State is Expanding Antibody Testing Survey to Test FDNY and NYPD Officers, Health Care Workers and Transit Workers
State is Opening Five New Drive-Through Testing Facilities in Monroe, Erie, Broome, Niagara and Oneida Counties
Temporary Medical Centers at the Javits Center, Westchester County Center, SUNY Old Westbury and SUNY Stonybrook Will Be Put on Hold for the Fall Flu Season
State is Providing $25 Million for Food Banks and Providers Most Impacted by COVID-19
Announces Nourish New York Initiative to Purchase Food and Products from Upstate Farms and Direct it to Food Banks Across the State
Two Million Bottles of NYS Clean Hand Sanitizer Have Been Distributed Across All 62 Counties
Confirms 3,951 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 291,996; New Cases in 43 Counties
Governor Cuomo: "Know what you are doing before you do it. Those are words to live by... We want to un-pause. May 15 is when the pause regulations expire statewide... But you have to be smart about it. We all have to be smart about it. As we said there is no light switch where you flip a switch and everybody goes back to doing what they are doing. We have to take these circumstances into consideration. We have to learn the lessons, we have to move forward and we have to be smart because if you are not smart you will see that infection rate go right back to where it was."
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the results of phase two of the state's antibody testing survey. The preliminary results show 14.9 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies. The preliminary results of phase one of the state's antibody testing survey released on April 23rd showed 13.9 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies.
AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.
PHOTOS are available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Big Monday crowd. Hope you guys have a good weekend. Welcome back. I had a very nice weekend, not that anybody is asking. Nice weekend with the girls and boyfriend. I like the boyfriend. If anyone asks, boyfriend has departed the premises.
Monday. This is the total hospitalization rate which you see is basically flat. Flat is not great, but flat may be a reaction to the weekend, Sunday discharges may be down. We have the same question, how fast and how steady is the decline? We don't want to see flat, we want to see an increase in decline. We want to see how fast that decline goes and how low does the decline go. When does that hospitalization rate get down to a truly manageable number? When does the incoming case number get down to a manageable number?
You see again overall hospitalization rate is on the decline. Again, yesterday little less than we would like to see. Hopefully it was a Sunday anomaly because of the weekend. Intubations is down. Number of new cases still 1,000 new COVID cases every day, puts it in perspective. Down a tad from where it was, but again these weekend numbers sometimes are a little strange. Number of lives lost, 337. Still tragically high, but on the decline if you look at it over the past few days. Not that that gives any solace to 337 families who are suffering today.
On testing, this has been a big topic, increasing testing. It's been a scramble for all the states. We're doing well on it. The testing tells you where we are and whether the infection rate is going up or going down. We've now tested 7,500 people statewide so that's a very significant number and it gives us a snapshot of where we are. Just a snapshot, but snapshot, snapshot, snapshot. You look at the different pictures and you have a movie at one point and you can track what is happening. With 7,500 people the percent statewide that's positive is 14.9. When we tested five days ago it was 13.9, 13.9 to 14.9, one point, statistically it's in the margin of error. I'd like to see the margin go the other way.
Male, female they both went up a point. Men are still more likely to have the virus than women by a couple of points. Whatever that bespeaks, I care not to speculate. These are the regional numbers in broad strokes. Long Island, 14; New York City is up a couple of point. Westchester, Rockland is up a couple of points. The rest of the state is basically flat. This is the infection rate by region. People hear "New York" they think New York City. Yes, we have New York City, we also have upstate New York, North Country, which is predominantly rural or suburban and you see different situations across this state. This is not a homogeneous state. So the Mohawak Valley, 2.6 percent; North Country it's 1.2 percent. Capital District, 2.1; Hudson Valley 10 percent, but that Westchester and Rockland in it. Central New York, 1.3; Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, Western New York, 7.1. Western New York is the high point of upstate. Hudson Valley, again, has Westchester, Rockland. We had a significant problem in Westchester, less so in Rockland so I think that skews that number. When you see 1.2 percent in the North County, 2.6 Mohawk Valley, Capital District, you see a much different situation than you're looking at in New York City where you're in the 20s. Different situations, different strategy going forward.
We are coordinating as a state. We are coordinating with our neighboring states. But you still have to take into consideration the variations across the state and that's what we are trying to navigate.
By race, you see the percent for Asians has ticked up, African-Americans actually down. Latinos went up 10 percent. Nobody can explain what caused that jump in this survey and it's something we are going to watch and we are doing more testing in lower income communities and African-American and Latino communities as we discussed.
And the age breakdown is fairly consistent with where it was. So that's where we are today in New York. New York City, obviously, high point number of cases in the country, higher than some countries globally, and upstate New York a very different reality.
Big question is reopening, especially for those places with less of an issue to begin with or places that have reduced their problems and I get a lot of local officials who are calling me. We want to talk about reopening, reopening, reopening.
Know what you are doing before you do it. Those are words to live by. I don't know who said it but it is a true axiom. We want to un-pause. May 15 is when the pause regulations expire statewide. I will extend them in many parts of the state. But in some parts of the state some regions you could make the case that we should un-pause on May 15.
