Sunday, May 17, 2020

MAYOR DE BLASIO on COVID-19 - May 17, 2020

 Mayor Bill de Blasio: Happy Sunday to all. Every day I get the honor of watching the people of this city fight back against this disease and it's 8.6 million people working as one. It's really quite extraordinary how much people have banded together to fight this disease as a common front. And what our job is, here at City Hall and all our agencies, is to keep strengthening that fight, giving you more and more tools to fight with, more and more ways to support the efforts that everyday New Yorkers are doing to help us overcome this disease. And one of the things that's been really gratifying, really amazing is all the businesses, all the organizations in the city have stepped up in extraordinary ways to support this fight. We've had some amazing partnerships with the private sector. I've talked to you about over the last few weeks, New Lab and Boyce Technologies, two of the companies that got together to create the ventilators built right here in New York City. Something that was not created here and suddenly it was because of the ingenuity and the commitment of these individuals. All those companies, dozens of companies who got together on5 the Brooklyn Navy Yard and other places to create PPEs, – didn't do them before, they found a way to do it. Right now, in New York City, so many things were being produced to protect our health care heroes, our first responders, everyday New Yorkers because other New Yorkers stepped up, cared, made something happen.

But the biggest challenge throughout from day one has been testing. I don't need to say again how frustrating it’s been that we've never had the partner we needed in the federal government when it came to testing. And this is the central question of this whole dilemma we've been through – where has the testing been? But again, when the federal government doesn't come through, when the international markets don't come through, what do we do? We do it right here in New York City. We make something happen. So, we have a new partnership today that's going to be a difference maker in our effort to get more and more testing to the people of New York City. And the place we turn is to the largest urgent care company in this city, CityMD. And I want to thank everyone at CityMD for their commitment to making something very important happen here. Really appreciate that they've come forward to help this city. They care about this city. They're doing something extraordinary.

So, we've been working over the last few weeks and found a way to come into partnership on a very, very big scale. This is the diagnostic testing, the PCR testing. It will be available at all CityMD sites all around New York City and that's a lot of sites – 123 sites. I'm going to say it again – 123 sites across the five boroughs. We predict to begin, 6,000 tests a day at the sites, 6,000 more tests per day. These are walk-in sites. They're open seven days a week. The hours differ somewhat by site, but basically, it's 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday and Sunday. You can get locations by going to Now, obvious question, does it cost you anything to go get this test? Well, if you have insurance, they'll simply bill your insurance. That's fine. That's easy. If you don't have insurance, CityMD will cover the cost. And I want to thank them for that. That's an extraordinary commitment to the people of this city. They are stepping up and saying, if you don't have insurance, they'll be there for you. And this is consistent with our commitment from day one, whether it's testing or health care, whatever the people of New York City need, we will get it for them regardless of your ability to pay. So, big deal. Thank you, CityMD, big step for the city. And I want everyone to know this now puts us ahead of our goal. We had said we wanted to get the capacity for 20,000 tests per day by Monday, May 25th. I can tell you we have now hit the goal a week early. We are at that capacity now and we're going to keep growing. So, with 20,000 a day, you're almost at 150,000 tests a week. Our goal is to continue to build that rapidly and CityMD’s really helped us take a big step forward.

Now, you need tests and then you need the tracing to go with it. And to do the tracing, we need an army of tracers, and there's also progress on that front as we keep adding more and more contact tracers. We have 500 tracers who have now completed their training and another thousand on top of that have started the Johns Hopkins University training, gold standard training. And again, thanks to Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg Philanthropies for helping us to make this happen and happen quickly. So, in the week of May 24th those who have been trained by Johns Hopkins will go out and do their field training. The field training literally involves preparing for over a hundred different scenarios, getting ready for real life choices that have to be made quickly and then we'll have a thousand tracers ready on the playing field, helping the people of this city by the end of this month. We'll have a group of a hundred tracers that will lead the way starting on May 24th, a week from today. They will start their work in the field doing the case interviews and then hundreds more will join them in the days after that. That first group of a hundred tracers will work with those who have positive at the health + Hospitals testing sites. We believe they’ll be able to trace almost 2,000 cases just between May 24th and June 1st. So, it's going to be a great start, the others coming right behind them. In the next literally two weeks, you're going to see a vast testing and tracing operation come alive like we've never seen before in the city and this is just the beginning.

