Governor Confirmed 88 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 613
Confirms Novel Coronavirus-Related Death in New York State, a 65-Year-Old Man in Rockland with Underlying Health Problems
Earlier today during a novel coronavirus conference call briefing, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo confirmed the second coronavirus-related death in New York State - a 65-year-old man with multiple health problems. Earlier in the day the Governor confirmed the first coronavirus-related death in New York State - an 82-year-old woman in Brooklyn who had a pre-existing respiratory disease of emphysema.
Governor Cuomo confirmed 88 additional cases of novel coronavirus since the last briefing, bringing the statewide total to 613 confirmed cases in New York State.
AUDIO of the conference call where the announcements were made is available here.
A rush transcript of the conference call is available below:
Hi, this is the Governor. On the telephone we have Budget Director Robert Mujica. I just wanted to give you an update on the theory that more information is good.
We discussed on the previous briefing that I was considering an executive order to deal with the current political petitioning process because it makes no sense that people have to go door to door right now collecting petitions. I spoke to political leaders on both sides of the isle and we're going to change the petition process so that you only need 30 percent of the eligible signatures, 30 percent of the requirement of the signatures, to qualify and you'll have until Tuesday 5:00 o'clock to actually collect petitions. After Tuesday 5:00 o'clock petitioning will be closed. You need 30 percent of the legal requirement for that office to qualify.
We're also going to allow absentee ballots for all voters in the election that's in Queens County and I encourage all voters to take advantage of the absentee ballot. You can print it out at home, send it back, but it is better than going to a polling place which is obviously many people coming in and out.
I earlier announced that we are waiving the co-pays for telemedicine. I strongly encourage all New Yorkers to do that. If you think you may have the virus walking into an emergency room only exposes other people. If you didn't have it, now you're exposed to people in the emergency room who may have it. It's also problematic for the medical staff so I know anxiety is high, go on telemedicine, give your symptoms, a doctor can diagnose it, take it from there, and it's totally without copay.
We had another death that was reported. It is a person who had coronavirus, a 65-year-old who had multiple health problems. After he passed and they did the autopsy, they identified coronavirus. Again, like the case this morning, was the 82-year-old woman with emphysema, this is what we have been talking about quote unquote vulnerable populations - underlying illnesses that can be aggravated by pneumonia.
The new numbers, which are going up because the testing is now ramping up at a dramatic rate, we have 613 positive cases, we have  new cases from when we last spoke. We have five in Albany, which is [one] new. We have four in Dutchess, which is one new. We have three in Erie County, which I believe is the first cases in Erie County. We have  new ones in Nassau for a total of 79. We have  new ones in New York City for a total of 269. And those are the main changes. Westchester County 178 with  new cases. One other fact that may be relevant is we're now up to 4,700 tests, with 736 additional tests since we last briefed this afternoon.
From my point of view, the main negative on closing the New York City school system is the possible effect on losing workers because they have to stay home and take care of their children. The most pressing issue of workers staying home are healthcare workers. Again, this is all going to come down to a hospital crisis, assuming we can't get the spread rate of the disease down. Hospitals won't be able to manage it and any shortage of workers would compound that - 1199 is the main union that represents healthcare workers. There have been conversations with them about alternatives - how do we provide childcare for workers so they would be freed up to go to work if the schools were to close. Could we run summer schools to make for the education? So we're trying to be very creative to come up with ways where we could close schools in New York City, but avert the negative, and again the main negative, which I have been saying, is losing healthcare workers for the hospitals. Remember also, 1199 is the main union that represents healthcare workers, so they are pivotal to that conversation. But, some progress, we're looking for creative solutions, and 1199 has always been a good partner and they're working with us. So that's a very positive step, not determinative, but positive.