Communications regarding N95s and discussion of airborne coronavirus (New York State Department of Health)

ALEXANDER RICCIO filed this request with the New York State Department of Health of New York.
Tracking #

21-12-194

21-10-487

Multi Request Communications regarding N95s and discussion of airborne coronavirus
Due Dec. 27, 2021
Est. Completion Feb. 4, 2022
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, I hereby request the following records:

I request internal deliberations, memos, and/or emails regarding or mentioning:

The use of N95s and/or elastomeric respirators by healthcare workers in New York, non-medical workers in New York, and/or the general public of New York. I recommend search terms like "N95", "P100", "OV/P100", "elastomeric", "respirator", and all plurals thereof.

I also request records of discussions, memos, or emails, over whether to include any such N95s and/or respirators in regulations, orders, public guidelines, or information distributed to the public.

I also request records of any discussions, memos, or emails which mention "aerosols", aerosol spread, "airborne", or airborne spread of the coronavirus. Also to include, discussions, debate, or decisions, regarding any uncertainty or controversy over the routes of coronavirus contagion, be it droplet, fomite, or airborne.

I also request records of any discussions, memos, or emails mentioning a "risk analysis" for exposure of the public to coronavirus.

I also request records of any discussions, memos, or emails regarding the spread of coronavirus at distances greater than 6 feet, or when no other individual is present.

I also request records of any discussions, memos, or emails regarding coronavirus contact tracing that involve distances greater than 6 feet, or close contact times less than 15 minutes.

I also request records of any discussions, memos, or emails of the role of ventilation and/or filtration in coronavirus mitigations. Also to include in search terms, "ionizer"/"ionizers", "CO2", and "carbon dioxide".

I also request records of any discussions, memos, or emails about the "precautionary principle".

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

ALEXANDER RICCIO

From: New York State Department of Health

Good afternoon -

Attached is the Department of Health's response to your Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request #21-10-487

Records Access Office
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower, Rm 2364
Albany, NY 12237
P: (518) 474-8734
F: (518) 486-9144
Email: foil@health.ny.gov<mailto:foil@health.ny.gov>

[state]

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

I included multiple specific search terms. Surely you are able to search your records en masse for them?

From: New York State Department of Health

Dear Alexander Riccio -

As stated in the response letter, for this Office to perform a diligent search for responsive records, you would need to provide a list of the specific Department of Health employees whose communications you are seeking. Absent this information, the requested records are not maintained in a manner which permits practical retrieval.

Rosemarie Hewig, Esq.
Associate Counsel / Records Access Officer
NYS Department of Health
Division of Legal Affairs
Corning Tower, Room 2354
Albany NY 12237-0026
Phone: 518-474-8734

[state]

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

Are you able to assist in refining my request, or otherwise determine who to request information about, in any way?

From: New York State Department of Health

Feel free to contact me by phone at (518) 474-8734.

Rosemarie Hewig, Esq.
Associate Counsel / Records Access Officer
NYS Department of Health
Division of Legal Affairs
Corning Tower, Room 2354
Albany NY 12237-0026
Phone: 518-474-8734

[state]

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

I prefer to keep this exchange in writing, is that ok? It is much easier to make sense of these things when they're kept together in a platform like muckrock.

From: New York State Department of Health

It will be difficult to discuss by email. I would prefer you contact me by phone.

Rosemarie Hewig, Esq.
Associate Counsel / Records Access Officer
NYS Department of Health
Division of Legal Affairs
Corning Tower, Room 2354
Albany NY 12237-0026
Phone: 518-474-8734

[state]

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

I will see when I have time. Thanks.

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

Does the NYSDOH use the Office 365 based email system that I hear the state has been transitioning to?

It appears that Microsoft has deployed a feature very recently that lets administration perform a cloud-wide keyword search for exactly this kind of requirement:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/content-search

From: New York State Department of Health

Please be advised, the Committee on Open Government has emphasized that FOIL is meant to be a tool that enables the public to seek existing records. It is not a vehicle for submitting questions to the Department. Questions and requests for general information, as opposed to specific sets of records, should be directed to program staff or to the public relations office.

Rosemarie Hewig, Esq.
Associate Counsel / Records Access Officer
NYS Department of Health
Division of Legal Affairs
Corning Tower, Room 2354
Albany NY 12237-0026
Phone: 518-474-8734

[state]

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

For the record here on muckrock, and for my own note keeping, I had a nice brief conversation with Ms. Rosemarie Hewig, and she was very helpful with advice on narrowing my request down. There is currently *no action needed* by NYSDOH, until I amend my request. I will do so soon.

(An email will go out automatically to NYSDOH, you may disregard until I submit the required fixes)

From: New York State Department of Health

Dear Alexander Riccio -

Thank you for your email.

