GOVERNOR CUOMO PROVIDES UPDATE ON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS WHILE REMINDING NEW YORKERS FLU IS STILL PREVALENT
Still No Confirmed Cases of Novel Coronavirus in New York State
Since Start of Flu Season the Number of Laboratory-Confirmed Flu Cases and Hospitalizations Continues to Climb
Find Locations Where You Can get the Flu Shot Near You Here, and Track Flu Cases in Your Area Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today advised New Yorkers that State and local health departments and healthcare partners are remaining vigilant and have a high state of readiness to protect New Yorkers from novel coronavirus. He also advised New Yorkers of the ongoing risk for seasonal flu and urges them to take recommended precautions to prevent both. As of today, the New York State Department of Health has sent samples from 11 individuals to the CDC for testing for the novel coronavirus, with seven found to be negative and four more still pending. There are no confirmed cases in New York State.
Regarding flu however, the number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases and hospitalizations has increased every week since flu season began in October. Flu season occurs primarily from October through May, and the 2019-20 season has yet to peak.
"New York does not have one single confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, but we are taking every necessary precaution to protect against its spread into our state. We have been here before, and I want to remind New Yorkers that it is much more likely that they will be exposed to the influenza virus than to the coronavirus," Governor Cuomo said. "I am urging New Yorkers to take basic precautions against the flu, such as regular hand washing and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. These measures will also help people avoid coming in contact with the novel coronavirus."
The latest influenza surveillance report shows seasonal flu activity continues to increase in across New York State. Last week 2,015 New Yorkers were hospitalized with lab-confirmed influenza, up eight percent from the previous week. This season, there have been 11,539 flu-related hospitalizations. In addition, last week, 15,012 laboratory-confirmed flu cases were reported to the State Department of Health, an 11 percent increase in cases from the week prior. There has been a total of 72,385 lab-confirmed cases reported this season, with three flu-associated pediatric deaths. Influenza activity data is available on the New York State Flu Tracker. The Flu Tracker is a dashboard on the New York State Health Connector that provides timely information about local, regional and statewide influenza activity.
On January 3, the State Department of Health issued a statewide health advisory alerting healthcare providers to the dramatic increase in flu activity across New York State. The advisory also encourages providers to promote the effectiveness of patients getting vaccinated to help prevent the spread of influenza. While the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary, this year's flu vaccine is likely to be more effective against the types of flu viruses that are circulating this season.
Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "As flu is considered widespread in New York State, taking everyday preventive steps such as washing hands often, covering a cough or sneeze and staying home when experiencing flu-like symptoms will help prevent the spread of the flu. These same actions will help protect New Yorkers against the novel coronavirus."
The latest increase in lab-confirmed flu hospitalizations comes after Dr. Zucker declared flu prevalent in December throughout New York State. The announcement put into effect a regulation requiring that healthcare workers who are not vaccinated against influenza wear surgical or procedure masks in areas where patients are typically present.
The State Health Department recommends and urges that everyone six months of age or older receive an influenza vaccination. The vaccine is especially important for people at high risk for complications from influenza, including children under age 2, pregnant women and adults over age 65. People with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma and heart disease, are also at greater risk, as are individuals with weakened immune systems due to disease or medications such as chemotherapy or chronic steroid use. Since influenza virus can spread easily by coughing or sneezing, it is also important that family members and people in regular contact with high risk individuals get an influenza vaccine.
While there is currently no vaccine for novel coronavirus, the same simple preventative measures for influenza can help stop the spread. Last week the Department of Health issued guidance to healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, clinical laboratories, colleges and local health departments to provide updated information about the outbreak, and ensure the proper protocols are in place if a patient is experiencing symptoms consistent with the novel coronavirus, had a travel history to Wuhan, China, or had come in contact with an individual who was under investigation for this novel coronavirus. Additionally, the Department has hosted a series of informational webinars for hospitals, colleges and local healthcare providers. The Department of Health is also working closely with the Centers for Disease Control to receive daily updates.
More information about the novel coronavirus is available here.
