May 14, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces Fifth Region Hits Benchmark to Begin Reopening May 15th

TOP Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript:...

Central New York Joins North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions, Which Have Met the Seven Metrics Required to Begin Reopening After NYS on Pause Orders Expire on May 15th

 

Business Guidance for Phase One of the State's Reopening Plan is Available Here

 

Initial $3 Million in Grants Available to Businesses to Manufacture Emergency Medical Supplies and Equipment

 

Announces President Trump has Expedited $3.9 Billion in Funding for the MTA at the Request of the Governor

 

Confirms 2,390 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 343,051; New Cases in 45 Counties

 

Governor Cuomo: "Phased opening does not mean the problem has gone away. It means we have controlled the problem because of what we did and because of our individual responsibility and individual actions and that has to be maintained and I would urge local governments to be diligent about the business compliance and about individual compliance. Then if you see a change in those numbers react immediately. React immediately. If you allow this virus to get ahead of us we will have a problem. So we'll have of the data. React immediately."

 

Cuomo: "At the same time the states need help from the federal government and that's a topic that's being discussed now. Washington must act. It must be smart. It must be fast. New York State has a $61 billion hole. Well what does the State fund? The State funds local governments, fund schools, funds health care. ... If local governments get cut then you cut police and firefighters. Why would you ever want to cut essential frontline personnel at this time makes no sense."

WYSIWYG

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, earlier today Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that as of today, Central New York has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state's regional phased reopening plan when NYS on PAUSE orders expire on May 15th, joining the North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions. If the trend continues, these five regions can begin opening businesses for phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup; and agriculture, forestry and fishing. Business guidance for phase one of the state's reopening plan is available here. A guide to the state's "NY Forward Reopening" Plan is available here. The state's regional monitoring dashboard is available here.

 

The Governor also announced an initial $3 million in grants are available to businesses to manufacture emergency medical supplies and equipment. Companies interested in growing or starting a medical supply business should go to www.esd.ny.gov.

 

Governor Cuomo also announced that President Trump has expedited $3.9 billion in funding for the MTA at the request of the Governor.

 

Finally, the Governor confirmed 2,390 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 343,051 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 343,051 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

 

County

Total Positive

New Positive

Albany

1,509

15

Allegany

44

0

Broome

383

1

Cattaraugus

64

3

Cayuga

60

0

Chautauqua

44

1

Chemung

132

0

Chenango

112

0

Clinton

81

3

Columbia

327

9

Cortland

33

2

Delaware

67

1

Dutchess

3,474

45

Erie

4,671

65

Essex

32

0

Franklin

17

0

Fulton

144

4

Genesee

175

1

Greene

207

1

Hamilton

5

0

Herkimer

86

2

Jefferson

69

1

Lewis

12

1

Livingston

106

3

Madison

255

2

Monroe

2,019

60

Montgomery

69

1

Nassau

38,743

156

Niagara

710

20

NYC

188,545

1,295

Oneida

698

12

Onondaga

1,423

28

Ontario

129

20

Orange

9,771

78

Orleans

145

3

Oswego

78

2

Otsego

67

0

Putnam

1,115

7

Rensselaer

423

3

Rockland

12,596

53

Saratoga

415

5

Schenectady

597

10

Schoharie

47

0

Schuyler

8

0

Seneca

49

0

St. Lawrence

192

0

Steuben

230

0

Suffolk

37,544

239

Sullivan

1,168

33

Tioga

108

0

Tompkins

136

0

Ulster

1,495

14

Warren

227

4

Washington

215

1

Wayne

89

5

Westchester

31,792

181

Wyoming

77

0

Yates

22

0

 

VIDEO of the Governor's remarks with ASL interpretation is available on YouTubehere and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here

  

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here

    

PHOTOS will be available on the Governor's Flickr page

   

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

 

Good afternoon, everyone. It's our pleasure to be at the Upstate Medical Center today. Let me thank all the nurses and doctors here for their extraordinary work and what they've done. Doctors and nurses from Upstate Medical Center made themselves available all across the state and they were really fantastic so we thank them all very much. It's a pleasure to be with Mayor Walsh and County Executive McMahon. I thank them for being here. I think President Dewan for his hospitality. 

