Saturday, October 24, 2020

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - OCTOBER 24, 2020


Positive Testing Rate in All Focus Zone Areas is 2.58 Percent; New York State Positivity Outside All Focus Zone Areas Included is 1.13 Percent     

Statewide Positivity Rate is 1.31 Percent  

11 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday   

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.   

"As new cases climb across the country, in New York we are continuing our strategy of aggressively targeting micro-clusters whenever they pop up and implementing measures to stop any potential spread quickly," Governor Cuomo said. "We are able to be surgical in our approach because we have developed such large testing and contact tracing programs. The news from around the country is another reminder that while we have come a long way, this pandemic is not over and we must remain vigilant: wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance and be New York Tough. The only way to beat this thing is through compliance of public health law and by taking care of one another." 

The Governor noted that the positive testing rate in all focus areas under the state's Micro-Cluster strategy is 2.58 percent, and outside the focus zone areas is 1.13 percent. Within the focus areas, 19,799 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 511 positives. In the remainder of the state, not counting these focus areas, 137,141 test results were reported, yielding 1,550 positives. 

Today's data is summarized briefly below:   

  • Patient Hospitalization - 1,045 (+22)  
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 152   
  • Hospital Counties - 43  
  • Number ICU - 231 (+8)  
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 113 (+4)  
  • Total Discharges - 78,960 (+106)  
  • Deaths - 11  
  • Total Deaths - 25,718   

New York City Pharmacy Owner Sentenced To 2½ Years In Prison For Committing Multimillion-Dollar Health Care Fraud


 Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that SAJID JAVED, an owner and operator of a number of pharmacies in the New York City area, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for using his pharmacies to submit more than $7.1 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid.  JAVED previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud before U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick, who imposed today’s sentence.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “Sajid Javed fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $7 million for drugs that were never actually dispensed, inducing others to forego their prescription medications in return for kickbacks.  Javed contributed to the multibillion-dollar theft of federally funded public health care subsidies.”

According to the Complaint, the Superseding Information to which JAVED pled guilty, court filings, and statements made in public court proceedings:

While owning and operating a number of pharmacies located in Brooklyn and Queens, JAVED conducted a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid programs by seeking reimbursement for prescription drugs that were not distributed to customers.  Specifically, from January 2013 through December 2014, JAVED obtained more than $7.1 million in reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid for prescription drugs that his pharmacies never actually dispensed to customers.  JAVED defrauded Medicare and Medicaid into providing him with these reimbursements by obtaining prescriptions from other individuals, who were willing to forego delivery of the medications in exchange for a share of the reimbursed proceeds, in the form of kickbacks.  JAVED offered to pay, and did actually pay, kickbacks in furtherance of this scheme.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Broderick sentenced JAVED, 49, of Fresh Meadows, Queens, to three years of supervised release and ordered JAVED to make court-ordered restitution in the amount of $6,040,451.32 to Medicare and $1,150,562.16 to Medicaid, and imposed forfeiture in the amount of $7,191,013.48.

Ms. Strauss praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General.

Attorney General James Issues Voter Protection Guidance Ahead of the November Election


Outlines Legal Prohibitions on Intimidation and Coercive Conduct at Poll Sites; Reminds Voters of Rights  

  Attorney General Letitia James issued guidance to Board of Election offices and law enforcement entities throughout the state to protect New Yorkers from voter intimidation on, and before, Election Day.

“All New Yorkers must be able to exercise their fundamental right to vote without coercion or intimidation,” said Attorney General James. “While voting in New York is safe and secure, I urge anyone who encounters barriers or issues to contact my office immediately. The guidance we are issuing outlines basic protections for voters and serves as a warning that will we not allow anyone to hamper people's access to voting, period.”

Under state and federal law, it is illegal for anyone to intimidate, threaten, or coerce voters with the purpose of interfering with their right to vote. In the guidance, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) highlights the following types of conduct as potentially constituting unlawful voter intimidation:

  • Individuals or groups patrolling outside of polling places and trying to scare people out of the voting line;
  • Poll watchers inside a polling place aggressively challenging large groups of voters, leading to long lines, and creating false fears that voters may be illegally voting;
  • Poll watchers standing in the vicinity of privacy booths, standing in unauthorized areas, videotaping and/or photographing voters within the polling place, following or harassing voters in the polling place;
  • Individuals spreading false rumors or making false statements that there are negative consequences to voting; or
  • Individuals or groups displaying weapons or foreign military uniforms or other military paraphernalia outside of polling locations.

Behavior that has been found to constitute voter intimidation under federal law in the past includes:

  • Threats of violence;
  • Following voters to poll sites and speaking loudly about prosecuting them for illegal voting;
  • Civilians dressing as law enforcement officers and harassing voters at poll sites;
  • Economic coercion, such as threatening to boycott in response to an individual exercising their right to vote;
  • Threatening to evict someone for exercising their right to vote;
  • Patterns of baseless arrests and prosecutions in the vicinity of voter registration meetings; and
  • Publicly disseminating individuals’ names and addresses, or “doxing,” in an effort to vilify those individuals.

The guidance also clarifies that the following actions are prohibited under New York state law:

  • State and local employees interfering with or affecting the election;
  • A member of the United States armed forces preventing, or attempting to prevent, a voter from fully exercising their voting rights through force, threat, intimidation, or advice;
  • Groups of people organizing as private militias without permission from the state;
  • Open carry of handguns, or the possession of machine guns and loaded or unloaded assault weapons, as well as the use of firearms or other dangerous instruments to intimidate or harass;
  • Invading the privacy of a voting booth used by a voter; and
  • Requiring an individual to show photo ID in order to vote.

