Coronavirus Help and Resources in New York

Posted on 03/20/20 by Donna Liquori

*Updated as of May 2020

New York has been hit hard with the coronavirus, and being isolated at home can be overwhelming. But you’re not alone. Resources are available to help with your health, meals and stress.

“Stay home,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said, adding that if you have to go out for essentials like groceries or prescription drugs, maintain social distancing of six feet. “Just stay away from people... If you are a senior citizen, then hyper-cautious on all these points.”

The state has approved a new paid sick leave policy and has waived the seven-day waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to coronavirus closures or quarantines. The Department of Motor Vehicles is encouraging people to use online services. DMV offices are operating on an appointment-only basis.

Cuomo also announced that the state “will direct mortgage payments be waived for 90 days based on financial hardship.” There’s other temporary financial relief for New Yorkers: According to the state health department, telehealth copays have been waived, COVID-19 tests are free for eligible New Yorkers, utility shutoffs have been suspended, and state workers are monitoring reports of price gouging for items like hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies.

To watch livestream press conferences and stay current on information from Governor Cuomo here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/

Resources for health care
“Older adults with underlying health conditions, such as respiratory problems, diabetes, and other chronic conditions, are more likely to have serious COVID-19 illness,” New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said in an email to AARP. “People of all ages must be vigilant and stay home as much as possible, as well as follow existing protocols such as hand washing, using hand sanitizer, social distancing, and coughing or sneezing into your sleeve. Clean and disinfect often.”

Where to get help:

New York City health resources:

  • Notify NYC: To receive real-time updates, New Yorkers can text “COVID” to 692692 (NYC-NYC) for emergency information and city services. Text “COVIDESP” for updates in Spanish.
  • Dial 311, the city’s official contact number, for nonemergency issues. It’s the best way for older adults to ask questions about coronavirus guidance, updates and how to receive medical help for people with flu-like symptoms.
  • New York City Department for the Aging’s case-management program, which connects homebound older adults with services, will continue accepting new clients. It’s conducting new client interviews over the phone during the COVID-19 emergency, at 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469). One popular Department for the Aging (DFTA) program that’s continuing through the crisis has switched from in-home visits to phone calls.
  • DFTA's Aging Connect, a contact center for resources, services and volunteer opportunities. New Yorkers can call 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469) for information about services — like meals and transportation — available for older adults and caregivers, plus volunteer opportunities.
  • NYC Well is the city’s connection to free, confidential mental health support. New Yorkers can speak to a counselor via phone, text or chat in more than 200 languages, 24/7/365. New Yorkers can call 888-NYC-WELL or text "WELL" to 65173.
  • DFTA’s Geriatric Mental Health (DGMH) mental health clinicians work out of senior centers, leading health and wellness programs and providing screenings. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the program will continue accepting new clients and assisting older adults with mental health needs virtually or over the phone. New Yorkers can call 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469) to learn more.
  • How to volunteer - COVID19Assistance@Exec.ny.gov email has been created for anyone from the public or stakeholders to support State coronavirus response efforts.
  • NYSOFA: To sign up for emails regarding communication strategies for the aging services network, click here
  • The NYC Department for the Aging is working tirelessly to support older New Yorkers who are currently under strong recommendations to stay inside, including:
    • Transitioning all meals previously offered as take-home meals to a direct delivery system
    • Making thousands of calls daily to older adults to make sure they have the support they need and are staying socially engaged
    • Modifying many of our programs to offer telephone-based or virtual services.
  • For mental health, substance use, crisis and safety resources:
    • Call (800) 621-4673
    • Contact NYC Well by calling, (888)-NYC-Well
    • By texting "Well" to 65173
    • You can also visit: nyc.gov/nycwell
  • Those most at risk for COVID-19 can register for testing online with OneMedical and use the code: NYCCARE30.
  • New Yorkers with symptoms or questions about COVID-19 can call: 1-844-NYC-4NYC to connect to a medical provider free of charge | 9:00am-9:00pm.

Groceries, pharmacies and food banks:

For stress relief at home:
New York businesses and cultural institutions are here to help you.

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a 360-degree tour.
  • The New York Public Library and many local libraries offer free ebooks. Check your library’s website for more information on other community resources.

Veterans, Military, and their Families (VMF):

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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