 12 noon; 1 -4:40 pm. (888) 364-3065.

  • Dyckman Clinica Las Americas, 25-99 Dyckman St (at Nagle), NY NY 10040 M-F 8:30 am. (844) NYC-4NYC

  • The Institute for Family Health/Family Health Center of Harlem, 1824 Madison Ave. (at 119 St), NY NY. Sat. and Sun. only. (844) NYC-4NYC

There are also walk-in urgent care centers providing testing for those willing to pay a copay. A location search tool from Northwell Health can be found here, and one from CityMD can be found here.

Tomorrow (5/14) at 2 pm, join the Marlene Meyerson JCC for a conversation from their Justice in Action series discussing the effects of the pandemic on education led by former Borough President and my good friend Ruth Messinger, featuring Council Member Brad Lander, Brotherhood/Sister Sol co-founder Khary Lazarre-White, and EduColor co-founder Jose Luis Vilson. RSVP here.

Tomorrow (5/14) at 7 pm, join State Senator Liz Krueger and Dr. Charles Platkin, Executive Director of Hunter College’s NYC Food Policy Center, for a virtual town hall on food safety and security. Stream the event live on Facebook.

Tomorrow (5/14) at 7 pm, the Theater for the New City presents a live reading of Alberto Ferreras’s “Hamlet in Harlem.” Stream live on the Theater’s YouTube and their website.

Tomorrow (5/14) at 7 pm, Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC and Los Herederos are hosting a virtual dance party to raise funds for immigrant families affected by COVID-19. Learn more and register here.

Yesterday’s (5/12) contact tracing panel with Columbia University and Congressman Nadler was a great success; thanks to all who joined us. If you missed it, the video of our full conversation is available here.

Even though New York City is on pause, new affordable housing is still becoming available. One opportunity is at Roosevelt Island’s River Walk Park, currently accepting applications here until July 6, 2020; available units and income requirements are posted here. For help with applying to affordable housing, please check out HPD’s resource guide, “Ready, Set, Apply!” (Click here for English (PDF)– or here for other languages.)

Those needing assistance with housing subjects can call the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants by asking for them at 311. You can also reach the New York Legal Assistance Group’s COVID-19 hotline, available from 10 am – 1 pm Monday-Friday at (929) 356-9582.

The City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) launched its Driver Resource Center yesterday (5/12), offering drivers services including legal services, financial counseling, health and mental health referrals, and support with applying for public benefits.

Johns Hopkins has launched a free six-hour online course to train contact tracers to help slow the spread of COVID-19, developed in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies. Register for the course on Coursera.

May is Lower East Side History Month; FABnyc has launched, a central platform for celebrating the area’s history and submitting research and anecdotal information relating to public health and community resilience.

An updated map listing locations and dates for face mask distributions in parks can be found here. My office doesn’t control the timing or locations of these distributions, and scheduled dates may be cancelled or postponed due to inclement weather.

For those concerned about leaving their homes (e.g. older, immunocompromised and/or disabled New Yorkers) you can request to have masks shipped to you using this form from the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

I was proud to partner with the City’s “food czar” Kathryn Garcia and FreshDirect to continue delivery of the 10-lb boxes of food to NYCHA developments in Manhattan, on a week-to-week basis, as they were during the Five Borough Food Drive. Today’s delivery was made to Taft Houses. From there, the boxes were distributed to Lehman Village, as well as Clinton, King, Carver, Jefferson, Johnson and Washington.

Please forward these newsletters to anyone you know who would find them useful, or have them subscribe to my enews here or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram.

And please do call me with any urgent problems or concerns: (212) 669-8191.