 

We have with us today from my far right Dr. Howard Zucker, our State HealthCommissioner who has been doing outstanding work. To my right Michaela Kennedy Cuomo, the youngest of my three. I thank her very much for being here. She was going to come with us yesterday but she had an appointment with her pillow that could not be broken despite an executive order. To my left Secretary Melissa DeRosa, to her left Gareth Rhodes.

 

First again I want to thank all the nurses and doctors here and all across the stateand the country who have done just truly, truly extraordinary work. Thank you for being with us this afternoon. This morning I wanted to make sure I could watch the hearing that was going on in Washington to see if there was anything that we could learn.

 

Today is day 75. It feels like a lifetime but it's 75 days since we had our first case. You can see so far so good in terms of the continuing decline in the total number of hospitalizations in the state, on the three-day rolling average also. The number of intubations is down and that's really good news. The number of new cases which is what we're watching, these are the new cases statewide, new diagnoses, people who are in hospitals who test positive or people who walk in the door who test positive. It's much, much better than it was. The number of lives lost is also down,still terrible and tragic but headed in the right direction so all the arrows are pointed in the right direction. We're basically right back to where we were before we started this horrific situation.

 

The question then becomes reopening. It's not a question of reopening or not. Everybody wants to reopen. We have to get back to work. People need apaycheck. The state needs in an economy. People have lives to live so everybody wants to reopen. The question is how you reopen and from the national experts,global experts, make sure you don't reopen too soon. What they mean to be saying buy too soon is you have to reopen intelligently and you have to reopen in a calibrated way. Nobody says don't reopen. They say just be intelligent about the way you reopen. 

 

Follow the data, follow the science, follow the facts, follow the metrics. We know enough now to know what happens, that every action has a reaction. If we do this then this will happen. We've lived this enough. So based on what we know make sure we're being intelligent, not emotional, not political, not based on feelings but based on facts. Learn the lessons of other people who have gone through this.Other states have gone through it. Other countries have gone through it. There are experiences that we can learn from. Educate yourself and be smart. Be smart. 

 

Check the data on a daily basis and we have the data on a daily basis. We've put together a very elaborate reporting system on testing data, on hospital data from all across the state. That data is now available on a daily basis and you can track that data and know exactly where you are. It's like taking your blood pressure every morning. It's like getting your cholesterol count every morning. You can know exactly where you are every morning. Not just for the elected officials, not just for government. This is all about what people do. This is about what citizens do and what the elected officials are trying to do, what I'm trying to do is to inform the citizens so they can better protect themselves and they know what decisions they should make and that's why all the information we're accumulating we're making it in a very transparent way and I hope people get up in the morning, they have theircup of coffee and they go online to find out where their county is, how are they doing and calibrate their behavior that way.

 

The State has developed a very elaborate dashboard of relevant local information. They told me they were designing a dashboard. I got very excited about it. I sent them a picture of what I think is one of the really iconic dashboards - 1967 Corvette, arguably the most beautiful dashboard. I said they should consider that design when they were doing a state dashboard. They came back with this design - it's the New York State dashboard. How it in any way mirrors the dashboard from a 1967 Corvette I have no idea but, how can government be expected to have the same artistic design that we had 50 years ago? So here's the State dashboard. You notice the iconic design and curves and art that was used in it but it has all the information even if it's not the most artistic and it has all the information for all the regions statewide. So every region can compare themselves to other regions in this state. 

