Mayor releases summer heat wave plan for NYC amid COVID-19 crisis
As the weather gets warmers, Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City is setting up a COVID-19 heat wave plan.
The mayor says the three goals of the plan are to keep vulnerable New Yorkers cool and safe at home, create safer summer cooling options and prevent and respond to power outages.
To help vulnerable New Yorkers stay safe at home, the city will provide air conditioners to all low-income seniors.
The city will use $55 million to purchase over 74,000 air conditioners. The mayor says 22,000 air conditioners will go to NYCHA residents. Installation should start as soon as next week.
Eligible New Yorkers will be identified by NYCHA, DFTA, HRA and HPD. City caseworkers will conduct direct outreach.
Vulnerable New Yorkers will also receive help with summer utility bills. He says 450,000 New Yorkers will receive a subsidy on summer utility bills that are typically 20 to 30% higher in summer due to air conditioning.
New York City is petitioning the Public Service Commission to double their current commitment to subsidize summer bills, increasing customer benefit by $160 over the summer.
The city also plans on using potential stimulus funding for air conditioning. The city says it will request New York state allocate its share of national energy assistance from the federal CARES Act for summer relief.
The city will also take into effect social distancing, PPE and staffing for cooling centers this summer. The city is identifying cooling centers in high-risk and hard-hit communities, planning appropriate social distancing standards and supplying PPEs.
The mayor says the city is aiming for non-traditional cooling centers with alternative sites such as sports venues, auditoriums and other large venues.
City parks will be creating misting “oasis” in seating areas and identifying spray showers for children in low-income neighborhoods.
DEP is creating a plan for scheduled hydrants openings, and GetFood will deliver hydrating beverages like Gatorade and Pedialyte.
Along with cooling sites and parks, the city will look to prevent and respond power outages during the summer months.
To prevent future outages the city will have major upgrades to the Flatbush network, NYCEM leadership on ground in ConEd situation room and monthly interagency meetings.
There will also be 60 portable generators ready for emergency deployment, acquiring 22 more for NYC stockpile.
There will also be a focus on adult care centers and nursing home facilities. The city will encourage New York state to mandate generator hookups at adult care facilities and communicate with nursing homes on critical preventative maintenance.
The mayor also gave more information about pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome.
He says 110 cases have been detected in New York City with 54% of those cases testing positive for COVID-19 or antibodies. There has been one reported fatality.
He says 35% of cases are between the ages of 0 to 4, 25% between ages 5 to 9, 24% between ages 10 and 14 to 16% between ages 15 to 21.
The Bronx has the highest number of cases with 37% followed by Queens at 33%, Brooklyn at 20%, Manhattan at 7% and Staten Island with 3%.
The mayor says 57% of the cases are male and 43% female.
The race with highest percentage is African American at 24%, Hispanic at 14%, Asian at 10%, white at 9%, other at 5% and 38% unknown.