But you have to be smart about it. We all have to be smart about it. As we said there is no light switch where you flip a switch and everybody goes back to doing what they are doing. We have to take these circumstances into consideration. We have to learn the lessons, we have to move forward and we have to be smart because if you are not smart you will see that infection rate go right back to where it was. We will be right back to where we were 58 days ago and nobody wants to do that.
So what I want to say to my regional colleagues is, be smart. Well, we want to reopen. Well, have you thought through reopening? And we have a couple of weeks, but start thinking through what it means to reopen. First question is, do we meet the CDC guidelines that say you reopen when you see a decline in numbers for 14 days?
Second, we talked about on the reopening bringing back construction and manufacturing as the first two industries, but how do you bring them back and what precautions are going to be in place? What precautions do you want those businesses to institute when they start? And part of this is on business. You know your business. I don't know your business. I don't know how you do business. How do you incorporate into how you do your business and where you do your business, the precautions that we want to take going forward? How do you do social distancing, how do you do monitoring, are you going to take the temperature of people who walk in the door, et cetera, and that's for government but it's also a question for business.
Healthcare capacity - you want to reopen a region. What is the healthcare capacity in that region? How many beds will you have available if that number goes up? How many ICU beds will you have available? Are you contemplating what's going to happen when the flu season kicks in in September where we could potentially now be dealing with COVID cases on top of flu cases - you have to test for both and possibly have hospital capacity for both.
Do we have testing in place? Is testing ready to go because testing is one of the main monitors, right? Do we have a tracing system in place? We all talk about testing tracing, isolating - that has to be in place. Test people, you then trace the contacts, you find the positive people and you isolate them. But you need a tracing system and this is something we have never done before, right? So that system has to be in place.
When we isolate people, where do they go? Isolation, once you find the person who is positive, basically you can say to the person, look, you can go home, but then you run the risk of infecting those people in your house. Or we could put you in an isolation facility. We have a hotel, et cetera, that we can put you in for two weeks. But you have to locate those facilities first.
We have to coordinate as a region. There is no one county in a region. It's a region. And these are the Regional Economic Development Council regions that have worked together. But we have to coordinate that region. So everybody in that region has to have the same policy when it comes to schools, when it comes to transportation, when it comes to testing, when it comes to tracing and that region's plan has to fit into our overall multistate plan. No attractive nuisances, attractive nuisances is a legal concept where you have a potentially dangerous situation that actually attracts people, normally children, to it. We can't open an attraction that might bring many people from outside the region and then overwhelm people in that region. You have a lot of pent-up demand and we have seen this before where when we are not coordinated, we have New York people going to Connecticut because Connecticut has parks or waterside access that's open. We don't want to create a situation where people flood an area because they are looking for something to do.
And then we need a regional control room, I call it. We have to be monitoring what happens when we start to reopen, and that entire region has to have a control room function where we are watching what's happening. For those friends who are more graphic, we are going to turn the valve on reopening, turn it a little bit, start to reopen, and then you watch the dials. What are the dials? Hospitalization rate, which we know now, we have been watching that. What does the antibody testing tell you? Antibody testing is important because it tells you the people who were infected, the infection rate, and now resolved because they have antibodies. What is the diagnostic testing, which is different type of testing, tell you? Positive and negative. But what's happening on the diagnostic testing? Those dials will give you the fourth dial, which is the infection rate, what's called the RT rate, the rate of transmission. so turn that valve a little bit for a region, watch those four gauges very carefully every day, see what's happening on those gauges. You can either close the valve, open the valve a little bit more or leave the valve where it is. But when I talk about the regional control room, that's what I'm talking about.
Getting that data in to one central place where everybody agrees on the numbers and everybody agrees on what we do is the next step. We have medical centers that were built. I spoke to President Trump about this this morning. When we were worried about the lack of capacity in the hospital system, the federal government was good enough to send in the Army Corps of Engineers. They did a phenomenal job in building beds quickly. We built a number of facilities. We are now talking about possibility of a second wave of the COVID virus or COVID combining with the regular flu season in September, which could be problematic again for the hospital capacity. So the facilities that were built, I spoke to the President about leaving them in place until we get through the flu season. God forbid we need extra capacity again. I don't want to have built - ask the federal government to build capacity, then take it down and then wind up in another problem area.
Javits Center, we have to think about because the Javits center is in the Javits convention center. It has 2,500 beds, so it's a great facility, but it's also in the convention center. You can't reopen the convention center, obviously, when it has the hospital beds in it. Westchester County Center, the same issue. It's also the Westchester Convention Center. So question mark on those facilities when we take them down or how we take them down. I'm going to speak to the County Executive in Westchester County, George Latimer, about that. Javits will be on hold for both facilities, now until we decide. But again, anticipate an issue in the future and make sure we're ready. But I want to thank, again, the Army Corps of Engineers, did a fantastic job. President Trump got it done and he got it done very quickly. So, those facilities, Javits, you know over 1,000 people went through Javits. We didn't need the whole facility but 1,000 people is a large number of people.
