Coronavirus Update: Cuomo, De Blasio Outlines ‘Test And Trace’ Plan For N.Y. With Former Mayor Bloomberg Heading Up Statewide Effort

The mayor said New York City is not yet ready to roll out the plan, because there isn't enough COVID-19 testing capacity.

Coronavirus Update: Cuomo, De Blasio Outlines ‘Test And Trace’ Plan For N.Y. With Former Mayor Bloomberg Heading Up Statewide Effort

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York will launch a testing and tracing program in unison with Connecticut and New Jersey to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement comes after Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled New York City’s plan to do the same.

Elected officials have said that in order to get to the next step in the fight against COVID-19 it will first require vast amounts of testing.

The focus will be to test, trace and isolate to ultimately stop the spread. As Cuomo put it, it’s a massive undertaking.

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De Blasio mapped out what this new plan would look like once the city has enough testing capacity, and how we will get there.

“This is how we ultimately defeat this disease,” de Blasio said.

With the city’s new program “Test and Trace,” which, just like its name, begins with widespread testing which de Blasio is aiming to make available in every community.

“Even though we don’t have the testing that we need today, we’re gonna keep fighting for and we want all the other building blocks to be in place more and more each day,” de Blasio said.

The city will be manufacturing its own tests beginning in May but is again calling on the federal government to help expand production.

When you test, if your results are positive, the next step is trace who’ve you been in contact with.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Literally follow up with each and every one of those people, get them tested,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio said the city is striving to have widespread testing available in every community. New Yorkers who test positive would be given care “right away,” and if they’re unable to isolate properly, will be placed in hotel rooms.

WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio Outlines ‘Test & Trace’ Program

“We’ll get you the help you need. The whole idea is to help you to isolate to get well, to have the support you need, and of course get tested again to know when you’re done with the disease so you can go back to your regular life,” de Blasio said. “That’s what this plan is all about. That’s the building blocks we’re putting in place now, the hotel rooms, and all the support that goes with it.”

“We have to keep doing it to the point where, in a perfect world, we literally can see every single person in the city who has the coronavirus at that time, and we know exactly where they are and exactly the help they’re getting,” he added. “It’s gonna take thousands and thousands of people to do this right and we’re putting that team together now.”

That could mean thousands of people in isolation, potentially.

Web Extra: See de Blasio’s ‘Test & Trace’ Presentation (.pdf)

“Obviously, a city of this size, we could be talking about thousands of people in isolation at a given point, tens of thousands. We don’t know the number yet. But we do know that we’re going to build an apparatus that will keep expanding to accommodate whatever that true number is, because it’s the only way we protect people and it’s the only way we drive this disease back,” de Blasio said.

The only way this could be done, Cuomo says, is a group effort. announcing a Tri-State operation with New Jersey and Connecticut.

“You test a person. If the person winds up positive, you then trace that person’s contacts – contact tracing,” Cuomo explained. “You have to start with a large number of tests, and we set as a goal yesterday to double the number of state tests, to go fro. 20,000 on average to 40,000. That is just about the maximum capacity for all of the laboratory machines in this state.

“Once you do all those tests, every positive you have to go back and trace. The tracing is a very big, big deal,” he added. “Once you trace and you find more positives, then you isolate the positives.”

A “tracing army” will be formed to make sure all cases are accounted for. This includes state medical students.

Helping to lead that army will be former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who volunteered to help, develop and implement the program, also committing more than $10 million of his own money.

“It is going to require a lot of attention, a lot of insight, a lot of experience and a lot of resources. We’re also going to be partnering with Johns Hopkins and Vital Strategies in putting together that tracing operation,” Cuomo said.

Bloomberg will work with Johns Hopkins University to design the state’s contact tracing program, recruit and train staff and coordinate with New Jersey and Connecticut.

“He’s had quite a bit of experience in this area. It’s a very big undertaking, and we thank him very much for taking it on,” said the governor. “It is going to require a lot of attention, a lot of insight, a lot of experience and a lot of resources.”

“You’ve never heard the words ‘testing, tracing, isolate’ before. No one has,” Cuomo said. “Who cares that you’ve never done it. That’s really irrelevant. It’s what we have to do now. So figure out how to do it.”

