Read our guide to understanding New York on PAUSE, NY's stay-at-home order; a look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.
1:50 p.m.: Hospitals must ensure patients recovering from COVID-19 test negative for the virus before being discharged into a nursing home—a partial change to a March 25th directive that required nursing homes to take in positive patients, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced during a Sunday press briefing in Albany.
"This is where this virus feeds. It's where this virus started, when it started in the state of Washington," Cuomo said of nursing homes.
207 people in New York State died of the coronavirus since Saturday. 43 of those were in nursing homes and 164 were in hospitals, the governor said Sunday.
The state's death toll has reached 21,478. In nursing homes and adult-care facilities, there have been 5,403 deaths as of May 9th.
The hospital change is a partial backtracking on a March 25th directive from the state requiring nursing home operators to take in COVID-19 patients who are discharged from hospitals.
Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa clarified nursing homes cannot discriminate against COVID-19 patients—meaning the directive from March remains—but rather, the hospitals must wait until patients test negative before allowing them to be discharged into nursing homes.
Someone with COVID-19 could still be taken into a nursing home from elsewhere, unless the operator tells the state they cannot follow proper procedures—like isolating patients from other residents, having enough personal protective equipment and other measures.
The governor also said nursing home staff will be tested twice per week for the coronavirus. Nursing homes are required to restrict visitation, except for end-of-life visits; wear personal protective equipment with COVID-suspected or COVID-positive patients; wear face coverings with all residents; check staff for symptoms; notify family and residents within 24 hours of a COVID-positive test or death; and separate residents and staff during an outbreak.
Cuomo reiterated that if a nursing home cannot provide proper care, the operator should alert the Department of Health in order to find another COVID-specific facility for the patient. But nursing home operators have been saying for weeks they cannot manage the virus; one operator previously told Gothamist his request for state help was denied last month.
Cuomo threatened to revoke licenses of those who do not follow the requirements.
"If a nursing home operator does not follow these procedures, they will lose their license. 'Well, that's harsh.' No. Harsh is having a nursing home resident who doesn't get the appropriate care," Cuomo said.
"This is a national problem," said Cuomo, which he also said regarding the unemployment benefits crisis that has left hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers without benefits payments for weeks.
"Nursing homes generally all across the country have seen the Covid virus take a high toll," Cuomo said, later adding, "None of this is good news. But just to give you context of what people are looking at. This virus uses nursing homes. They are ground zero. They are the vulnerable population in the vulnerable location.
38 Children In NYC Have Contracted Illness Tied To COVID-19
12 p.m.: 38 children in New York City have contracted the pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome—a new illness in children that has been linked to COVID-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press briefing on Sunday.
The new syndrome, which resembles toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease, has killed three children in New York State, including one in New York City. The mayor announced hospitals will begin doing both coronavirus testing and antibody testing for children exhibiting any symptoms—which include fever, rash, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
"I'm deeply concerned," de Blasio said, calling the syndrome a "new threat" related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nine other possible cases in NYC are pending verification. Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday there are 85 cases statewide. Two additional deaths are under investigation.
Among children with the syndrome, 47 percent tested positive with the coronavirus. Of those who tested negative, 81 percent had antibodies for the virus.
"That's telling our doctors and our scientists a lot. This is something we really need to focus on and address," de Blasio said.
"This has moved very, very quickly," de Blasio said. "This particular challenge around kids—it came up literally days ago was the first time that I remember it in any discussion."
"At that moment, we had not seen a bigger trend. Shortly thereafter, as more and more facts were gathered, it was clear that something was happening that was a big concern," de Blasio said.
An alert has been sent to parents of 1 million public school children, the mayor said on Sunday.
The city's Health Department issued an alert last week to healthcare professionals to refer patients with the symptoms to a specialist and report it to the department. Health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said the first webinar with clinicians was held May 1st.
"The important thing here is we are very much focused on, first and foremost, ensuring that parents are aware of potential early warning symptoms such as prolonged fever, that rash, kids being really cranky, having bright red lips and what we typically think of as a strawberry tongue," Barbot added.
Dr. Mitchell Katz, the president of the city's public hospital system, said it appears the syndrome occurs in children after they've already been infected with the virus, which explains why the syndrome appeared weeks after the peak of coronavirus transmission in NYC.
"It's not surprising that several weeks after the peak time of transmission of this virus, we may now be seeing a variety of these manifestations in children," Katz said.
During the Mother's Day briefing, de Blasio also touted the success of outreach to unhoused people who were required to leave the subway system overnight during below-freezing temperatures under the MTA's initiative to clean the subway system overnight.
On Friday night, 416 people were removed from the subways. 183 were taken to a shelter and 29 to a hospital. On Saturday, 384 people were removed. 175 people were taken to a shelter and 23 to a hospital.
The MTA set up "warming" buses outside some subway stations during the weekend's unseasonably cold weather, but advocates want the city to provide more hotel rooms for homeless people, noting how congregate shelters themselves put people at risk of contracting the virus.
De Blasio called on the White House to provide the city 39,000 doses of a new FDA-approved drug for treating severe cases of the virus, called Remdesivir. So far, only 4,000 doses have been provided to public hospitals.
In response to videos of violent arrests during social distancing enforcement actions—particularly on the Lower East Side in Manhattan—the mayor said the city will deploy another 1,300 city employees to educate people in a "positive" approach to enforcing social distancing. The "social distancing ambassadors" will total 2,300.
Fauci Is In "Modified Quarantine" After Contact With White House Staffer Who Has COVID-19
A number of top public health officials are taking extra precautions after coming into contact with people who have the new coronavirus—including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [NIAID].
Fauci, a familiar (and, for many Americans, reassuring) figure for his fact-based approach to the White House's coronavirus task force, told CNN he would be in "modified quarantine" because of his interaction with a White House staffer with the virus. It's unclear which staffer he came into contact with, but Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary Katie Miller tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. Pence is the head of the task force, and Miller is married to one of Trump's closest advisers, Stephen Miller.
The contact was described as "low-risk," which CNN explained "means he was not in close proximity to the person who tested positive during the time when that person was known to be positive for the virus."
To err on the side of caution, Fauci said he is doing what he calls a "modified quarantine," meaning he will stay at home and telework, wearing a mask continually, for 14 days. He said he might also go to his office at the National Institutes of Health where he is the only one there. He also will be tested every day, he said, noting he was tested yesterday and was negative.
NIAID told ABC News, "Nevertheless he is taking appropriate precautions to mitigate risk to any of his personal contacts while still allowing him to carry out his responsibilities in this public health crisis."
CBS reports that Fauci is still expected to testify before a Senate Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will also be isolating himself after contact with an unidentified White House staffer who is infected. Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, will be going a step further than "modified quarantine" and will completely self-quarantine after contact with Miller. The FDA said, "Per CDC guidelines, he is now in self-quarantine for the next two weeks. He immediately took a diagnostic test and tested negative for the virus."
However, the Washington Post reports that despite those high-profile figures quarantining themselves, "[S]everal administration officials said White House staffers were encouraged to come into the office by their supervisors, and that aides who travel with President Trump and Vice President Pence would not stay out for 14 days, the recommended time frame to quarantine once exposed to the virus."
Fauci, Pence, Redfield, President Donald Trump, Dr. Deborah Birx, and others in the task force are never seen wearing masks in press briefings or in meetings. Trump himself has said he would not wear a mask, even as federal health agencies and officials recommend wearing a mask or face covering. An upcoming study suggests that mask-wearing can help infection rates plummet.
The briefings and meetings also take place without any social distancing of officials. The White House says its protocols—including daily testing of officials, as well as reporters—allow them to operate this way.
White House spokesman Judd Deere told the Washington Post, "The president’s physician and White House operations continue to work closely to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the president, first family and the entire White House complex safe and healthy at all times. In addition to social distancing, daily temperature checks and symptom histories, hand sanitizer, and regular deep cleaning of all work spaces, every staff member in proximity to the president and vice president is being tested daily for COVID-19 as well as any guests.”