Senator O’Mara's ‘One-Stop Webpage’ to access COVID-19 information: NYS Department of Health toll-free Novel Coronavirus Hotline and federal, state and local informational resources (UPDATED: Newly launched Office of Mental Health toll-free Helpline)

March 30, 2020

NYS Health Department has established a toll-free hotline and informational webpage.
To do our own part, let's practice the seriousness and personal responsibility that this emergency deserves.

The public health emergency surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly changing and being frequently updated — one way we can all stay together is by staying informed and taking the steps necessary to help our communities respond and to help protect our most vulnerable populations.

State government offices, including mine, have been advised to have our staffs, as broadly as possible, work remotely until further notice.  Nevertheless, please continue to contact us, preferably by e-mail (omara@nysenate.gov) because it lets you provide more detail, more efficiently.  Otherwise, if you contact us by phone, please leave a message and we will respond in short order.  Find my contact information HERE.

Throughout the challenging weeks ahead for all of us, my offices will continue to be available to constituents.  Like everyone else, we will have to adjust and accommodate the ongoing public health and safety requirements and recommendations, and we will absolutely do our part.  Nevertheless, we will be available, we will be monitoring the situation on the ground locally across the communities we represent, and no one should hesitate to reach out to us if they believe we can be helpful in any way. 

Let's remember that there are health care professionals, emergency services personnel, first responders, business leaders, delivery drivers and truckers, service organizations, educators, librarians, farmers, government officials at every level, the men and women of our military, and an army of volunteers -- throughout the public and private sectors -- working around the clock to combat and control this threat, and provide diligent public outreach.  

I commend their commitment and dedication.  On behalf of all of us I say, above all else, "Thank you."

In other ways and at every level of government, discussions are constant over a comprehensive and coordinated public health strategy to address concerns surrounding hospitals, schools, workplaces, public gathering spaces, and so forth.

To do our own part, then, let's practice the seriousness and personal responsibility that this emergency demands.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Response updates are being shared across the spectrum of local, state, and federal agencies and organizations. Pay attention to them. To help facilitate access to this information, my office has established this "One-Stop" webpage to help gather, in one place, a range of COVID-19 information and updates. This page doesn't include everything under the sun, because the speed and volume of information at this time can be overwhelming -- however, most of all, we try to point to those sources of straightforward and commonly held information, recommendations, resources, and updates, including from the:

> New York State Department of Health has established a toll-free Novel Coronavirus Hotline (1-888-364-3065) and maintains an informational webpage, "Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)", providing daily updates on New York State's response including a portal to submit questions, as well as access to information and resources from across all state agencies. A "Get Involved: How You Can Help" section invites support from qualified health professionals, product providers, manufacturers, technology professionals, and others.

> federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information webpage for updates and other information.

> NYS Office of Mental Health"OMH Guidance on COVID-19" including a newly launched COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline (1-844-863-9314).  Thank you to the thousands of mental health professionals volunteering their care, compassion, expertise, and support during this crisis.

> ArnotHealth, "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources"; Schuyler Hospital, "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information -- What you need to know"; UR Medicine/St. James Hospital, "Coronavirus (COVID-19): Visitor Restrictions, Resources, and Updates"; Finger Lakes Health, "Coronavirus (COVID-19) -- Our Communities Safety is our First Priority"; Cayuga Medical Center, "Coronavirus (COVID-19) -- What you need to know" 

New  York State Association of Counties"Coronavirus-COVID 19 Resources for County Leaders." Following are links to the county health departments covering our 58th Senate District: Chemung CountySchuyler CountySteuben CountyTompkins County; and Yates County.  

> New York Conference of Mayors"Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Resources for Local Government Officials"  

> New York State Association of Towns, "Association of Towns serves members through the COVID-19 Pandemic"

> National Conference of State Legislatures has posted an overview of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and highlights what it contains for states, individual citizens and taxpayers, small businesses, and others. You can find the overview here: "COVID-19 Stimulus Bill: What It Means for States"

American Red Cross (Finger Lakes Chapter) at a time when this COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in severe blood shortages.  Donors are NEEDED, and enormously appreciated. Local regional donation locations and opportunities HERE

> Food Bank of the Southern Tier "COVID-19 UPDATES" -- including links to School Food Sites and Hours, and regional pantries and meal programs.

> United Way of the Southern Tier, "Volunteer Needs in Our Community During COVID-19 Pandemic"

> New York State Department of Labor for up to date information for employers and employees, including actions covering sick leave, paid family leave, disability benefits, and workplace requirements, as well as Unemployment Insurance benefits and the newly enacted federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Empire State Development (ESD)"ESD COVID-19-RELATED RESOURCES"  including a "Resource Guide to COVID-19 Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans", answers to frequently asked questions, and an online intake portal for individuals and businesses to relay business-related COVID-19 questions and concerns.  Submissions through this portal will be routed to the relevant ESD department, enabling the agency to respond to questions.

Chemung County Chamber of  Commerce"COVID-19 Resources for Business Community" that includes a "Support for Employees" section; Corning  Area Chamber of Commerce"COVID-19" ; Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, "COVID-19 Updates"Yates County Chamber of Commerce"Coronavirus Community News"; and Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce"Updates from the Chamber on COVID-19"

Finger Lakes Economic Development Center"Coronavirus Disaster Relief Information," including links to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Empire State Development, Internal Revenue Service, and others.

> Business Council of New York State"Managing the Coronavirus" includes a valuable range of information from across the health care spectrum, but also specific to employers and their workers.

> WETM-TV, "Closings & Delays" -- a running update on local cancellations and other reschedulings.

> Fund for Women of the Southern Tier,  "COVID-19 Support Links" to highlight local support initiatives, including "Community Project -- Sewing Masks for Healthcare." It's a fantastic call to arms.  ArnotHealth has also issued a call for volunteers and offers instructions on how to make masks HERE.

> Firemen's Association of the State of New York, "COVID-19 Resources for First Responders"

> County Offices for the Aging covering the 58th Senate District: Chemug County; Schuyler County; Steuben County; Tompkins County; and Yates County.

> Catholic Charities of Steuben, "COVID-19 Resources"Catholic Charities of Chemung & Schuyler; Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes; and Catholic Charities Tompkins/Tioga.

> Southern Tier Libary System, "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019)" including information from the system's member libraries.

> Finger Lakes Library System, "COVID-19 Updates" 

> NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, "Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) -- What you need to know" with updates specifically for the agricultural industry.

> The Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University, "Food Industry Resources" 

> NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, "Tax Department response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19)" with a question-and-answer section for taxpayers on filing deadlines, refunds, and the availability of other resources.

> NYS Education Department, "Coronavirus: Information for Schools"

> NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, "NY's Outdoors Are Open"