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The mayor said a particular focus will be on NYCHA residents. The city will add six more testing sites in the coming days near NYCHA developments, with NYCHA residents being prioritized for testing.

Opening Friday: H+H Community Testing Sites

  • Cumberland Health Center, Crown Heights
  • Belvis Health Center, Mott Haven
  • Gouverneur Health Center, Lower East Side

Opening Next Week: NYCHA Testing Sites

  • Jonathan Williams Houses, Williamsburg
  • Woodside Houses, Woodside
  • St. Nicholas Houses, Harlem

De Blasio said the city would begin delivering food directly to NYCHA senior buildings, and will also start delivering tablets to some residents to help them connect with family members.

As far as the daily indicators tracking the virus goes:

  • People admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19:  252, up from 204
  • People currently in H+H ICUs for suspected COVID-19: 821, down from  857
  • Percentage of people tested who are positive for COVID-19 citywide: 33%, down from 35%

The mayor also announced that some version of the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks will go forward.

Source : CBS News York More   

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Coronavirus In Texas: Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson Announces Relief Efforts For Individuals, Businesses Impacted

The city also passed a mortgage and rental assistance program to help keep Dallas residents in their homes.

Coronavirus In Texas: Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson Announces Relief Efforts For Individuals, Businesses Impacted

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Mayor Eric Johnson announced Wednesday evening, the Dallas City Council passed a small business continuity program and will distribute $5 million to local small businesses in the form of loans and grants.

They must demonstrate they’ve suffered a 20% loss or more from COVID-19.

Hundreds of businesses are expected to be eligible to benefit.

The Dallas City Council also passed a $13.7 million mortgage and rental assistance program to help keep Dallas residents in their homes.

And the City Council created a new ordinance meant to encourage landlords and tenants to work together to overcome COVID-19 hardships.

“Collectively, these measures represent a significant undertaking meant to help as many people as we can under the financial constraints we have,” Mayor Eric Johnson said. “We are looking at how to move forward while maintaining public health as our primary concern. And I want to assure the residents of Dallas that your city leaders are doing all we can to help you recover and rebuild.”

Under the mortgage assistance program, the city will use $6.1 million in federal grants and local funds to finance rent and mortgage payments for low to moderate income residents. Under the plan, landlords would receive direct payments from the City.

“There is a vulnerable population, that is going to be impacted by circumstances that couldn’t be avoided, and I think it’s important that we do what we can to keep them (residents)in their homes”, Adam Bazaldua, District 7 Councilman said Wednesday.

Bazaldua said 80% of residents in his district, including parts of South and East Dallas, live in rental properties.

READ MORE ON EACH MEASURE HERE:

Mortgage and rental assistance program

The Mortgage and Rental Assistance program passed by Council will offer $6.1 million in rental and mortgage aid. Combined with services and programs that already exist within the city, $13.7 million is available.

Assistance will provide up to $1,500 for a maximum of three months per eligible household. To qualify for the pre-screening process, applicants must be City of Dallas residents who lost their jobs or were furloughed due to COVID-19.

The Mortgage and Rental Assistance program is a collaboration between the Office of Community Care and the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization.

The program is expected to open during the first week of May.

Small Business Continuity Fund (SBCF)

The Office of Economic Development will launch the $5 million Small Business Continuity Fund. The fund will provide up to $10,000 in grants and up to $50,000 in low-cost loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19.

The businesses must be able to prove they were in operation for a minimum of six months prior to March 16, 2020 and demonstrate a 25% drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

The goal of the fund is to ensure continued operations of small businesses and job retention by those businesses.

The application is expected to go live in May for grants and loans to begin in June.

Evictions notice ordinance

The COVID Notice Ordinance requires residential landlords to issue a “COVID Notice of Possible Eviction” that provides tenants information on rental assistance and at least 21 days to negotiate lease payment agreements with landlords.

The ordinance also allows for a 60-day eviction notice if a substantial financial hardship can be proven.

The proposed ordinance explicitly excludes any delays of evictions when there is evidence of abatable criminal activity and does not excuse any requirement for the tenant to pay rent under the agreed-upon lease.

The ordinance would only remain in effect in conjunction with the declared disaster declaration and is limited in its application to residential properties.

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Source : CBS Dallas More   

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