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New York Capital Brief: December 19, 2020

Nurse Receives First Vaccine in NY

On Monday, Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, was the first person in New York to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“I trust the science. My profession is deeply rooted in science. I trust science…. What I don’t trust is getting COVID-19, because I don’t know how it will affect me and the people around me that I could potentially transfer the virus to.”

Cuomo’s Clinical Advisory Taskforce Approves Moderna Vaccine

On Friday, Governor Cuomo announced that the New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force has reviewed and approved use of the FDA-approved Monderna vaccine in New York State. New York expects to receive approximately 346,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week, pending final FDA authorization.

The Governor also announced that each vial of the Pfizer vaccine may actually contain six or seven doses, instead of five. The NYS Department of Health has issued guidance to guide healthcare professionals regarding these extra doses. These extra doses may increase the State’s allocation by 20-40%.

One More 2020 Session?

During Monday’s Electoral College vote at the NYC Capitol, Assembly Speaker Heastie told reporters that both Senate and Assembly leaders are discussing the possibility of returning to Albany before the end of the year to pass COVID-relief measures, including revenue-raisers.

“We are trying to see if we can come up with something that the two houses could agree upon,” Heastie said. “We want to do something that (addresses the) eviction moratorium and we have to see if we can come to agreement on possible revenues.”

Directives Address Hospital Capacity

On Wednesday, NYS Department of Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker letter to hospital administrators detailing directives to expand capacity.

The letter outlines three directives:

  1. Hospital systems must now complete a patient load balancing plan among all facilities in their system;
  2. Independent hospitals that are not part of a hospital system must forge relations with neighboring hospital systems to participate in local patient load balancing; and
  3. DOH has directed that hospitals must be prepared to achieve 15% staffed bed capacity growth within 72 hours if a significant COVID surge occurs.

NY Micro-Cluster Strategy

The Micro-Cluster Strategy identifies clusters and the areas around them and categorizes them into one or more color-coded zones with corresponding levels of restrictions based on severity: Red Zones, Orange Zones, and Yellow Zones. New rules and restrictions directly target areas with the highest transmission of COVID-19 cases & surrounding communities.

Click here to view the restrictions and check your address.

NY’s Travel Advisory Update

Under Executive Order, New York has implemented a COVID testing requirement for those entering/re-entering NY from other states and from countries at Level 2 and 3 COVID-risk.

According to the Order, instead of a mandatory 14-day quarantine, all people* entering NY will have to bring proof of a negative COVID test. The results must be from a test taken within three days of coming into NY from a non-contiguous state.** Upon arrival, all travelers must quarantine for three days. On the fourth day, the traveler must get another test. Once the second test comes back negative, the person is no longer required to quarantine.

*Essential workers will continue to be exempt from this mandate.
**These new rules do not apply to PA, NJ, VA, MA, or CT, although non-essential travel is highly discouraged.