As I've said, we expect the army of tracers to grow to at least 5,000, could be between 5,000 and 10,000 before this is all over because we want to be able to reach everyone who needs that connection, that support, that ability to find out what's happening in their lives and the people that they are close to it. We need to find those people, get them to the support they need. So, this vast army is coming together very, very quickly and thanks again to everyone involved in this extraordinary test and trace effort. The goal is if someone needs to be in a place other than their home, their home is too crowded, they can't be supported properly in their home, that's what the hotels are for. That's why we have a whole effort, not only to say, okay, we're going to help you evaluate whether you can properly stay in your home, if you've tested positive, if you're symptomatic, to help you figure out if that can work or you need to be someplace else. But if you need to be someplace else, to get you there and get you all the support you need while you are in that setting, getting through the disease, making sure you're not infecting the other people in your life.

This model has shown tremendous impact in many parts of the world. We're going to do it on a grand scale here with all the support that people need and to make that happen by June 1st we're going to have individuals all over the city who are helping everyday New Yorkers who need that facilitation, who need that support to get to a hotel and get all the help that goes with it. And these folks will be our resource navigators. So, we're going to get community-based organizations in all five boroughs to help us do this, who know communities around the city, who understand what people need and how to help them. And with these community-based organizations, we’ll hire between 200 and 300 resource navigators and they'll be the go to people, understand communities of the city, speak the languages of all the communities in the city, understand what their neighbors need. 

So, in these next weeks we're going to reach 140,000 New York City first responders and health care workers with free antibody testing and another 140,000 everyday New Yorkers also with free antibody testing. So, combined, more than a quarter million people will get this testing. New Yorkers in all five boroughs can start signing up for antibody testing right now. It is by appointment only. And remember, it's not just so that you get the results which you deserve and is important, and of course it's free, but on top of that, it helps the medical community and the City of New York to understand better what's happening with this disease here in the city. The survey that's part of this will help us to fight this disease better. So, you'll be helping yourself, but also helping everyone else with the information that will be gleaned from all this testing. So, we have five locations – in the Bronx at 4006 3rd Avenue in Claremont, in Brooklyn at the NYPD Community Center in East New York, which is an amazing facility. I have visited and very, very appreciative to the NYPD for their partnership here. In Manhattan, Manhattanville Health Center, obviously in Manhattanville. In Queens at 3409 Queens Boulevard, Long Island City. In Staten Island, at the St. John Villa Academy in Concord. To make an appointment today, go online, or call (888) 279-0967.

This year for the last few months, blood drives have been disrupted. It's now having a real impact on our blood supply. We need to make a comeback quickly. So, the New York City Blood Center now has only a few days’ supply. We need to make sure that we strengthen that supply. That supply of blood helps all our hospitals, they're not in a position to resupply them until they get more blood from people's donations. Each hospital has some blood on hand as they need it for emergencies, but – and they're all practicing very carefully right now, conservation practices. I know our public hospitals, H + H, are doing this. But unless we have a bigger supply of blood some surgeries cannot move forward. Obviously, things that are immediate and lifesaving will, but others can't until there's more of a blood supply.

So, for all those good people out there, so many of you have said, how can I help, what can I do? Right now, you can help, come forward if you can give blood – and obviously some people cannot, but if you can give blood, we need you to make an appointment today at the New York Blood Center, and this is an appropriate reason to leave home for sure. You'll be helping your fellow New Yorker and helping to keep people safe. You can go online – or call (800) 933-2566. So, again, or (800) 933-2566, something very important you can do right away to help your fellow New Yorker.