For Governor Cuomo's previous statements on novel coronavirus:
New Yorkers Have More Time to Get Covered in 2020: NY State of Health Open Enrollment Deadline Extended to February 7
Enroll Now for Affordable, High-Quality Health Coverage in 2020
Free, In-Person Enrollment Help is Available: Click Here to Find a NY State of Health Certified Assistor
ALBANY, N.Y. (January 28, 2020) – NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace, announced that consumers will have an additional week to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) for 2020. The Open Enrollment deadline has been extended until February 7 to give consumers more time to enroll. NY State of Health’s Customer Service Center representatives and in-person assistors are available to help individuals find the best plan for themselves and their families.
Enrollment through NY State of Health continues to grow with more than 4.8 million enrolled across all programs. Currently, 259,153 consumers have enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan. Twenty percent of enrollees are new, and 80 percent have renewed their coverage.
“While the Trump Administration continues to roll back the Affordable Care Act, we are doing the opposite in New York,” said NY State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore. “By extending the Open Enrollment Period, we are putting consumers first, making sure they have time to find the plan that best fits their needs and enroll in coverage for 2020.”
New Yorkers can easily find plans and check their eligibility for financial help by entering their ZIP code, household income and the ages of those who need coverage using the Marketplace estimator tool. Nearly all Marketplace enrollees will see no increase in costs in 2020. This includes enrollees in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, Essential Plan and QHPs who receive tax credits. Consumers who receive premium tax credits, typically about 60 percent of QHP enrollees, will see no change, or in some cases a small decrease, in the cost of coverage compared to 2019.
NY State of Health has made important changes to QHP cost-sharing levels to improve the value of insurance products to enrollees. In 2020, standard Silver products have a lower deductible -$1,300 down from $1,700 in 2019. Also new in 2020, standard Bronze products now cover three free “sick visits” to a provider without copayments or being subject to the deductible. Additionally, there are Gold and Silver plans in every county that also include three low-cost sick visits not subject to the deductible. This benefit ensures that consumers can receive primary care when they need it.
Consumers can enroll in a health plan:
The Customer Service Center is open Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and has extended hours this weekend: Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Consumers can enroll online until 11:55 p.m. on Friday, February 7. Once the Open Enrollment Period ends, consumers may sign up for a QHP only if they experience a qualifying life-change event, such as losing health coverage, getting married, having a child or moving. Enrollment in the Essential Plan, Medicaid and Child Health Plus is available year-round.
About NY State of Health
New York opened its health plan Marketplace, NY State of Health, in October 2013. The Marketplace’s one stop health insurance shopping experience offers high quality comprehensive health plans. NY State of Health is the only place where consumers can qualify to get help paying for coverage through premium discounts or tax credits. Eligible New Yorkers can also enroll in Medicaid, Child Health Plus and the Essential Plan through the Marketplace all year. For more information about the NY State of Health Marketplace, please visit: https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/ or call Customer Service at 1-855-355-5777, TTY: 1-800-662-1220 or find an enrollment assistor.
Contact: New York State Department of Health
518-474-7354, Ext. 1
Sharp Increase in the Number Flu Cases and Hospitalizations Reported Across New York State
Older adults among those at greatest risk for serious complications from influenza
Find Locations Where You Can get the Flu Shot Near You Here
With the dramatic increase in the number of reported flu cases and hospitalizations across the state in recent weeks, the New York State Office for the Aging reminds older New Yorkers and caregivers about the importance of getting their flu vaccination as soon as possible. It’s not too late—flu season can extend as late as May.
“The best way to protect against the flu is to get an annual flu shot,” said Acting Director Greg Olsen. “Our immune systems are more easily compromised as we age, and older adults, especially those with chronic health conditions, have an increased risk of developing serious complications from the flu. Getting the flu vaccine helps prevent the spread of the virus and offers vital protection for older adults and their caregivers.”
Flu activity has been high this season and continues to increase. According to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), last week 1,964 New Yorkers were hospitalized with lab-confirmed influenza, up 34 percent from the previous week. To date, there have been 5,694 flu-related hospitalizations. In addition, 10,085 laboratory-confirmed flu cases were reported to the State Department of Health last week, a nine-percent increase in cases from the week prior. There have been 32,848 lab-confirmed cases of the flu reported so far this season.
Influenza symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People infected with the flu may also have respiratory symptoms without a fever. The flu can cause mild to severe illness. Adults aged 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions, young children, and pregnant women are among those who are at highest risk.