 

Right now by the criteria that we have which is basically from the federal CDC, we have certain regions that are poised to reopen tomorrow, other regions where the numbers do not suggest they're in a position to reopen. This is all based on the metrics and the numbers. How many hospitalizations do you have? Are the cases going up? Are they going down? Do you have your testing in place? Do you have your testing in place? Obviously we have different rates of infection across the state, hence the variance in opening times.

 

The big responsibility is now going to fall to local government to manage this situation and my advice to local governments are in terms of priority: daily monitoring of numbers daily monitoring of numbers, and daily monitoring of numbers are the first three priorities. Know the facts. Know what you're dealing with. You know what activities you engaged. You know how you increased the level of activity. We're measuring the effect of that activity. Make sure you monitor it every morning, every morning. Make sure the businesses that open are in compliance with the guidelines that are opening. Make sure individuals comply. You're going to say it's a reopening, people are going to say hallelujah, run out of their house, they're going to want to get out, they're going to want to do things. 

 

Phased opening does not mean the problem has gone away. It means we have controlled the problem because of what we did and because of our individual responsibility and individual actions and that has to be maintained and I would urge local governments to be diligent about the business compliance and about individual compliance. Then if you see a change in those numbers react immediately. React immediately. If you allow this virus to get ahead of us we will have a problem. So we'll have of the data. React immediately. 

 

At the same time the states need help from the federal government and that's a topic that's being discussed now. Washington must act. It must be smart. It must be fast. New York State has a $61 billion hole. Well what does the State fund? TheState funds local governments, fund schools, funds health care. If the State has no budget then schools get cut, hospitals get cut, local governments get cut. If local governments get cut then you cut police and firefighters. Why would you ever want to cut essential frontline personnel at this time makes no sense.

 

Washington has already acted. They've done a lot of businesses incentives great. But we need our healthcare institutions. We need our schools. We need our police and firefighters. I spoke with President Trump this morning. We spoke again about the State funding issues. He heard me out. I've also asked him to expedite certain payments and he's expediting a $3.9 billion payment to the MTA which is a very large transportation agency in the state which desperately needs funding because the ridership is way down and the President cut red tape and actually sent the first installment today so I'm grateful for that and I thank him.

 

The House meantime has proposed the bill. The bill does a lot of good. It fundsstate and local aid, $500 billion to make up for those shortfalls. It funds testing. Everybody talks about testing tracing, testing tracing. Those operations have to be put in place and New York State will wind up hiring thousands of tracers. We need funding to do that. I understand it's our obligation. States are in charge, governors are in charge, but we need help with funding.

 

The House bill repeals the SALT tax change that was made in Washington about three years ago and that tax change that they made cost New York State billions. The House bill repeals that change which is a significant, significant benefit to this state and ironically the states that were most hurt by SALT are the states that have of the most pain from the COVID virus. So repealing SALT actually is in my opinion the best thing you can do to help the states that are now battling the COVID virus.In New York State the SALT repeal increased our taxes12 to $15 billion, just New York State. We know pay 12 to $15 billion more every year to the federal government believe it or not so that would be a major boost but Washington has to act.

 

No delay, no special interests getting priority or special treatment here, and when we're doing these corporate bailouts make sure we don't make the mistake we made in 2008 where we gave corporations large bailouts and the corporations took the money and paid themselves with the money. I was Attorney General at the time. I brought cases against corporations that took the bailout and gave themselves all a pay raise. Why should the American taxpayers now bail outcorporations unless they're going to rehire workers. I'm afraid you're going to see corporations that will not hire bank the same number of employees. They're going to use this pandemic as a way to restructure or get lean. If a corporation is going to take government money they should rehire the same number of workers they had before. I did an op-ed in the Washington Post to that effect but I believe that should be a condition across the board. Any corporation that gets money from the government, from the people should hire back the same number of workers. If you want to lay off workers don't expect the taxpayer to subsidize you laying off workers.

