New York Capital Brief:

Cuomo Announces Cluster Action Initiative

This week, Governor Cuomo announced the creation of the Cluster Action Initiative in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases in concentrated areas within Brooklyn, Queens, Orange and Rockland counties.

Instead of using the nine ZIP codes where COVID cases are skyrocketing, Cuomo has created a plan using color-coded maps – an attempt at more precision to avoid blanket business/activity/school closures. The initiative divides clusters and the areas around them into three categories with successively higher restrictions within each one. These restrictions went into effect this week.

Cuomo Counting on Dems in D.C.

Despite rising tension and conflict between Governor Cuomo and President Trump, Cuomo continues to press for Federal state-aid to plug the $15B and growing budget deficit. The uncertainty around Washington’s latest stimulus package negotiations has put many state and local governments on edge, including New York.

With stimulus talks stalled, Cuomo said Wednesday that he will not increase taxes, cut the state budget, or borrow funds to alleviate New York’s growing fiscal shortfalls, as he holds out hope that VP Joe Biden unseats President Trump or Democrats take the majority in the Senate in November’s election.

Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine

The National Academy of Medicine has released its Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine.

The Framework is designed to assist policy makers in the health community in planning for equitable allocation of a COVID-19 Vaccine. Allocation criteria includes four risk categories: risk of acquiring the infection, severe morbidity and mortality, negative and societal impact, and risk of transmitting the infection to others.

Provider Relief Funding for Senior Living Providers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced $20 billion in new funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, including private pay assisted living providers. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus.

COVID & Travel Advisory Update

On September 28, Governor Cuomo Signed an Executive Order reminding international travelers coming from Level 2 & 3 countries to quarantine & fill out the NY health travel form.

On June 25, Governor Cuomo, along with CT Governor Lamont and NJ Governor Murphy, implemented a tri-state travel advisory which requires anyone who is returning from a “restricted state” to quarantine for 14 days. This week, New Mexico was added.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lifted its directive recommending travelers coming from states with a high rate of coronavirus cases self-quarantine for 14 days to stem the spread of COVID, Governor Cuomo indicated that New York’s travel advisory won’t be lifted any time soon.