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.”
New York State Mandates 25% Private Sector Workforce

UPDATE: At publication time, Governor Cuomo announced a forthcoming Executive Order requiring private sector businesses to decrease their non-essential workforce by 100%.

Yesterday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.7 mandating that private sector businesses decrease their in-office workforce by 75 percent. This follows the Governor's previous directive that all businesses implement work-from-home policies. Exemptions will be made for essential service industries, including shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions, and other industries critical to the supply chain.
The Governor also announced the Department of Financial Services has issued a new directive to New York State mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers impacted by the novel coronavirus.

Additionally, the Governor has asked DFS to instruct state-chartered banks to waive ATM fees, late fees, overdraft fees and fees for credits cards. 
New Podcast: Lessons Learned from the Field
A conversation with Westchester County Executive George Latimer and staff. This episode is a special edition from our daily updates on the COVID-19 public health emergency, and is adapted from a conference call held on Thursday, March 19th.

In this episode, you'll hear officials in Westchester County discuss emergency response that has taken place in the epicenter county over the past two weeks. Listen here.
Training Opportunity 2PM TODAY: Facebook Live Town Halls
In this time of anxiety and uncertainty, effective communication with constituents has never been more important. Join us today at 2 PM for a webinar on how to use technology like Facebook Live to conduct digital town halls!

We’re Here to Help You: Communications Support

As counties grapple with the new challenges posed by social distancing policies, NYSAC is working to support counties' efforts to communicate with their residents. In addition to webinars like our Facebook Town Hall event, NYSAC is developing a reverse 9-1-1 script for counties to use and recently published a report on crisis communications.

Companies like Majority Strategies (not a NYSAC partner) and others can send text messages to residents’ cell phones. We are actively seeking out companies to provide this service. 

NYSAC is also exploring companies - like UberConference and Zoom - that counties may want to use to teleconference with their employees and key stakeholders.
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.  
State Budget Update

Three-way budget negotiations have been underway since late Saturday (3/14) afternoon. Leaders and their staff remain in Albany and are continuing negotiations. We now expect the budget to be acted on next week. 

The Legislature is scrambling to identify plans on how to continue to work. There are currently four Assemblymembers who have contracted COVID-19. 

We are continuing to urge leadership in both houses to reject Part R (the Medicaid amendments).

We can now state that the final state budget will include a 10% cut to local county mental health admin funds and while we tried to collectively advocate on a restoration to a 50/50 cost share with state on 730 competency, we can now project that the final budget will include a 100% cost shift to counties. 

The state is looking at doing an omnibus provision within the state budget to extend all outstanding local home rule bills - sales tax, mortgage recording tax, etc. We now anticipate the budget being enacted next week.  
Counties Innovating
The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area have launched a community-wide fund to support organizations responding to human services needs in Herkimer and Oneida counties resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The group announced is working together to attract resources and distribute them to nonprofit groups through a single community online effort.

Federal Government Announces Fast Tracking of Treatments for COVID-19

President Trump held a COVID-19 briefing at 11:30 on Thursday where he announced that the FDA is fast-tracking approvals for promising vaccines and antiviral therapies. The first clinical trial of a vaccine candidate began this week. (It normally takes about 12 months to approve a new vaccine).

Two newly FDA-approved drugs have been green-lighted for the treatment of COVID-19:
  • A malaria and arthritis drug - chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine - will be made available immediately. Governor Cuomo requested that New York be the first state online.

  • Another promising therapy - remdesivir - has also been approved for use. The Federal Government has not issued any new orders or restrictions that directly affect Counties prior to or during today’s news conference. 
Receive timely updates when you follow NYSAC: