Medical resources, vaccine information, calls for medical suppliers, professionals and volunteers

Sunday, December 27, 2020

New York State Of Health Reopens Insurance Enrollment

Compare plans and enroll at Assistance is available by chat or in-person help. Press release. Complete the GetCoveredNYC form if you need assistance: or text CoveredNYC to 877877 or call 311.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, get tested! Sites run by New York State are free. Check with the others and with your doctor to find out if there will be charges. New Yorkers who have symptoms or questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19) can call 1-844-NYC-4NYC to connect to a medical provider free of charge seven days a week from 9am - 9pm.

If you have been in close contact with people outside your household, get tested! (Some people get tested before they visit vulnerable loved ones.)

New tool to check NYC Health + Hospitals waiting times to get tested or
Tap Check Testing Wait Times on the Test & Trace Corps page
or check @NYCHealthSystem on Twitter for updates three times a day on wait times.
Find a testing location near you

If you test positive for COVID, you can request a “Take Care Package” from a contact tracer, which includes enough PPE for two weeks, a thermometer, at-home testing kits for contacts and a pulse oximeter to monitor oxygen levels. Test and Trace will also walk your dog if you’re self-isolating. Call the NYC COVID hotline at 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319) to find out more.


NYC Vaccine for AllNew York City is committed to keeping everyone safe and healthy by ensuring that access to COVID-19 vaccines is fair and equitable. COVID-19 vaccines will likely be available for most New Yorkers by mid-2021. Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Is the vaccine free? Yes. The COVID-19 vaccines will be available at no cost in New York State. Learn more at

12/14/2020 Mayor de Blasio and the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity outlined the City’s Vaccine Equity Plan and launched the vaccine command center. Through targeted outreach and a network of trusted community messengers, the City will ensure equitable vaccine distribution to the 27 hardest-hit neighborhoods identified by the Task Force. The City will also have a dedicated Vaccine Command Center, led by Deputy Mayor Hartzog and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dave Chokshi, to coordinate vaccine distribution across the city.  Through the Center, the City will track critical metrics on vaccine coverage, with a priority focus on the 27 neighborhoods. Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Melanie Hartzog will now serve as a Co-Chair to the Taskforce on Racial Equity & Inclusion. In her role, Hartzog is responsible for City’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring the City’s social services continue to support every New Yorker, especially those experiencing homelessness.

12/21/2020 The FDA authorized Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine and New York has already begun the distribution of vaccines. Two doses are required. The first vaccines are being distributed to high-risk health care workers and to people living and working in nursing homes. New York has opted into the federal government's nursing home vaccination program. Under the federal program, employees of CVS and Walgreens will vaccinate residents and staff at these facilities. The CDC has agreed to remove requirements on vaccine reporting data that could have been used to identify immigration status. This means that New York will not send any personally identifying information to the federal government in regards to vaccine distribution. The New York National Guard will participate in a vaccine pilot program. The NY National Guard has been selected by the Department of Defense as one of the 16 pilot programs across the nation to be part of the limited distribution of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to military personnel. Members of the New York Army and Air National Guard who serve as part of the State's COVID response efforts will be eligible for the vaccine. Essential workers will be next in line to be vaccinated, with priority given first to high-risk populations and then to low risk workers. The rmaining general population will be last priority.

NYC Vaccine information

CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

NYC DOHMH COVID-19 Vaccines:

New York State’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program:

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: The City’s Vaccine Command Center team is helping to coordinate distribution of the vaccine. Visit the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's website snapshot of the daily number of people who have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

The Moderna vaccine has also been approved by the FDA and New York State's independent COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Task Force, and shipments have begun. It will take months for the entire vaccination process to be completed. Meanwhile New Yorkers should continue to wear masks, social distance and avoid gatherings. 

COVID-19 Vaccine: Get the Facts


12/4/2020 Surge and Flex Protocol for Hospitals
Gov. Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Health to begin implementing a "surge and flex" protocol: all hospitals must expand their bed capacity by 25 percent to further prepare hospitals for a future COVID-19 surge. Hospitals had previously been preparing plans for this action as part of New York's Winter COVID Plan. Additionally, the Governor issued a call to all retired doctors and nurses urging them to return to service if they are able to do so. A registration will be renewed at no cost for an individual who completes the questionnaire through the volunteer portal, set up by the state Department of Health. Hospitals must maintain a 90-day supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In addition, hospital systems that have many hospitals in the system should redirect patients to other hospitals if a hospital reaches capacity.

12/14/2020 The NYS Dept. of Health issued a directive for hospitals to take steps to remain below 85 percent capacity by either adding an additional 25 percent of capacity, eliminating elective surgeries, or by taking a combination of both steps.
Related article: NYC Hospitals Suspend Elective Surgeries Amid Coronavirus Surge
December 17, 2020,, by Matt Troutman
Health + Hospitals facilities stopped elective procedures on Tuesday to free up capacity for COVID-19 patients, said CEO Mitchell Katz.


Medicare telehealth services include office visits, psychotherapy, consultations, and certain other medical or health services that are provided by an eligible provider who isn't at your location using an interactive 2-way telecommunications system (like real-time audio and video).


5/8/2020 Tele-medicine: In order to expand access to healthcare and reduce the need for New Yorkers to leave home, the City launched a Phone-a-Clinician program with Health+Hospitals, available at 844-NYC-4NYC.



4/4/2020 Gov. Cuomo announced the launch of, which will provide New York State's comprehensive coronavirus testing data to the public, with daily updates. The public can also access the testing data through Open NY at, New York State's open data portal.


5/1/2020 Gov. Cuomo announced new targeted efforts to further reduce the number of new hospitalizations per day, which has remained steady at approximately 1,000 over the last several days. This new effort will gather additional information and data from hospitals about the individuals who are being hospitalized for COVID-19, including if they are essential workers, where they work, how they commute, where they live and other demographics. This specific information and data from the hospitals will be used to come up with a new strategy more tailored to the reduction of new daily hospitalizations. Source: Gov. Cuomo's email of 5/1/2020.

Hotlines and websites

24-Hour Coronavirus hotline: 1-888-364-3065


New Yorkers can text COVID to 692692 for updates


Supplies: E-mail address for NYC Office of Emergency Management that health care providers (PCP's, FQHC's, others) can use for supplies:


Your local health department is your community contact for COVID19 concerns. 



3/25/2020 Free online mental health services. New Yorkers can call the state's hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment.


SAGE has a volunteer program that connects volunteers with LGBTQ+ seniors to help combat social isolation.


3/27/2020 Website offering public health information to New Yorkers during the novel coronavirus crisis, aimed at centralizing and aggregating info from a range of medical authorities, COVID19.NYC.


4/1/2020 The NYC COVID Worker Care Network They're a self-organizing network of more than 2000 volunteer mental health workers, spiritual care providers, circle-keepers, and community-builders supporting frontline COVID workers during this evolving crisis. They facilitate individual support encounters, support groups, stress-reduction training, and grief rituals via Zoom or telephone encounters. Any person working to support the fight against COVID-19 in New York is eligible; sign up at the link above or follow @NYCCOVIDCare on Facebook for updates or send an email to


5/5/2020 Emotional support service for frontline health care workers, available 24/7. Those workers can text NYFRONTLINE to 741-741 to access these services. The state is partnering with the Kate Spade New York Foundation and Crisis Text Line to provide this service.


5/5/2020 The NYC COVID-19 Pet Hotline helps to find help for pets whose owners have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, call 877-204-8821 from 8am-8pm daily. The program is staffed and supported by New York City's Animal Planning Task Force, a collaboration between the city and several nonprofits like the Humane Society, PAWS NY and more.


