January 9, 2021
Albany, NY

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces New Record High Number of COVID-19 Tests Reported

TOP Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo...

258,031 Test Results Reported to New York State Yesterday 

 

8,527 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide 

 

1,428 Patients in the ICU; 876 Intubated 

 

Statewide Positivity Rate is 6.57% 

 

188 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday 

 

Governor Cuomo: "That brings the number of UK cases in this country to just about 55, and we believe that it is more widespread than that number would suggest. That is, again, as far as I'm concerned, a situation with the federal government was asleep at the switch. If you remember, we heard about the UK strain, you had 120 countries that had required testing for people from the UK. New York required testing for people from the UK. The nation did nothing." 

 

Cuomo: "On the vaccine, we are greatly expanding the distribution network. We're adding thousands of new distribution sites, primarily by bringing in now pharmacies, doctors' offices, et cetera. The Department of Health is talking to distributors over the weekend. 1a and 1b are open. Hospitals will continue to prioritize health care workers. It's most important to get the health care workers vaccinated, especially with this UK strain out there. The UK strain is incredibly virulent and dangerous, so the hospitals will continue to prioritize healthcare staff, it's what's called the group 1a. The Department of Health is communicating with hospitals this weekend. It's essential that they offer the vaccine and make it available to all hospital staff. We're hoping for an acceptance rate close to 80 percent with a minimum of 70 percent." 

WYSIWYG

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that 258,031 COVID-19 test results were reported to New York State yesterday—a new record high.

 

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.

 

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

 

Good morning, still. Thanks for getting on the phone. I'm joined by Melissa DeRosa, Robert Mujica, Beth Garvey, Dr. Zucker, Gareth Rhodes, Peter Ajemian. I want to get through this call relatively quickly because 1 o'clock, we have to be ready for the Bills game, and I have to make sure I'm all situated, TV's working, right snacks.

 

Today is day 315. 258,000 tests. That's a new record in the number of tests. The numbers vary. Positivity rate, et cetera, varies with the number of tests. We're 258. Some days, we only have like 100,000 tests, 120,000 tests. When the number of tests is lower, we believe it tends to be more symptomatic people who are going for tests. But in any event, 258,000 tests, that's a one-day record. The positivity is 6.5. That is down from 7.7. Now, is that a function of more people being tested? You could suggest that, but 6.5 is down from 7.7. 188 New Yorkers passed away yesterday, which as I've said before, that's the most significant number to me. 8,527 hospitalized, that's down 34 from the day before. 1,400 in ICU, that's down 47. 876 intubated, that's down 36. So that is good news. Again, highest testing number ever.

 

Looking across the state, Mohawk Valley has the highest number. So that is the worst news. 10.5. Finger lakes, 9.8, Long Island, 9.7, Capital region, 9.5, North Country, 8.4, Western New York, 8.4, Central New York, 8.2, Mid-Hudson, 7.9, New York City, 6.2, Southern Tier, 4.9. Statewide, 7.7. New York City, Staten Island, 7.95. Bronx, 7.91, so Staten Island is highest. Queens, 7.51, Brooklyn, 6.7, Manhattan, 4.2.

 

Again, these variations tell a story. Hospitalizations, the highest rate is still the Finger Lakes, .07. Then Mohawk Valley, .06, Capital Region, .05, Central New York, .05, Long Island, .05, Mid-Hudson, .04, New York City, .04, Western New York, .04, Southern Tier, .03, North Country, .02.

 

Vaccines, 543,000 dosages given. Just to give you an idea of how that has increased since we have been focusing on the hospitals, and I have been direct with the hospitals but just to be clear, my friends, this is a matter of life and death and getting these vaccines administered is a top priority. I have been direct, but sometimes direct communication works.

 

In week one, hospitals administered 33,000 vaccines. In week two, 102,000 vaccines. In week three, 148,000 vaccines. This past week where we did a full court press, to-date 259,000. So, that's double but it was basically last week, this week hasn't ended yet. So, 33,000 week one, 102,000 week two, 148,000 week three, 259,000 to date, but the week is not over.