The New York State Department of Health responded to your FOIL request #21-10-487 by letter dated October 26, 2021, which was emailed to you to this email address. For your reference, a copy of the response letter is attached here.

Rosemarie Hewig, Esq.
Associate Counsel / Records Access Officer
NYS Department of Health
Division of Legal Affairs
Corning Tower, Room 2354
Albany NY 12237-0026
Phone: 518-474-8734

[state]

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

Sorry, I have not forgotten about this, just busy, but did not disable automatic follow up by muckrock. I have now. I will let you know when I make the required corrections.

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

Ok, would it work if I request that you link the search to the following people?

Howard Zucker (old commissioner)
Bill Schwartz (director of public affairs)
Sally Dreslin (Executive deputy commissioner)
Eugene heslin (first deputy commissioner)
Danielle Greene (chief of staff)
Gary Holmes (office of public affairs)
David Hernandez (health facilities management)
Bradley hutton (office of public health)
Anne schettine (office of quality and patient safety
Wilma alvardo-little (Office of minority health and health disparities prevention)
Celeste m Johnson, associate commisioner
Jill Montag (director of communications)
Eleanor Adams (special advisor to the commissioner of health)

From: New York State Department of Health

Good afternoon -

Please see the attached correspondence regarding your Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request.

Records Access Office
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower, Rm 2364
Albany, NY 12237
P: (518) 474-8734
F: (518) 486-9144
Email: foil@health.ny.gov<mailto:foil@health.ny.gov>

[state]

From: New York State Department of Health

Good afternoon -

Please see the attached correspondence regarding your Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request.

Records Access Office
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower, Rm 2364
Albany, NY 12237
P: (518) 474-8734
F: (518) 486-9144
Email: foil@health.ny.gov<mailto:foil@health.ny.gov>

[state]

From: New York State Department of Health

Dear Alexander Riccio:

I write regarding the above-referenced FOIL request, in which you seek various Department of Health correspondence. The Department's program area is in the process of locating and assembling documents that may be responsive to your request. However, the Records Access Office needs to clarify the request to ensure that we provide any and all responsive materials. Can you please provide a timeframe for your request?

Any clarification/specification would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Records Access Office
New York State Department of Health
2364 Corning Tower, Albany, NY 12237
(518) 474-8734 | Fax (518) 486-9144
foil@health.ny.gov<mailto:foil@health.ny.gov>

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

Fair enough. Howabout narrowing to January 1, 2019?
That should easily encompass most anything I'm looking for.

From: New York State Department of Health

Dear Alexander Riccio:

Attached please find the Department of Health's letter pertaining to the above-referenced request.
Regards,
Records Access Office
New York State Department of Health
2364 Corning Tower, Albany, NY 12237
(518) 474-8734 | Fax (518) 486-9144
foil@health.ny.gov<mailto:foil@health.ny.gov>

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

There has been some kind of miscommunication... Apparently muckrock has decided on it's own to send my 1/18/2022 communication by mail. I intended to clarify asking for records to be narrowed to the time since January 1, 2019?

From: New York State Department of Health

Dear Alexander Riccio -

Thank you for your email.

Attached is a copy of the Department's October 26, 2021 response letter to your FOIL #21-10-487.

Please note, the reason for the denial of your request, as stated in the response letter:

Your FOIL request is denied pursuant to New York Public Officers Law § 89(3), as your request fails to reasonably describe the records you are seeking with sufficient detail to enable this Department to locate them. For this Office to perform a diligent search, you would need to provide a list of the specific Department of Health employees whose communications you are seeking. Absent this information, the requested records are not maintained in a manner which permits practical retrieval.

Thus, providing a date range for your request does not provide sufficient detail to enable the Department to locate the records you are requesting.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Rosemarie Hewig, Esq.
Associate Counsel / Records Access Officer
NYS Department of Health
Division of Legal Affairs
Corning Tower, Room 2354
Albany NY 12237-0026
Phone: 518-474-8734

[state]

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

I apologize if there has been some further miscommunication. On 12/08/2021, I had sent a response asking for the request to be narrowed to the following people:

Howard Zucker (old commissioner)
Bill Schwartz (director of public affairs)
Sally Dreslin (Executive deputy commissioner)
Eugene heslin (first deputy commissioner)
Danielle Greene (chief of staff)
Gary Holmes (office of public affairs)
David Hernandez (health facilities management)
Bradley hutton (office of public health)
Anne schettine (office of quality and patient safety
Wilma alvardo-little (Office of minority health and health disparities prevention)
Celeste m Johnson, associate commissioner
Jill Montag (director of communications)
Eleanor Adams (special advisor to the commissioner of health)

From: New York State Department of Health

Dear Alexander Riccio –

Thank you for your email.

Please be advised, your Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request #21-10-487 was responded to and closed on October 26, 2021.

If you wish, you may submit a new FOIL request.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Rosemarie Hewig, Esq.
Associate Counsel / Records Access Officer
NYS Department of Health
Division of Legal Affairs
Corning Tower, Room 2354
Albany NY 12237-0026
Phone: 518-474-8734

[state]

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

I am not sure I understand, there may be some further miscommunication. We have corresponded on this request 1/6/2022, 1/11/2022, and 1/24/2022. Surely we wouldn't have been corresponding about clarification on a request that was already closed/rejected?

From: New York State Department of Health

Dear Alexander Riccio –

The request was closed. Attached is a copy of the October 26, 2021 response letter.

Rosemarie Hewig, Esq.
Associate Counsel / Records Access Officer
NYS Department of Health
Division of Legal Affairs
Corning Tower, Room 2354
Albany NY 12237-0026
Phone: 518-474-8734

[state]

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

Something here is inconsistent. It appears my followup on December 8th 2021 and January 5, 2022, have been classified as FOIL #: 21-12-194, compared to the original, classified as FOIL #: 21-10-487.

Is it possible there has been some form of administrative mixup here?

If FOIL #: 21-12-194 is the correct designation, I had intended all of:

my 12/08/2021 communication
my attempted 01/18/2022 communication
my 01/22/2022 and 01/24/2022 communications

To apply to that request.

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

Something here is inconsistent. It appears my followup on December 8th 2021 and January 5, 2022, have been classified as FOIL #: 21-12-194, compared to the original, classified as FOIL #: 21-10-487.

Is it possible there has been some form of administrative mixup here?

If FOIL #: 21-12-194 is the correct designation, I had intended all of:

my 12/08/2021 communication
my attempted 01/18/2022 communication
my 01/22/2022 and 01/24/2022 communications

To apply to that request.

From: New York State Department of Health

Yes, 21-12-194 is the correct FOIL number.

Thank you for clarifying. We will review your clarification correspondence and proceed accordingly.

Rosemarie Hewig, Esq.
Associate Counsel / Records Access Officer
NYS Department of Health
Division of Legal Affairs
Corning Tower, Room 2354
Albany NY 12237-0026
Phone: 518-474-8734

[state]

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

Ok, if that works out, then you may ignore the new request that I attempted to open this morning (https://www.muckrock.com/foi/new-york-16/communications-regarding-n95s-and-discussion-of-airborne-coronavirus-redux-124379)

From: New York State Department of Health

Good Afternoon,

Attached you will find the NYS Department of Health's Extension letter for the above referenced matter.

Thank you

Records Access Office
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower, Rm 2364
Albany, NY 12237
P: (518) 474-8734
F: (518) 486-9144
Email: foil@health.ny.gov<mailto:foil@health.ny.gov>

From: New York State Department of Health

Dear Alexander Riccio

In response to the fax that our office received today from MuckRock, please see the attached letter that was sent to you on March 14, 2022 via email at the following address: requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

If this email address is no longer valid, please provide a current email so that future correspondence will be able to reach you.
Regards,
Records Access Office
New York State Department of Health
2364 Corning Tower, Albany, NY 12237
(518) 474-8734 | Fax (518) 486-9144
foil@health.ny.gov<mailto:foil@health.ny.gov>

From: New York State Department of Health

Dear Alexander Riccio:

I write regarding the above-referenced FOIL request. The Department of Health's program area is in the process of locating and assembling documents that may be responsive to your request. Our office needs to further clarify the request because, as currently worded, it has generated an extremely large volume of correspondence - even with the timeframe that you provided. Can you please provide any additional means to narrow the various parts of your request?
This FOIL is very broad at the moment - any clarification/specification would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Records Access Office
New York State Department of Health
2364 Corning Tower, Albany, NY 12237
(518) 474-8734 | Fax (518) 486-9144
foil@health.ny.gov<mailto:foil@health.ny.gov>

From: ALEXANDER RICCIO

If you drop the following, does that reduce the number of responsive documents enough?:

"risk analysis", spread of coronavirus at distances greater than 6 feet, coronavirus contact tracing that involve distances greater than 6 feet, or close contact times less than 15 minutes.

From: New York State Department of Health

Good Afternoon,

Attached you will find the NYS Department of Health's Extension letter for the above referenced matter.

Thank you

Records Access Office
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower, Rm 2364
Albany, NY 12237
P: (518) 474-8734
F: (518) 486-9144
Email: foil@health.ny.gov<mailto:foil@health.ny.gov>

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