Council Member Debi Rose introduces two bills to help survivors of COVID-19 victims



As New York City continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Council Member Debi Rose will introduce two bills at the New York City Council's Stated meeting this afternoon that will help the city better serve survivors of those who have died of the disease.

The first bill would require the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to release monthly numbers, aggregated by borough, of how many children have lost parents, legal guardians or caretakers to COVID-19. The data would be released no later than Nov. 1, and would not include any personally identifiable information.

“Children who have lost parents to this disease are likely in need of supportive services,” said Council Member Debi Rose. “As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Youth Services, it is important to me that we meet those needs, and the first step in doing that is to collect accurate data. We will use this data to coordinate with city agencies and identify which supportive service programs need additional funding. These children are suffering losses, and we need to equip our agencies with the right tools to help them.”

The second bill would require DOHMH to fulfill death benefit requests from borough Public Administrators offices on an expedited basis. Under current policy, Public Administrators’ offices have had to retrieve death certificates in person or wait as long as nine months for electronic retrieval.

“Our Public Administrators are responsible for administering the estates and making burial arrangements for those who have died without close relatives present to make arrangements,” said Council Member Debi Rose. “In order to make these arrangements and protect these estates, a death certificate is necessary. Lack of an expedited process for securing death certificates can result in waste of an estate and a reduction of assets distributed at the final accounting.”

“During this global pandemic, the number of burials New York City's Public Administrators’ offices have had to arrange has dramatically increased, and we anticipate the increased volume to continue until a successful cure or treatment is developed,” said Edwina Frances Martin, Public Administrator of Richmond County. “To give a sense of the increase on Staten Island, my office had arranged for 41 total burials (not including stillborns) in all of 2019. As of today we have already arranged for 53 burials for calendar year 2020 and the volume continues at an accelerated pace.”




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