Jeremiah Frei-Pearson for Assembly

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Fighting Coronavirus

While I am not confident that our current federal government can meet this challenge, I do believe that Governor Cuomo and our state and local governments will -- and I know that we, as a people, will come together and save our way of life.

If you need help, or if you're looking to help, I've put together this series of resources for you to use.

Symptoms

According to the Center for Disease Control, the most common COVID-19 symptoms are Fever, dry cough, severe headaches and body aches, and shortness of breath. For many people an early symptom has also been loss of taste and/or smell. Call your healthcare provider or the Westchester Coronavirus hotline at (888) 364-3065 if you believe you've been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms. They will advise you on whether to seek treatment, testing, and medication.

If you or a loved one is having trouble trouble breathing or have persistent pain/pressure in your chest seek medical attention immediately.

PAUSE NY

New York State has put in place a mandatory 10-point plan called PAUSE NY to try and #stopthespread of Coronavirus. We need everyone to follow these vital public health instructions and, in particular, avoid any unnecessary contact with people outside their immediate families.

Testing

Only seek testing after consulting with your healthcare provider. For more information, call 1-888-364-3065 or visit the New York Department of Health's website. Although production of tests is increasing, COVID-19 tests are currently in very high demand, which affects their availability. Most people infected with COVID-19, particularly younger & healthier people, will only experience mild illness and are capable of recovering from home.

Treatment

If you believe you may have been infected with COVID-19, first contact your healthcare provider. Unless you are experiencing severe symptoms, they will likely advise you to wait 24-48 hours and seek care if your symptoms worsen.

Governor Cuomo has instructed insurance companies to waive waive cost sharing associated with testing for novel coronavirus including emergency room, urgent care and office visits. Additionally, the Governor also announced New Yorkers receiving Medicaid coverage will not be expected to pay a co-pay for any testing related to COVID-19.

Employment

New York State is waiving the 7-Day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) closures or quarantines. Here is a step by step process to file a claim online.

New York State has also guaranteed paid sick leave during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Discrimination

Due to bigoted, incorrect rhetoric about the disease, many member of our community of Asian descent are experiencing spikes in discrimination and hate crimes. Racial discrimination has no place in New York, and if you or someone you know was the victim of discrimination you are encouraged to report it here.

Small Businesses

This is a tough time for many small businesses across Westchester and across our country. If federal legislation provides for small business grants or forgivable loans, that information will be provided here.

As of Sunday, March 22nd, Gov. Cuomo's PAUSE Order put into place a 100% closure of non-essential businesses statewide. If your business is not considered essential, your physical office must close and employees must work from home. This does not include grocery stores, pharmacies, utility companies, and food delivery services.

For more information about how COVID-19 will affect your business click here. Additionally, for a business planning checklist for how to deal with pandemics, click here.

Housing & Utilities

New York State announced a 90-day moratoriumon evictions for residential and commercial tenants, meaning no one can be evicted in New York State until at least June 20th.

Additionally, National Grid is suspending collection related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on customers. Customers struggling to pay their National Grid bill are encouraged to contact the company as soon as possible for assistance.

Supplies

New York State’s Price Gouging Law prohibits merchants from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services that are “vital to the health, safety or welfare of consumers” for an "unconscionably excessive price" during an abnormal disruption of the market place or state of emergency. If you believe a business is unfairly raising its prices on items such as hand sanitizer or toilet paper, you can file a complaint here.

If you need food assistance, have food to donate, or would like to volunteer with an organization helping feed our neighbors during this difficult time, visit Feeding Westchester's website.

Finances

For those struggling financially, the Coronavirus Financial Impact Loan Program provides interest-free loans of $2,000-$5,000 to residents of New York City’s five boroughs, Westchester, or Long Island who are facing financial challenges caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Forbes is maintaining a list of banks offering support and services for customers affected by COVID-19.

The New York Attorney General's office has announced the state is temporarily suspending the collection of state-referred debt, including student loans and medical medical debt.

The federal and state tax deadlines have also been moved from April 15th, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

Seniors

Due to the increased threat COVID-19 poses to seniors and people with pre-existing health conditions, many grocery stores are offering early/ modified hours when only those most at risk can shop. For a full list of participating stores, check this list.

For seniors in Westchester County, the Westchester Department of Senior Programs and Services offers a wide range of services, many quickly being modified to serve current needs. For a full list of services and contacts to acquire them, click here.

Transportation

Due to the increased chance of contracting COVID-19 in public places, Federal and local health experts advise avoiding public transportation as much as possible for the foreseeable future. If you must use public transit, make sure to stay as far away from other riders as possible.

For updates from the Westchester Department of Transportation clickhere. For updates from the MTA, clickhere.

Education

All schools in New York are closed at least until at least April 1st, with prolonged closure likely. It is possible many schools will not re-open this academic year.

Unless your local library has the ability to drop-off while maintaining social distancing, please hold onto any library materials that are due; most libraries are forgiving fines during this period and most libraries

Mental Health

During these challenging times, your or someone you know may begin to experience new or worsened mental health conditions. The Westchester Department of Community Mental Health stands ready to assist with these matters and their website can be foundhere.

Hotlines

Some of our state and local healthcare providers have set up dedicated Coronavirus hotlines to help answer questions for people in the local area.

  1. Westchester County's dedicated Coronavirus hotline is (888) 364-3065
  2. For White Plains Hospital's hotline dial 914-681-2900.
  3. For New York State's hotline dial 1-888-364-3065.

Ways to Help

Stay Safe. During a public health challenge the best thing you can do to improve the situation is to stay healthy yourself. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and maintain social distancing.

Volunteer. Lots of organizations, such as those delivering meals to senior citizens, need assistance right now as demand increases. Here's a list of organizations serving seniors in Westchester. Only volunteer if you are absolutely sure you're healthy.

Donate Blood. During this time of need New York Blood Center Enterprises strongly urges individuals who feel healthy and well to make an appointment at a donor center or blood drive to give blood, platelets and plasma. Walk-ins are also welcome. If you'd like to donate, visit their site here.

Donate money, food, or other resources. Every day more and more of our community is out of work and facing mounting bills. If you have the resources consider donating or supporting someone you know who is out of work. NeighborsLink is partnering with Feeding Westchester to get food to the needy. Order take out and give a generous tip to help a local business. Our neighbors and local businesses are struggling and anything we can do helps.