The COVID-19 pandemic is a once in a lifetime event that has tested the collective strength of our nation, our state, and our communities. From the beginning, my office and the Assembly Majority understood the significance of this pandemic. It’s why the same day the first case was reported in Westchester County, I helped pass a $40 million package to bolster the strength of the Department of Health and other agencies which would later prove to be crucial in our fight against the pandemic.
As the pandemic continued to take hold on our region, Westchester County became a nationally recognized hotspot that became a model in understanding how this virus can rapidly spread throughout our communities. It’s why I introduced legislation in mid-March which would reduce the number of signatures required for candidates to appear on the ballot, to stop people from engaging in a hazardous activity that could promote transmission of the virus. In addition, my office was the first to publicly recognize how the virus could uniquely afflict urban areas with greater population density like Downtown Yonkers, subsequently demanding the establishment of a test-site in the City of Yonkers to supplement the Glen Island Park test-site in New Rochelle.
My office also effectively coordinated with a consortium of local agencies and organizations to ensure that essential personnel would continue to have the resources they needed to protect their staff and the public at large. In conjunction with the County Office of Emergency Management, we helped fulfill dozens of requests for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) from organizations with employees who were working on the front lines of the pandemic. In addition, we made sure that our Healthcare Heroes knew we were thinking of them. It’s why we donated hundreds of freshly prepared meals to hospitals that were treating COVID patients like St. John’s.
Despite our best efforts, few remain untouched by the collective and personal grief we’ve experienced throughout this pandemic. In April, my mother passed away from COVID related illness. Across our community, we’ve all been impacted and afflicted by this virus. Due to the restrictions in place, it’s been extraordinarily difficult for those who are mourning to get the closure they need. It’s why I worked directly with the Governor’s team to direct local cemeteries to adhere to guidance allowing families to grieve while properly adhering to social distancing.
Today, our region has successfully flattened the curve and a return to normalcy is on the horizon. Despite this, New York State is taking the steps necessary to ensure that we are observant of health metrics so we know when to act if another wave of this pandemic does arise. I’ve also supported legislation in the Assembly to help New Yorkers who were impacted by the pandemic. We’re also taking the time to acknowledge what mistakes were made in responding to this unanticipated crisis, including calling for an investigation into the state’s response to senior living facilities after disparate outbreaks were seen in retirement communities and homes for the elderly. I’ve also sponsored legislation that would transfer the Division of Cemeteries, which oversees burials and cremations, from the Department of State to the Department of Health to synchronize our state’s bureaucracy during a recognized public health emergency.
I’m thankful to all residents who have sacrificed aspects of their daily life in a substantive effort to defeat this virus. Without your efforts, the re-opening that has taken place wouldn’t be possible. In addition, I’d like to thank all of our first responders and essential workers who have demonstrated incredible tenacity and grit in serving our communities during this extraordinary time. We’re inspired by their infallible work ethic, their determination, and their resilience in the face of great adversity
I’d also like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Armour Villa Community and Association President Steve Wagner for your commitment, voice, and efforts to keep us all safe in this extraordinary time. Thanks to good neighbors like you, our community will emerge from this contagion stronger than ever before.
My office is continuing to address issues revolving around the COVID-19 pandemic including unemployment claims, SBA lending for small businesses, food insecurity, and education concerns. We’re also distributing pandemic related essentials like hand sanitizer and masks to vulnerable constituents including seniors. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at 914-779-8805 or [email protected]
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