State of the State – Monday, January 11
During his daily COVID-19 briefing, Governor Cuomo today reiterated that his annual State of the State address will occur on Monday, January 11. The Governor stated that the address will emphasize specific action plans to address COVID and post-COVID realities.
Among the Governor’s proposals will be the following:
- Legislation to process absentee ballots as soon as they are received and begin being counting these ballots on Election Day. This legislation also will extend early voting hours and extend the timeframe to request absentee ballot to 45 days before an election.
- Legislation to create an Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, and to authorize courts to force abusers to pay damages, including housing and moving costs.
- Legislation to create a new misdemeanor for those convicted of domestic violence attempting to purchase guns, closing a loophole in existing law.
- Legislation for a statewide eviction moratorium on commercial evictions, until May 1, 2021. Also, penalties for late residential rent payments would be prohibited through May 1.
- The creation of a new public space at Pier 76 on the west side of Manhattan, where a tow pound currently exists.
Larger Vaccine Distribution Network
The Governor today announced a series of directives that will enlarge the COVID-19 vaccine distribution network operating in New York State. Among those directives are the following:
- The State will recruit and organize thousands of new providers, and this larger network will include: doctor networks, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), County Health Departments, Ambulatory Centers, and pharmacies. This larger network will distribute vaccine to Phase 1A and (when eligible) Phase 1B individuals. Additionally, new providers will prioritize their healthcare workers, while hospitals will continue to prioritize unvaccinated Phase 1A individuals.
- A reservation website will go online Monday, allowing eligible individuals to sign up for a vaccination appointment.
- The NYS Department of Health (DOH) will hold a webinar on Monday for all new providers and county health departments in the distribution network.
- DOH will set up 20 mass distribution sites in the next several weeks. The Javits Center in New York City will be used in this capacity beginning next Wednesday, January 13.
- The State will allocate vaccines to the distribution network proportionately by group and by region.
- Any provider who is found to have engaged in willful fraud will be disqualified from further participation in the vaccine distribution network.
Phase 1B Vaccine Distribution
The next phase of the State’s vaccine distribution – Phase 1B – will follow Phase 1A vaccinations for the health care sector. Eligible individuals for the vaccine will include: teachers and education workers, first responders, public safety workers, public transit workers, and people age 75 and older.
Governor Cuomo provided the following guidance regarding the upcoming Phase 1B vaccine distribution and administration:
- Large union groups – such as police, firefighter and teachers unions – are being asked to organize their own administration of the vaccine, where possible. Any capable groups will receive a weekly vaccine allocation from local health departments.
- All Phase 1B groups will be treated equally and fairly.
- In Phase 1B, the State will mandate social equity distribution by local health departments. This will include special vaccination efforts working with public housing, houses of worship, and low-income census tract communities.
Regarding Phase 1B timing, the Governor stated that appointments can be scheduled this coming Monday, January 11. Some pharmacies will begin administering on Monday, while others will take longer.
Finally, the Governor noted that at the current rate, the first two tiers of vaccine-eligible individuals (Phase 1A and 1B) will not be completed until mid-April.
Executive Order to Increase Potential Vaccine Administrators
Governor Cuomo has signed a new Executive Order expanding the eligible pool of trainees who can administer vaccinations at a distribution site. The eligible trainee groups will now include: licensed practical nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, midwives, dentists, certain dental hygienists, podiatrists, emergency medical technicians, and certain eligible students.
Letter to U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services Asking For Expedited Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution
Governor Cuomo and eight other Governors today issued a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Chief Operating Officer General Gustave F. Perna asking that they expedite vaccine distribution throughout the nation. The letter can be found here.
New York State COVID-19 Numbers
The statewide positivity rate yesterday was 7.72% with 8,561 hospitalizations, an increase of 13 people over the previous day. There were 161 COVID-19 deaths in New York State yesterday.