The COVID Crisis: Mayor Bill de Blasio Demands Help From Federal Government

March 19, 2020

Mayor de Blasio updated New Yorkers today on the City’s response efforts to COVID-19. To ensure the City’s frontline healthcare workers are able to adequately treat COVID-19, the Mayor has demanded the federal government replenish the City’s critical medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPEs).

“From the very beginning, New York City has been fighting COVID-19 with one hand tied behind our back,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We cannot leave our healthcare workers vulnerable, and we need the federal government to step up and give our frontline workers the tools they need to save lives all across our City.”

Citywide, there are 3,954 positive cases of COVID-19 and 26 fatalities. Currently there are 1,042 cases in Queens, 1,038 in Manhattan, 1,195 in Brooklyn, 496 in the Bronx, and 179 in Staten Island.

Critical Medical Supplies for Frontline Workers

Mayor de Blasio has sent two formal requests to the Secretary for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, calling upon him to take certain actions to increase New York City’s supply of critical medical equipment. The requests are:

· A full activation of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in fighting COVID-19 by providing available beds, staffing support, and medical and safety supplies.

· A replenished stock of personal protective equipment and medical supplies by April:

  • 3 million N95 masks
  • 50 million surgical masks
  • 15 thousand ventilators
  • 45 million of each of the following: surgical gowns, coveralls, gloves, and face shields. ‘

The letters can be viewed online here.

Update on the City Jail Population

To ensure the health and safety of the City’s jail population, Mayor de Blasio, in partnership with the NYPD and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal justice, has compiled a list of 40 detainees for release who are high risk for COVID-19 related complications and low risk for re-offending. The list is currently pending the approval of the five City District Attorneys.

City Workforce

DCAS will implement an order today to direct agencies to have all employees who are not assigned to perform essential services to work from home. This will allow up to an estimated 250,000 city employees to telecommute. These employees may be called on to perform essential services as needed.

Every agency will take immediate steps to further determine and refine which services it provides that are essential. Essential services generally include responding to the COVID-19 emergency; lifesaving services; life-protecting services that relate to transportation, utility and other critical infrastructure; and workforce and internal service continuity.

Update on Healthcare Worker Recruitment

After the announcement of earlier this week, over 1,700 medical providers have signed up to aid the City’s response efforts to COVID-19.

Nearly 700,000 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.

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