Older adults often bear the greatest burden of severe flu consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in recent years between about 70% and 85% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older, and between 50% and 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among older adults.
According to the CDC, adults over the age of 65 should take the following precautions:
About the New York State Office for the Aging and Health Across All Policies/Age-Friendly New York
New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) continuously works to help New York State’s 4.3 million older adults be as independent as possible for as long as possible through advocacy, development and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented, and cost-effective policies, programs, and services that support and empower older adults and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private organizations that serve them.
New York is nationally recognized for being the first age-friendly state in the nation. Using the state’s Prevention Agenda as the overarching framework, in 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched a Health Across All Policies approach, where public and private partners work together to positively impact population health by marrying health care, preventive health, and community-design, in concert with addressing social determinants of health, to improve the lives of all New Yorkers, young and old.
Stay connected—download the NYSOFA mobile app for iOS or Android; visit the NYSOFA Facebook page; follow @NYSAGING on Twitter; or visit www.aging.ny.gov.
The Association on Aging in New York (AgingNY) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Rebecca Preve has been appointed as Executive Director. Preve started in her new role January 6th at the not-for-profit membership organization, which provides leadership for New York's expansive aging services network to promote independence, preserve dignity and provide support for New York State residents as they age.
AgingNY Board of Directors President AnnMarie Maglione said, “The AgingNY Board is excited to continue the valuable work of the aging network under Becky’s leadership. Becky brings a wealth of knowledge and a commitment to the aging population that will benefit the residents of New York State. Her leadership will be instrumental in continuing to expand services and supports for the older population, their families and caregivers.”
New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen said, “I am thrilled that Becky has joined the Association. Her passion and knowledge of both the clinical and non-clinical environment make her the perfect choice to lead the aging network in this new environment that seeks to address the social determinants of health and expand value based payment arrangements to include the aging network, and further our first-in-the-nation efforts around business acumen to strengthen the connection between health and non-health organizations to better serve older New Yorkers.”
For the past six years, Becky Preve served as Director of the Franklin County Office for the Aging where she substantially increased revenue, expanded services to older residents and their families, and better connected various public and private systems and organizations to serve older New Yorkers more holistically. Her hard work helped save not only Franklin County but New York State money while improving outcomes for the customers they serve. Additionally, she has served as an acute care social worker at a rural northern New York hospital, and continues to hold numerous Board of Directors seats, including for the Hospice of the North County, Adirondack Health Institute, and the Joint Commission for Economic Opportunity. Preve received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, and has received Certification from the Institute for Health Care Improvement.
AgingNY provides advocacy and support for the state’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) in strengthening and expanding long-term services and supports for older adults. By providing home and community-based services, AAAs work to make it possible for older adults to live with independence and dignity in their homes and communities of choice, often for much longer than would be possible without this assistance. AgingNY also provides professional development and educational opportunities through webinars, regional forums, in-person and online training, and a yearly leadership institute. Each year, AgingNY holds Aging Concerns Unite Us (ACUU), New York’s premiere professional development conference for aging service professionals. Now in its 24th year, ACUU is focused on best practices, innovative programs, and service delivery reforms that enhance services and programs for older adults and further New York’s State’s efforts to serve as the first age-friendly state in the nation.
New York State ranks fourth in the nation in regards to residents 60 or older, with 4.3 million people residing within it. It is estimated that by 2030, this population will grow to more than 5.3 million individuals, or 25 percent of the state’s population. Furthermore over the next decade, 52 of the state’s 62 counties are estimated to have populations consisting of at least 25 percent aged 60+. It has been estimated that 24 of these counties will have at least 30 percent of their population above age 60. As the aging population continues to grow, AgingNY, the state’s 59 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and the ever growing network of more than 1,200 aging services provider organizations are committed to supporting the changing demographics and evolving desires and needs of New York State’s older adults and their loved ones.
About the Association on Aging in New York (AgingNY)
The Association on Aging in New York (AgingNY) supports and advocates for New York's 59 mostly county-based Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and works collaboratively with a network of organizations that exist to promote independence, preserve dignity, and provide support for residents of New York State as they age. For more information on AgingNY, visit www.agingny.org or call 518-449-7080.