Mayor De Blasio Provides Updates On New York City’s Covid-19 Response
Update provided on midday March 5, 2020 from the Office of the Mayor of New York
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today updated New Yorkers on the City’s response efforts regarding COVID-19. As community transmission increases, the Mayor is reminding New Yorkers to take basic precautions while going about their lives: wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, stay home if you are sick and call your doctor if you experience the following symptoms: fever, cough and/or shortness of breath.
“As New York City continues to see more cases, I am reminding New Yorkers to remain vigilant, but not alarmed,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are continuing to do everything in our power to keep New Yorkers safe and healthy, and are asking our federal partners to help us increase testing capacity so we can get the job done faster.”
Travel, Testing and Self-Isolation:
The Department of Health is asking New Yorkers who return from the following countries to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution: China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan.
In addition, the Health Commissioner has ordered any educator, healthcare worker, or first responder employed by the City of New York, New York City Department of Education, and the New York City Health + Hospitals Corporation who the Department determines presents a danger of infection to others, in accordance with accepted public health guidelines or information about the contagious period of COVID-19 shall submit to testing for COVID-19 by the Department or a medical professional. Criteria can be found here.
The Commissioner may order any educator, healthcare worker or first responder required to be tested by this order who declines to submit for such testing to self-quarantine at home, or such other location determined by the Department, until such date as the Department determines such person no longer presents a potential danger of infection to others, in accordance with accepted public health guidelines or information about the contagious period of COVID-19.
The Department of Health is monitoring 2773 New Yorkers for home isolation, as of this morning.
The Mayor has called on the federal government to provide more test kits to increase the City’s testing capacity and allow private companies to develop alternative, automated testing approaches for COVID-19.
Department of Education Updates:
The Department of Education has sent principals updated guidance regarding cleaning, travel, and symptomatic staff and student protocol. If a student is symptomatic while in school, they will be separated from other students and their parents will be notified to pick them up. If a staff member is symptomatic, they will be advised to leave work and go to the doctor. Additional guidance is being shared with schools including: ensuring adequate supplies via communication with building managers, daily announcements on PA systems for staff and students, identifying private rooms within schools to isolate staff or students who may present symptoms, and advising students and teachers to remain home and contact a doctor if sick.
Police Department Updates:
Four NYPD officers have self-isolated since returning from the following four countries: China, Italy, Iran, and Japan. All four are asymptomatic and have not been back to their precincts since returning to the United States.
Fire Department Updates:
The FDNY Incident Management Team has been activated. IMTs are federally trained teams of first responders responsible for overseeing large-scale long-duration incidents and emergencies. The FDNY IMT consists of more than 180 FDNY members from all ranks in the Department with specialized training in incident command, rescue operations, logistics and planning.
One team will assist New York City Emergency Management with their creation of an Incident Action Plan regarding COVID-19. A second team will assist in the planning and development of a strategy associated with COVID-19 for the FDNY.
Department Of Correction / Correctional Health Updates:
In order to protect the safety and wellbeing of all those living and working in DOC custody, DOC, in partnership with CHS, is proactively walking through various emergency scenarios designed to test our readiness, identify vulnerabilities, and remedy issues before they have a chance to occur.
All DOC housing units, dayrooms, and common spaces are cleaned and sanitized once per day with shower areas cleaned three times per day.
Transport buses will be cleaned and sanitized daily. Any transport bus that is transporting a person who is symptomatic of a respiratory illness will be sanitized immediately after transporting that individual. DOC’s environmental health unit is providing additional sanitation and sanitization training to all institutional aids and sanitation work details.
Any uniformed staff member who shows up to work with respiratory ailments will be sent home and required to provide a doctor’s note with clearance of COVID-19 or flu in order to return. Staff have also been instructed to refer any person in custody who is exhibiting respiratory symptoms to CHS for evaluation.
Administration for Children Services Updates:
ACS is revising and recirculating emergency protocols for each of the three ACS-operated congregate facilities (Children’s Center, Crossroads Juvenile Center, Horizon Juvenile Center). ACS has developed and is implementing an infectious disease protocol for our three congregate care facilities. ACS has also disseminated DOHMH COVID-19 guidance to all 34 ACS borough locations and ensuring that these locations (including the three congregate care facilities) have adequate cleaning supplies and protective equipment.
Staten Island Ferry:
Ferry crews are conforming to cleaning schedules similar to the MTA and ensure that each ferryboat is subject to deep cleaning of all surfaces and touch points once every 72 hours.
DOT ferry terminals are cleaned around the clock and we are preparing for supplemental cleaning on the boats throughout the day. In addition, they will continue with cleaning regime in all public areas of the terminals. DOT crews have also been handing out flyers at the Whitehall terminal to educate people on the virus.
NYC Ferry crews are cleaning and servicing each vessel daily and are performing hourly inspections of high use areas such as restrooms and concession areas. As an additional precautionary measure, crews will wipe down these high use areas regularly. In addition, graphics advising hand washing and cough covering will go up on the digital screens inside all NYC Ferry vessels, as well as messaging on social media.
Housing Preservation and Development / Housing Development Corporation Updates:
The City’s housing agencies, Housing Preservation and Development and the Housing Development Corporation, have shared the most up-to-date information from the Department of Health with all of the buildings they touch through their many programs, including 1.5 million homes in privately owned housing, serving approximately 3.75 million New Yorkers.
Department for the Aging Updates:
DFTA has issued a third guidance to all City contracted and non-contracted senior providers on cleaning and readiness. DFTA is also developing a plan to visit over 600 senior congregate settings weekly to ensure implementation of congregate setting protocols. DOHMH, DFTA, NYCHA, HPD, HDC, NYCEM, and PEU are having daily meetings regarding the City’s elderly population.
Human Resources Administration / Department of Homelessness Services Updates:
HRA distributed educational materials on safe hygiene practices to their community partner and provider network. DHS convened shelter medical directors to discuss homeless shelter guidance and protocols to inform planning for shelter preparedness.
If New Yorkers Experience Discrimination:
The City Commission on Human Rights is monitoring and responding to potential bias incidents due to fear and stigma around COVID-19 which may manifest themselves as harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, nation of origin, or other protected classes under the NYC Human Rights Law. The Commission has a dedicated East Asian Communities Liaison with strong community relationships who is in constant communication with community members across the city. If you experience any discrimination, dial 311 and ask for the Commission on Human Rights.