New York prepares Covid 19 plan for Back-to-School and Fall season surge

Governor Hochul announced that New York is working closely with public health experts to craft a Fall Action Plan to address the potential for seasonal COVID-19 surges later this year, as well as strategies to allow students to return safely to school this fall. She also announced a Request for Proposals has been released for an independent After-Action Review to assess the State’s COVID-19 response, identify what worked and what did not, and serve as a guide for all local governments planning emergency response efforts.

“Since day one, my top priority has been to keep New Yorkers safe, especially as we prioritize safely navigating forward through this pandemic,” Governor Hochul said. “My team is working around the clock to bolster our preparedness against future pandemic surges and other related public health emergencies both in the short-term and the long-term. We’ve made real progress in our fight against COVID-19, and we remain vigilant in making sure that New York State emerges stronger than ever before.”

As the pandemic progresses and continues to change, we must remain vigilant and be prepared for new strains as they emerge,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “With students returning to school classrooms in the fall, we need to have a plan in place to address future variants.”

Fall planning will focus on addressing the below, but not limited to:

  • A Return to School strategy, including distributing 3 million tests to schools before the beginning of the school year.
  • Getting more New Yorkers vaccinated & boosted, including the ability to stand up mass vaccination sites again if the need arises.
  • Encouraging New Yorkers to test early, test often.
  • Promoting more access to treatment and therapeutics, including a recently launched statewide hotline for New Yorkers who may not have immediate access to healthcare professionals, as well as an ongoing commitment to support New Yorkers struggling with the effects of Long COVID
  • Readying stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE), including 20 million tests ready to deploy where needed.
  • Strengthening our hospital systems, including preparations to ramp up the State’s Surge Operations Center in the event they are needed
  • Coordinating with federal and local partners.

Governor Hochul’s presentation on the Fall Action Plan is available here.

The Review will accomplish the following objectives:

  • Review the State’s COVID-19 response.
  • Identify strengths, best practices, as well areas where policies were deficient in meeting the public’s needs and identify key lessons to improve public health preparedness and response.
  • Report the key findings in a structured and timely manner and provide clarification as needed.
  • Provide key recommendations and prioritize or categorize those recommendations.
  • Prepare a planning guide for the State for use in a future emergency, including identification of the first steps the State should take when an emergency overwhelms existing plans on the level of Covid-19 occurs and recommendations on how to approach and guide executive decision making.
  • Recommendations should be specific, feasible, time bound, measurable, and adequately translated into an action plan(s).

The Review will focus on the following major areas of the State’s COVID response, including but not limited to:

  • Review policies and guidance on the management of hospitals and in-patient facilities in light of the pandemic’s demands, including which medical procedures could and should continue.
  • Review policies and guidance for the transfer of individuals, particularly the most vulnerable individuals, into congregate settings, including homeless shelters, group homes, nursing homes, jails and prisons, and which entities are most qualified to make those decisions and the efficacy of infection controls within those entities.
  • Review policies and guidance for the shutdown and reopening of educational institutions, and how early childhood, school age, special education and post-secondary educational programs were handled during COVID-19 and how they should be handled in a future emergency.
  • Factors for determining which businesses, industries, and functions should be considered essential and for what purposes.
  • The securing and procurement of essential goods and services to meet New Yorkers’ needs.
  • The protection needed for essential workers in the workplace, and programs and services needed by these workers, who are often from low-income communities of color.
  • Coordination among and between the State and its federal and local counterparts, including relationships with mayors, county leaders and other elected officials.
  • Effective education and communication with the public, including the sharing of data and other information.
  • Staffing and expertise needed to plan and implement emergency procedures and specific functions that must be fulfilled.

If you are interested in the Request for Proposal for the Review, click here


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