4/10/2020 National Institutes of Health (NIS) U.S. National Library of Medicine COVID-19 clinical trials, see trials at

4/10/2020 U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) guidance about sterilizing PPE at

4/11/2020 The Community Service Society has established the Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program (MCCAP), a free health coverage helpline assisting people with how to manage the health care bureaucracy, including applying for hospital financial assistance, resolving billing issues, or appealing coverage denials. Reach MCCAP at 888-614-5400, Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm.  

Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) is offering virtual appointments where individuals can video-conference and chat with clinicians. PPGNY is offering a range of sexual and reproductive health care services. Additionally, PPGNY’s centers remain open in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens for essential abortion care, IUD implants and removals, and STI testing and treatment. You can view all of PPGNY’s services or book an appointment online or by calling 1-800-230-PLAN.

Supplies and support

8/22/2020 FDA banned hand sanitizers

5/8/2020 Physician Support Line is a national, free and confidential support hotline staffed by 600+ volunteer psychiatrists providing peer support for physicians on the front line of the epidemic. Their hours are 8 am - 3 am. Call 888-409-0141.

5/3/2020 COVID-19 Test kit manufacture is now being done in NYC
Source: De Blasio's press conference of 5/3/2020
Three physical parts are needed for test collection: swaps, transport medium, containers. Swabs are now being manufactured using 3D printers. The medium can be made here, but needs to be validated. NYC has the containers. There is also the step of the actual testing, which is done in labs. NYC needs federal help to increase lab capacity.
[NOTE: Pharmacies have been given authorization do do test collection.]

3/23/2020 Economic Development Commission (EDC) just launched a new website for local businesses that want to support the COVID-19 emergency response effort: They are  seeking businesses with the ability to quickly source and/or make needed medical supplies (e.g. face shields, gowns, ventilators, masks, and other products as needed).

3/23/2020 For medical supply and COVID-19 testing business funding, New York State is investing in private companies. Businesses interested in working with the state should contact Empire State Development. Call Eric Gertler, ESD: 212-803-3100 or email

3/23/2020 If you want to sell medical supplies to the State, contact Simonida Subotic, Executive Chamber: 646-522-8477 or email

4/2/2020 If you are a supplier or distributor with access to a stock of ready-made supplies to sell, please complete this form:

3/23/2020 Companies that want to help with manufacturing and supplies in NYC should email:

4/2/2020 If you are a manufacturer and able to create new products from scratch, please complete this form:

3/23/2020 E-mail address for NYC OEM that health care providers (PCP's, FQHC's, others) can use for supplies:

3/25/2020 New York City's Office of Emergency Management has created a form (PDF) for hospitals, nursing homes, and EMS responders to use to request supplies:
Medical offices, assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, home health care organizations, etc. can also submit the form, but supplies are limited and unless it’s one of the prioritized categories it will likely go into a queue for fulfillment once supplies are more readily available.

To submit information regarding Personal Protective Equipment procurement, please complete this form:

For information on making a donation of goods, services, and space, please visit

Donate PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare workers.

4/6/2020 There's a high need to distribute PPE to the home care workforce that provides care for people with disabilities and older New Yorkers. The Mayor's Office of People With Disabilities has created a survey to assess those needs. If you're a home care service provider for that community, please complete the survey here so adequate amounts of equipment can be procured for those workers:

For questions, contact 646-522-8477 from 9am-5pm EDT or email with the subject line "QUESTION RE:”

Hotels for healthcare workers - GHNY is working with NYC & Company to help provide employees of member hospitals and nursing homes with places to stay during the COVID response. Accommodations are available for individuals or groups. Listing of participating hotels:

Blood drive, including people who have recovered from COVID-19

4/11/2020 To help develop an antibody test, Gov. Cuomo is asking all New Yorkers who have recovered from COVID-19 to contact the state and donate blood. Individuals who tested positive and then recovered from the virus may have convalescent plasma in their blood, which has antibodies against the virus and could help with the development of a treatment for the virus. More information about how to donate

Related article: World Health Organization (WHO) says there's 'no evidence' recovered coronavirus patients won't get reinfected
April 25, 2020,, by Morgan G Stalter
[Editor's note: This is just to remind us that we should still wear a mask and practice social distancing, even if we have had coronavirus and recovered.]