 

Bad news, because what would a day in the COVID War be without bad news, three more cases of the UK COVID strain have been found. Two cases are related to the Saratoga Springs jewelry store where we identified the first case. So, two additional cases related to that one case, that's the read from the Saratoga situation. Also, an additional case in Nassau County, it appears to be unrelated to the Saratoga case. What we know about the case in Nassau County is a 64-year-old male from Massapequa, New York. The sample was received from a private lab sent to the state Department of Health, which has been doing sampling. That brings the number of UK cases in this country to just about 55, and we believe that it is more widespread than that number would suggest. That is, again, as far as I'm concerned, a situation with the federal government was asleep at the switch. If you remember, we heard about the UK strain, you had 120 countries that had required testing for people from the UK. New York required testing for people from the UK. The nation did nothing.

 

On the vaccine, we are greatly expanding the distribution network. We're adding thousands of new distribution sites, primarily by bringing in now pharmacies, doctors' offices, et cetera. The Department of Health is talking to distributors over the weekend. 1a and 1b are open. Hospitals will continue to prioritize health care workers. It's most important to get the health care workers vaccinated, especially with this UK strain out there. The UK strain is incredibly virulent and dangerous, so the hospitals will continue to prioritize healthcare staff, it's what's called the group 1a. The Department of Health is communicating with hospitals this weekend. It's essential that they offer the vaccine and make it available to all hospital staff. We're hoping for an acceptance rate close to 80 percent with a minimum of 70 percent. Hospitals can do 1b after prioritizing the 1a workers. County Health Departments we're speaking with, we want them to focus on the allocations to the public employees in 1b.

 

I've asked the public employees where possible to organize a distribution network where police can do it, fire departments can do it, etcetera, and we're asking the health departments to primarily attend to those public employees. If you have volunteer firefighters and they cannot administer, organize their own administration, let the Health Department help with those. If you have a school district that needs help, let the county health department help with those but focus on the public employees. That will allow the pharmacies to focus on the largest group which is the public, 75-plus - that's 1.4 million people. 75-plus is by far the largest group in 1b. So that's the allocation of responsibility if you will. Hospitals, continue to prioritize health care workers. Simple question for a hospital - have you made the vaccine available and accessible to all your employees, prioritize health care workers, hospitals, but they're open to 1a, 1b. County health departments, focus on the public employees and the groups of public employees, 75-plus, pharmacies, doctor networks, reservations can become available on Monday. All this with a caveat of Matilda's Rule.

 

At this rate of supply, 300,000 per week, the State receives 300,000 dosages per week, it will take 14 weeks to do 1a and 1b. It will take 14 weeks to do 1a and 1b. Just because the reservations become available, don't expect everyone is going to get a reservation right away. By the rate of supply it will take 14 weeks. It will take 14 weeks for the public employees to get fully vaccinated. So if a police department starts vaccinating, prioritize your workforce assuming it's going to take 14 weeks. Teachers who start to get vaccinated get allocations from the local health department. Assume it will take 14 weeks and the question to the public employees we're not answering, if it take 14 weeks do you want to prioritize certain workers within your workforce? Query, teachers, do you want to prioritize teachers who are often in classrooms? Do you want to prioritize older teachers? Do you want to prioritize teachers in communities with higher infection rates? That's what the public employee unions should be thinking about. And I will stop there so I can get my potato chips ready. Questions?

 

You know Gareth, or Rob, I'm going to ask you after the first question if you can give an update about how the stadium is going today, if you have any update.

 

Gareth Rhodes: Sure. So we, all sides there has been very smooth administration so far. The test results, the full test results from the effort, there were 7,200 negative tests, 137 positive tests, 1.9 percent positivity. That was all the testing done before the game. Thirty lanes of drive through testing to get this done at a rapid pace. There is limited point of care testing available on game day if needed. So far, all the reports are that it's gone extraordinarily smooth and people are excited for the game.

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