Preliminary Phase I Results of Antibody Testing Study Show 13.9% of the Population Have COVID-19 Antibodies
Announces New Initiative to Ramp Up Testing in African-American and Latino Communities by Working with Places of Worship
Expanded COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing at NYCHA Facilities Begins Today
Announces $30 Million in Child Care Scholarships for Essential Workers and Supplies for Child Care Providers
Confirms 6,244 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 263,460; New Cases in 44 Counties
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the State Department of Health is partnering with Attorney General Letitia James to investigate nursing homes who violate Executive Orders requiring these facilities to communicate COVID-19 test results and deaths to residents' families.
The Governor also announced a new directive requiring nursing homes to immediately report to DOH the actions they have taken to comply with all DOH and CDC laws, regulations, directives and guidance. DOH will inspect facilities that have not complied with these directives, including separation and isolation policies, staffing policies and inadequate personal protective equipment, and if DOH determines that the facilities failed to comply with the directives and guidance, DOH will immediately require the facility to submit an action plan. Facilities could be fined $10,000 per violation or potentially lose their operating license.
The Governor previously issued Executive Orders and the Health Department and CDC have issued guidance requiring nursing homes to provide personal protective equipment and temperature checks for staff; isolate COVID residents in quarantine; separate staff and transfer COVID residents within a facility to another long-term care facility or to another non-certified location; notify all residents and their family members within 24 hours if any resident tests positive for COVID or if any resident suffers a COVID related death; and readmit COVID positive residents only if they have the ability to provide adequate level of care under DOH and CDC guidelines.
Additionally, Governor Cuomo and Attorney General James announced New York State will increase staffing through the New York state professional staffing portal and expand training and technical assistance for nursing homes to use the professional staffing portal. The State will also continue to provide PPE to these facilities on an emergency basis, and families of nursing home residents who are concerned about the care they are getting can file complaints by calling 833-249-8499 or by visiting www.ag.ny.gov/nursinghomes.
Nursing homes have been our top priority since day one, and the state has put in place very strict rules and regulations during this crisis to protect and support both vulnerable residents and frontline workers in these facilities.
Governor Cuomo also announced the preliminary results of phase one of the state's antibody testing survey. The survey developed a baseline infection rate by testing 3,000 people at grocery stores and other box stores over two days in 19 counties and 40 localities across the state. The preliminary results show 13.9 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies and are now immune to the virus.
The Governor also announced a new initiative to ramp up testing in African-American and Latino communities by using churches and places of worship in those communities as a network or possible testing sites. The Governor will partner with Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Representative Yvette Clarke and Representative Nydia Velázquez on this initiative.
The Governor also announced expanded COVID-19 diagnostic testing for residents of public housing in New York City is beginning today. The Governor previously announced the new partnership with Ready Responders to ramp up testing at NYCHA facilities.
The Governor also announced that New York State will provide child care scholarships to essential workers. Essential workers include first responders such as health care providers, pharmaceutical staff, law enforcement, firefighters, food delivery workers, grocery store employees and others who are needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Child care costs will be covered with $30 million in federal CARES Act funding for essential staff whose income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level - or $78,600 for a family of four - and will be paid at market rate for each region statewide. Essential workers can use the funding to pay for their existing care arrangement. If an essential worker needs child care, they can contact their local child care resource and referral agency to find openings.
The Governor also announced the CARES funding will also be used to purchase supplies for child care providers statewide who remain open, including masks, gloves, diapers, baby wipes, baby formula and food. Child care resource and referral agencies will receive grants totaling approximately $600 per provider. Providers looking for supplies should contact their local child care resource and referral agency.
"Nursing homes have been our top priority since day one, and the state has put in place very strict rules and regulations during this crisis to protect and support both vulnerable residents and frontline workers in these facilities," Governor Cuomo said. "These facilities have become the optimum feeding ground for the virus, and the State Department of Health is going to partner with Attorney General Letitia James to ensure nursing homes are following the rules we've put in place and properly caring for and protecting our seniors as we continue to fight this virus."
"We recognize that the most vulnerable New Yorkers are continuing to suffer through this crisis at nursing homes across the state," said Attorney General James. "While our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit continues to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect in the system, we launched a hotline where residents, families, or members of the public can share complaints about nursing homes that have not provided required communications with families about COVID-19 diagnosis or fatalities. The hotline will also accept complaints about nursing home abuse and neglect, including failure to follow rules to keep residents safe. Every nursing home should be provided with adequate PPE and testing, and enhanced infection control protocols must be implemented to protect residents. I am grateful to the workers in our nursing homes who continue to serve and support our vulnerable residents. These workers deserve our respect and must also be tested and protected during this time. My office will continue to work hard to protect nursing homes residents and make sure their rights are preserved during this crisis and beyond."
Finally, the Governor confirmed 6,244 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 263,460 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 263,460 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows: