NYSAC Special Bulletin  

Between the Legislature and COVID-19, news is breaking at a pace like we’ve never experienced — and it all directly ties to the work New York’s counties are doing. To help keep you as updated as possible, NYSAC will be sending out daily “Special Bulletins.”

COVID-19 By the Numbers  

Numbers as of 10:48 AM: we have 4,15 total positive, and of this total of 777 hospitalized (19%)
  • 7,584 new tests; total tested across NYS is 22,284. 
Latest State Action 
This morning Governor Cuomo announced the state is w orking with banks to waive mortgage payments by 90 days without a negative effect on credit, postpone foreclosures, and waive fees for overdrafts, ATM fees.

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order directing non-essential businesses to implement work-from-home policies effective Friday, March 20. Businesses that rely on in-office personnel must decrease their in-office workforce by 50 percent.

UPDATE: This morning Governor revised the number of non-essential employees who must work from home to 75%.

Exemptions from the order will include shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions.

Retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys to close by 8 PM Thursday in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
NYSAC Releases Economic Impact Report  
Yesterday we released a new report suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic could have a $1 billion economic impact on counties across the state.

Our report covers two economic impact scenarios: one with mild recession and a quick recovery, and the second assumes a more severe and prolonged recession. The range of impact moves from a $350 million loss in local sales tax revenue to more than $1 billion, respectively. The report's estimates do not account for the local workforce related revenue losses, and the costs associated with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our analysis indicates that local taxpayers will face challenges on four separate fronts at a time when we are fighting the coronavirus outbreak. The first will be an increased demand for health and human services during a recession, the second is a loss in critical local sales tax revenues we use to fund state and local services delivered in our community, the third will come in the form of looming cuts from the state budget, and the fourth will be further reductions in local quality of life services.

NYSAC will continue to update this information as the situation develops. 

Senate Passes and President Signs Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 6201 by a margin of 90-8. The President signed the legislation last night. The legislation throws the state a Medicaid fiscal lifeline of between $5 and $7 billion (depending on how long this crisis lasts). 

The bill also includes provisions to preserve the existing eFMAP statutory language and codifies congressional intent to share a portion of these savings with county government.

Federal Government Activates Military in COVID-19 Response

President Trump announced Wednesday he will invoke the Defense Production Act, which would allow the administration to force American industry to ramp up production of medical supplies that are in short supply in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals and states have pleaded with the administration for more supplies to protect doctors and nurses on the front lines of the pandemic.

President Trump has also dispatched a floating hospital with 1,000 beds to be docked in NYC Harbor. The U.S. Comfort will assist local hospitals with surges. 
New State Grants to Local Health Departments (LHD's)   

The New York State Department of Health is allocating $8.3 million to counties' local health departments for COVID-19 response activities. All county public health directors have been notified on this additional grant allocation. These awards will be made through a separate Public Health Crisis contractual agreement and are in addition to the COVID-19 funding that was recently added to your Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) contract.  The COVID-19 awards are based on county populations and will be 136% of your current PHEP award. HRI will start emailing contractual agreements tomorrow.  The award is for 12 months through 3/15/21 and available for expenditure immediately. This COVID-19 contract will also include emergency placeholder funding in the ‘Restricted’ budget category in the amount of $500,000.  The placeholder will allow us to make additional awards quickly if needed.
Please speak with your Public Health Director or Commissioner for details.

State Point of Contact: 
Scott Bieg
Grants Administration, Office of Public Health
New York State Department of Health
150 Broadway, Suite 516
Menands, NY 12204-2719
(518) 408-2063

We're Here for You

NYSAC is constantly updating our COVID-19 website. You can access this information, including the latest Executive Orders by going to: https://www.nysac.org/health  or going to the NYSAC home page and clicking on the coronavirus banner at the top of the page. 
Send Your Questions, Share Your Successes

NYSAC has created special email address to help us assist counties with responding to the pandemic - coronavirus@nysac.org

Send your questions, best practices, or coronavirus response plans. This can serve as a clearinghouse for information that will be turned into an invaluable tool for other counties as we share it to our website or otherwise disseminate to counties.  
Counties Innovating
To support local restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis, Chemung County has created a directory on its website of local restaurants that are offering curbside takeout. 

Blog: Communicating in a Crisis

New York and the nation are in uncharted territory as we work to address the challenges of Covid-19 at all levels of government, as well as in our homes and businesses. In crisis situations such as this, for elected officials and high-level government employees, transparency and maintaining open lines of communication are keys to establishing public trust.

The emergence of a pandemic virus has already profoundly affected our state and our communities. Many people are frightened for their physical and/or financial health. All are hungry for accurate information from trustworthy sources.

State DMV Commissioner Speaks with County Clerks

State DMV Commissioner Schroeder held a conference call with County Clerks across the State yesterday. Commissioner Schroeder stressed that in these extraordinary times they are doing the best they can with the information available. The State DMV has taking steps to address this crisis including but not limited to processing transactions through appointment only. At this point in time the vast majority of State DMV employees are designated as essential employees and are either still at work or working from home if possible.

The Commissioner has heard from many Clerks and Counties to request to the 2nd floor to suspend the requirements to renew licenses, plates, and registrations. At this time the 2nd floor is considering such actions but no determination has been made, however the commissioner promised to make daily updates to the clerks to let them know of the status.

Upcoming Webinar: How to Conduct Facebook Live Town Hall

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) will host a webinar designed to help counties conduct Facebook Live Town Halls to communicate with residents during the ongoing COVID-19 emergency response activities.
The Webinar, Best Practices for Conducting a Facebook Live Town Halls, will be held 2 p.m. Friday, March 20, 2020.

Jon Summers, president of Summers Strategies, will provide an overview how to promote, set up, and conduct a Facebook Live Town Hall, equipment basics, messaging, and how to integrate the event across multiple social media platforms.

Joining Jon will be a county communication professional who has deployed a Facebook Live Town Hall to connect county leaders and health department officials with residents to discuss ways to combat COVID-19. 

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