Okay, now let's go to a tough issue we've been talking about these last days and every one of us who is a parent, every one of us who has children in our lives, we are really concerned about this pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome. PMIS. The number of cases continues to grow, 137 confirmed now, 66 of those cases, there's a positive test for COVID-19 or antibodies detected. And as I've said for days, we lost a child to this syndrome and we never want to lose another child to it. So, we're doing a huge outreach effort citywide. We're coordinating with health care providers and particularly pediatricians all over the city. We want to make sure that there's constantly the latest information flowing to our Department of Health, learning what we can about the demographic dynamics of this disease so we can act more quickly. 

So, there’s obviously a huge interest in the beaches and the State of New York has said that different localities can make different choices and some are deciding in the metropolitan area to open beaches for Memorial Day, the traditional start of the beach season. I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again we are not opening our beaches on Memorial Day. We are not opening our beaches in the near term. It is not safe. It is not the right thing to do in the epicenter of this crisis. So, that decision I did not make lightly. We thought long and hard about it but continuing to watch our indicators which don’t have us where we need to be yet, we are going to be very smart and careful about this. So, what’s going to happen is we are going to take it week and day at a time to figure out where we’re going. I’ve never ruled out the possibility of beaches being open later in the summer but we’re not ready yet. And the scene you see there, that is a typical beach day when things are normal in New York City. That cannot happen anytime soon and that’s what we’re guarding against. Because right there you can see a lot of people in danger and a lot of spread of the disease and we’re not going to let that happen after all the progress we’ve made, you’ve made fighting back this disease. We’re not taking that chance.

And by the way, that’s just the beach. Imagine the scene on the A train with people going out to the Rockaways or any other train where people go to the beach, or the buses. We’re not going to allow that crowding to happen. So, the word is no, not yet, not now, beaches are not open for swimming. They’re not open for all the normal things people do in beach season. So, there will not be swimming, it will not be allowed. There will not be lifeguards on duty. We’re going to treat this immediate phase the way we do through the times of year when beaches are not open. For now, we’re going to leave it the way it is that if someone wants to, from the local community, walk on the beach, that’s okay. We’re going to let that happen for now but if we start to see people congregating, if we start to see people swimming, if we start to see people doing things that literally go against everything we’ve talked about in terms of health and safety, then we will take further measures. We’re putting fencing in and in reserve that could close off the beaches if needed. It’s certainly not something I want to do or my team here at City Hall wants to do. I know the Parks Department doesn’t want to do it. But we will be ready if we have to.

So, what you’ll see in the coming days is fencing put in place, ready to be implemented. In the meantime, a lot of NYPD presence, a lot of Parks Department presence and you could go, everyday New Yorkers from the neighborhoods around the beach, just like you are now, you want to walk along the beach or sit on the beach for a while, fine. No swimming, no parties, no sports, no gatherings. We’re going to give people a chance to get it right, and I believe in New Yorkers, I believe in everything you’ve done. If people don’t get it right, if we start to see a lot of violation of those rules, up will come the fences closing off those beaches. No one wants that but we’re ready to do it if that’s what it takes to keep people safe. In the meantime, we will prepare for better times. We don’t know the day yet when in the future we might be able to open the beaches the right way, we will have our lifeguards trained and ready, we will be ready for that eventuality. But we are not there yet.

Let me do the daily indicators and again, this kind of makes the point progress but still not enough progress. Yesterday, we definitely had a good day, but not a perfect day because two indicators down, one indicator up, but only by a little today. A good day. Still not a perfect day, but definitely a good day. Two indicators down, one unchanged. So indicator one daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19 unchanged 77 to 77. Number two, daily number of people in ICU across Health + Hospitals for suspected COVID-19 down and down in a very big way. This is really, this piece of the news is just playing good news and very important for all those folks fighting for their lives down from 506 to 469 and the percentage of people are testing positive for COVID-19 down from 13 percent to 11 percent so a good day, particularly in terms of ICU, but we want even better days and we want to see him strong together consistently. 

No comments:

Post a Comment