Additionally, the guidance emphasizes that media and press are allowed to film or take pictures of individuals in the polling place if they have written authorization from BOE. 

If you observe any prohibited conduct, please immediately contact the OAG's Election Protection Hotline by calling 1-800-771-7755 or emailing Any incidents involving potentially dangerous conduct should be reported to local law enforcement immediately.




Annual Halloween Week Observance of Bat Week Raises Awareness to Reduce Human Disturbance to Threatened Bats

 In observance of Bat Week, an internationally recognized weeklong focus to raise awareness about the important role bats play in our environment, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today urged outdoor adventurers to avoid visiting caves and mines that may serve as seasonal homes for hibernating bats. Human disturbance is especially harmful to the State's bat populations since the arrival of the disease known as white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has killed more than 90 percent of bats at hibernation sites in New York.

"Exploring caves can be a fun adventure, but it can lead to disaster for New York's bat populations," Commissioner Seggos said. "Hibernating bats are highly susceptible to even the quietest cave visits. If disturbed, bats will temporarily increase their metabolism and expend significantly more energy than normal, making them more susceptible to disease. During hibernation months, it’s better and safer for visitors to stay out of caves altogether, but if you do come across hibernating bats in a cave, I urge you to leave quickly and quietly.”

DEC reminds the public to follow all posted notices restricting access to caves and mines. When bats are disturbed during hibernation it forces them to raise their body temperature, depleting fat reserves. This stored fat is the only source of energy available to the bats until the weather warms in spring.

Bat Week is observed through Oct. 31, and is organized by representatives from conservation groups and government agencies in the United States and Canada. 

Two species of bats are currently protected under federal and State endangered species law. The Indiana bat, which is sparsely distributed across New York, is a federally endangered bat listed before white-nose syndrome began affecting bat populations. The northern long-eared bat is protected as a threatened species under federal and New York State Endangered Species law. The current population for this formerly common bat is approximately one percent of its previous size, making the species the most severely affected by white-nose syndrome. Nonetheless, northern long-eared bats are still widely distributed in New York and their presence has been documented in most of the state’s 100 or so caves and mines that serve as bat hibernation sites.

Anyone entering a northern long-eared bat hibernation site from Oct. 1 through April 30, the typical hibernation period for bats, may be subject to prosecution.

There is currently no treatment for bats suffering from white-nose syndrome. Along with the New York State Department of Health, DEC is partnering with researchers from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and experts at several universities across the country to better understand the disease and develop a treatment. This collaborative effort helped identify that reducing disturbances at hibernation sites during the winter can help the remaining animals survive. For more information about white-nose syndrome, visit the White-Nose Syndrome Response Team website. Details about the protection of the northern long-eared bat can be found on DEC's website.  

Friday, October 23, 2020


Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the launch of the New York City Election Observers Corps, a volunteer effort to bolster voter protection efforts across the city. 


“The right to vote must be protected. That is a core, fundamental responsibility of any government,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The Election Observer Corps will add to the efforts of invaluable community groups that have worked for years to ensure voters know their rights. Voter intimidation is a crime and we will stand united together as a City to protect voters.”

The NYC Election Observers Corps will recruit civically-minded New Yorkers to be trained by DNYC and the Law Department to serve as volunteer, non-partisan observers outside poll sites throughout the city. On Election Day, November 3rd, volunteer observers will be available to direct voters to relevant voter assistance hotlines and notify appropriate channels about any instance of voter intimidation, suppression, or harassment.

NYC Election Observers Corps volunteers will report instances of voter intimidation to a group of central staff, who will coordinate with law enforcement, the State Attorney General and the Board of Elections as needed. DNYC will lead the effort and will coordinate with other non-partisan election protection operations where appropriate. 

Early voting starts TOMORROW - 10 AM - 4 PM


Listed below are the dates and times for Early Voting, and the 16 poll sites in the Bronx, for the November 3, 2020 General Election

 Early Voting Days and Hours 

 Saturday, October 24, 2020 

 10 AM to 4 PM 

 Sunday, October 25, 2020 

 10 AM to 4 PM 

 Monday, October 26, 2020 

 7 AM to 3 PM 

 Tuesday, October 27, 2020 

 12 PM to 8 PM  

 Wednesday, October 28, 2020 

 12 PM to 8 PM 

 Thursday, October 29, 2020 

 10 AM to 6 PM  

 Friday, October 30, 2020 

 7 AM to 3 PM  

 Saturday, October 31, 2020 

 10 AM to 4 PM 

 Sunday, November 1, 2020 

 10 AM to 4 PM 

Bronx Early Voting Poll Sites 


  Andrew Freedman Home 

 1125 Grand Concourse 10452 

 Bronx County Supreme Court House 

 851 Grand Concourse 10451 

 JHS 45 Thomas C. Giordano 

 2502 Lorillard Place 10458 

 Claremont Neighborhood Centers 

 489 East 169th Street 10456 

 Bronx Regional High School 

 1010 Rev James A Polite Avenue 10459 

 Bronx River Community Center 

 1619 East 174th Street 10472 

 Columbus High School 

 925 Astor Avenue 10469 

 InTech Academy -MS/HS 368 

 2975 Tibbett Avenue 


 St. Frances de Chantal Church 

 190 Hollywood Avenue 10465 

 Truman High School 

 750 Baychester Avenue 10475 

 Saint Anthony Church 

 4505 Richardson Avenue 10470 

 Butler United Methodist Church 

 3920 Paulding Avenue 10466 

 Justice Sonia Sotomayor Community Center 

 1000 Rosedale Avenue 10472 

 Stevenson High School 

 1980 Lafayette Avenue 10473 

 Monroe College 

 2501 Jerome Avenue 10468 

 Tremont United Methodist Church 

 1951 Washington Avenue 10457