On Saturday, as you know, we expanded our diagnostic testing criteria for frontline workers, essential workers, et cetera. We'll be opening additional drive-through testing sites for those people this week. People can't just show up at a drive-through center. You have to call first, make an appointment, so we can handle the flow. We're also very concerned about making sure we get testing to our essential workers and our frontline workers.
We're going to be doing a survey of New York City fire department and New York City police department. This week, 1,000 and 1,000 respectively, just to find out again with the antibody testing, what is the infection rate. NYPD was out there every day and they paid a terrible toll. The attendance rate is now good again, many were out sick. But we want to know exactly where those frontline workers are, if they have been infected, we want to make sure people are getting help and we want to know exactly what happened. We'll also be doing 3,000 healthcare workers, these are hospital staff, nursing staff, doctors who are in the emergency rooms, to find out their situation. And we'll be doing 1,000 transit workers. These are the bus drivers, the train operators, who keep the public transit system working and we want to do testing to find out how they're doing.
We're seeing a tremendous demand in food banks, which is predictable in some ways. But, the numbers are very, very high, and we need to address it. 200 percent increase in Westchester, 100 percent increase New York City, 40 percent on Long Island, 40 to 60 percent across Upstate New York. So we're going to commit $25 million for emergency funding for those food banks. I'm also asking philanthropies to help. Many philanthropies said they wanted to help and step up. This is a, I would say the number one thing they can do to help, and if they are interested, please let us know and we'll supplement the state funding with philanthropies funding.
We also have an issue across upstate where, because the markets are so roiled, some farm cooperatives are actually dumping milk because the market can't consume it. This is just total waste to me. We have people downstate who need food. We have farmers upstate who can't sell their product. We have to put those two things together. It's just common sense. But we have to make that marriage between product upstate and need downstate. And we're going to launch a special initiative to do that. We're also immediately to stop this dumping of milk, going to work with industries in our state who can use the milk and get it to people who need it. So I want to thank these companies who will be working with us to buy the excess milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, and then we'll give it to the food banks that are downstate.
When it comes to reopening, and I talked about what I'm going to speak with the regions about, but I don't want to just do reopening. We have to use this moment to reimagine and be smart and grow. This is one of those moments. If you look back in history, sometimes it takes a crisis to wake people up, and it takes a crisis to change the body politic to actually accept change, because change is hard to make, and if you look at the instances in the past where we've had significant problems, you'll see we were normally smart enough to learn and to grow from them.
So, reimagine New York means don't replace what was, build it back better and we have done that in the past. Chicago fire, 1871, killed 300 people, but we learned stricter fire safety laws. San Francisco earthquake, 1906, the same thing was devastating, but that led to better construction and earthquake standards. Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire here in New York, 1911, started a whole workers' rights movement and safety in the workplace. Mississippi flood 1927, that's when the Flood Control Act started and we woke up and started building levees and dams, etcetera. Great Depression, FDR pivoted from that crisis to an entire new economic structure. We went through 9/11 and we are better and safer as a society for it. Department of Homeland Security was formed on the federal side, which has been the single largest innovation in the federal government. Even Superstorm Sandy that we went through, 2012, I was part of that. It was devastating, but New York is better for it. We have a power grid that's now better. We raised all of our electric stations. We changed our infrastructure along the waterfront. We built houses back to different code. So, it's that process that we have to go through here. What did at the learn? How do we change? How do we improve?
We talked about tele-education, yeah, we went through it, we had to go through it, but it didn't go as well as it could have gone. We didn't have any notice. But let's learn the lessons. Let's do better. Telemedicine showed great potential. You don't have to go to the doctor's office. You can do a lot by telemedicine. How did we learn that? Public transportation, we're still learning. How do we clean and disinfect a public transportation system on a daily basis? I mean, just think about the scale of that undertaking. How do you do it? We're still trying to figure it out. And then how do you have a better public health system? Because we were not ready for this. Our health system was not ready for any public health crisis that would demand more capacity or more coordination. So, let's learn from that.
And let's have a society that is more social equity. You look at the people who paid the highest price for this crisis. They were the people who were in the least good position to pay. The poorest among us always pay the highest price. Why is that? Why do the lower income communities see this disease in higher proportions? Why were the essential workers who had to show up disproportionately African- American, Latino?
So, is life going to be different? Yes, life is going to be different. But different in this case can mean better if we're smart about it. And when we are finished going through this, we should be tougher and smarter and more resilient and more unified and better than before. Last point, A.J. Parkinson, great quote, "I respect elected officials who aren't typical politicians." Elected official does not have to be a politician. Politician has bad connotations to politicians. The word politician. You can be an elected official who is not a typical politician. Not a go along, get along kind of guy. You know, not a make no waves kind of guy.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear stood up, said to his senior senator in the state, Mitch McConnell that Mitch McConnell was wrong on saying he wouldn't provide funding to state and local governments and wrong in saying states should go bankrupt. It is hard for a governor, especially Andy, who is a relatively new governor, to stand up to a senior official and speak truth to power. That is hard. Takes guts. Takes courage. And you don't get that from a typical politician. So, it warms my heart to see an elected official who is not a typical politician. Thank you, Governor.