The New York Blood Center is experiencing critically low blood and platelet appointments
If you’re able to donate blood, please visit for information on scheduling an appointment. The New York Blood Center has three locations open for donors, one is in our neighborhood: Grand Central Donor Center, 200 Park Avenue, Lobby Level

Employment and volunteer opportunities

See the How You Can Help page on the MHNA website

Guidance & references

12/4/2020 Source: Bloomberg Prognosis, Coronavirus Daily email
U.S. employers are increasingly concerned about their share of treatment costs for hospitalized Covid patients...Employers are also concerned about prices for [Covid-19] vaccines...Medicare, the health program serving older Americans, should determine fair prices for Covid drugs and inoculations that would also be paid by companies, organizations and individuals, the Employers’ Prescription group said in a statement. “These drugs and therapeutics were developed with significant federal investment,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, chief executive officer of the Pacific Business Group on Health, a member of the employer group. “We think that needs to be reflected in the pricing.”—Angelica LaVito and John Tozzi

12/3/2020 The Mayor announced the creation of the Pandemic Response Institute (PRI), a facility dedicated to preparing New York City and other jurisdictions for future health emergencies and epidemics. PRI will strengthen New York City’s health infrastructure, build on the success of the Pandemic Response Lab and recent experiences in epidemic response, and position the City as a global leader in research, innovation, and pandemic response. This effort is part of the Administration’s long-term recovery agenda, which seeks to accelerate the City’s economic recovery by building on the network of premier hospital systems, world leading medical universities, and growing life sciences and tech sectors to make New York City the public health capital of the world. The City has identified an initial space at the Alexandria Center for Life Science [in Kips Bay at the East River Science Park, 430 East 29th Street, New York, NY 10016] to house the Pandemic Response Institute as it starts up and will aim to select an operator by mid-2021, with the goal of opening PRI by the end of 2021. PRI will advance research, training, and innovation on outbreak detection, investigation, and management. It will focus on the following areas:

  • Building new technologies and systems that detect, track and monitor health issues, particularly those that signal vulnerabilities to disease outbreaks.
  • Advancing research on cutting-edge diagnostics and therapeutics, as well as the latest science on outbreak modeling.
  • Training public health, business, and community leaders in all aspects of pandemic prevention and management, and the roles that they each can play in future health emergencies.
  • Piloting new community-based partnership models that build local-level health infrastructure, improve emergency preparedness, and advance health outcomes across all communities.

Given the critical importance of laboratory diagnosis to tracking COVID-19 and safely re-opening the city, the near-term home of PRI will be near the Pandemic Response Lab. This investment will strengthen the city’s health infrastructure and allow for important collaboration as PRI advances research and new innovations related to outbreak detection, investigation, and management. The City will also convene a meeting in early 2021 to gather insights and expertise from public health and community leaders to inform PRI’s design and priority activities.

12/1/2020 "Living Room Spread"
NYC Health Department Study Identifies Household Contact And Gatherings Of 10 Or More As Major Factors In Virus Transmission
December 1, 2020,, by Elizabeth Kim
[T]he city's Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said that the study showed that people who had close contact with a household member or partner who had contracted the virus were four times as likely to be infected as those who did not have such contact...In a second major factor, those who attended a social gathering of 10 or more people were found to be twice as likely of becoming infected...Chokshi said that once someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, or if they start to develop symptoms, other members in the household should immediately seek to distance themselves. Since the summer, New York City has been offering hotel rooms to infected individuals unable to quarantine in their own homes...In another important finding substantiated by other research, Chokshi said the study also showed that the likelihood of contracting the virus decreased by about 40% among people who reported always wearing a face covering indoors [when not in their own home].

When Will There Be a Covid-19 Cure? The Body Is Still the Best Virus-Killer
September 14, 2020,, by Michelle Fay Cortez
Most success has come with vaccines, not drugs.

9/15/2020 Developing Antibody Standards for Covid
[Source: Developing antibody standards for Covid, Bloomberg Prognosis email]
Siemens Healthineers has joined U.S. and European health officials to create an international standard for coronavirus antibody tests, a key step toward knowing who needs a future vaccine or booster shot. The effort aims to establish a unit of measurement for the level of protection someone has built up against the deadly virus. The project from Healthineers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre will probably take a matter of “weeks, not months,” Deepak Nath, president of laboratory diagnostics at Healthineers, said in an interview. Researchers will also be able to use the standard to determine a level of antibodies that appears to confer immunity against infection. Health officials can then determine whether someone who previously fought off the virus needs a vaccine, once shots are available—or whether someone who’s already been inoculated needs a booster shot....Antibodies are highly specific proteins raised by the immune system to disable viral invaders. They’re also markers of infection that help health officials know how far the virus has spread.—Tim Loh

Heart damage lingers in COVID-19 patients, even after recovery
July 28, 2020,, by Erika Edwards
"We are not done yet," one cardiologist said, urging continued precautions against the coronavirus

Study: Virus Can Travel 26 Feet at Cold Meat Plants With Stale Air
July 23, 2020,, by Megan Durisin

6/5/2020 The FDA issued Consumer Update, Understanding the Regulatory Terminology of Potential Preventions and Treatments for COVID-19. It notes that the FDA has not approved any products to prevent or treat COVID-19, explains what key terms, such as “FDA Approved,” “investigational treatment,” “expanded access / compassionate use,” “emergency use authorization,” and “off-label use” mean.

6/1/2020 Dentists can reopen on June 1. Interim Guidance For Dentistry During The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency:

6/12/2020 Interim Guidance For Dentistry During The COVID-19 Public Health

6/28/2020 CDC Guidance: People Who Are at Increased Risk for Severe Illness

5/25/2020 CDC guidance: When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19

4/17/2020 Guidance for Hospitals Regarding Visitations

4/4/2020 Over the past week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a several new rules and waivers of federal requirements to ensure that local hospitals and health systems have the capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. 

Guidance from the CDC: The CDC has released several helpful documents to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and explain what to do if you contract the disease. These documents are addressed to numerous stakeholders and include:


CDC urges organizers of large gatherings to encourage mask wearing
June 12, 2020,, by Nathaniel Weixel

4/25/2020 CDC Guidance on how to trace and monitor contacts of infected people

4/25/2020 CDC Guidance on travel

How COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person

CDC advice on Stress and Coping

How to clean and disinfect your home

Strategies to optimize personal protective equipment

COVID-19 and pregnant women

Guidance for health care professionals who have potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials

CDC decision tools for camps ( considering (re)opening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What health care personnel should know about caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19 infection

Guidance for administrators of U.S. K-12 schools and child care programs

What law enforcement personnel need to know about COVID-19

COVID-related illnesses in children. The NY State Department of Health has issued an advisory about this serious inflammatory disease, called "Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19," to inform healthcare providers of the condition

Scientists have turned the structure of the coronavirus into music
April 3, 2020,, by Vineeth Venugopal
It's long, but you can fast-forward to spots that look interesting.

Alarmed as COVID Patients' Blood Thickened, New York Doctors Try New Treatments
April 22, 2020, By Reuters

5/11/2020 New treatment shortens recovery time. The Department of Health and Human Services is distributing a promising treatment called Remdesivir that has been shown to help patients infected with COVID-19 recover more quickly.

7/8/2020 The U.S. has formally notified the World Health Organization it will withdraw from the United Nations agency over President Trump’s criticism of its ties to China.


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