 

It is a moment in our modern history where we can get out of this partisan gridlock, hyperpolitical moment. Now is the time. My position - funding for state governments is not a Democratic position. There's an organization called the National Governors Association. It's Democratic governors, it's Republican governors, the chairman is a Republican governor, I'm the vice chairman, and the NGA, National Governors Association, in a bipartisan way is urging Washington to pass the relief for state and local governments. So there's no red or blue here. It's red white and blue. 

 

Also at the same time we went through all this pain. People talk about reopening. Iwant to set the bar higher. It's not about just going back to where we were. Let's use this as a moment to grow and to get better. Let's learn from the pain that we went through and I talk about reimagining New York and let's use this as a moment to reimagine our education system, our telecommuting, our telemedicine, a better public transportation system, a better public health system. Take this experience and grow from it. Life will knock you on your rear end. That's true but do you get up and do you get up smarter? And that's the moment where we're at. One of the lessons we learned, they were speaking about in the hearing today. We should never again be in the position where we don't we have medical equipment. Where we're facing a pandemic, we're facing a major public health issue, and we don't even have basic equipment for nurses and doctors? And so much of it came from China? And governors such as myself are trying to figure out who do we know in China, to get masks for nurses in our hospitals. I mean it was terrible, what we went through. It's a matter of national security. And I want to make sure that we in New York are actually leading the way.

 

Let us start manufacturing here, in this country, in this state, masks and gowns and drugs, the ventilators, and the tests we need, and let New York start and we already have. But we should never again as a nation have to scramble the way we scrambled. We are now aggressively courting businesses, incentivizing businesses to build, to manufacture, medical equipment here in this state. And the state will partner with corporations to do that. So if you want to start, grow your business, expand your business manufacturing masks and gowns is not the most difficult situation technologically. The volume is the problem, the quantity. But we want to develop that here in this state. And then with this virus we must remain vigilant because we're still learning. Facts are in many ways still continuing to change on us. And while we're learning the virus is still learning also.

 

We have a situation that is serious and concerning, which is these COVID-related illnesses in children. Department of Health is now looking at a 110 cases of a COVID-related illness in children. It's similar to what they call Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome. We've lost a 5-year-old, a 7-year-old and an 18-year-old girl to this disease. New York State and Department of Health are at the forefront, nationally if not internationally in looking at this. And the Department of Health, good work of Dr. Zucker, they've had a number of telephone conferences, web conferences. 16 other states now see cases that they're investigating, once Department of Health explained what they've been looking at, six European countries are now looking at the same situation. And I expect this is only going to grow. Parents should beware, and parents should be informed of this. The key is prolonged fever. And then you see on the chart the other symptoms that parents should look for. Also it tends to present in children who were exposed to the COVID virus and actually now have the antibodies from the COVID virus or still test positive for the COVID virus. So if you have a child who has a fever, who you think may have been exposed to the COVID virus, a person who had the virus, we found out later came down with it and you see the symptoms, then you should take action. New York State has published today online the first-in-the-nation criteria for healthcare professionals to isolate, define, identify this syndrome and test for it. But it is very important - right now we have it affecting children from less than one year old, so infants to 21 years old, okay? When you look at over the 100 cases, that's the span, which is obviously a very frightening development. There's information on the website.

 

Last point, point of personal opinion. I'm the Governor of the State of New York and I take that responsibility very seriously. I'm honored to be governor. I work at seven days a week, 24 hours a day. But in many ways before being governor, I am a son. I'm a brother and uncle and I'm a father. As a parent, as a father, I just want to make sure I'm communicating especially this last situation to the people of the state and beyond. This virus has been ahead of us every step of the way. I can't tell you how many quote, unquote facts I was told that then changed, right? When the virus started the virus was coming from China, everybody was looking at China - turns out the virus came from Europe. Nobody told us. When this first started if you had the disease and recovered, you then had antibodies and you were immune. My brother had the virus, recovered, so we have the antibodies. We were told, "Well then you're immune from getting it again," and we had plans to have people who tested for the antibodies, they could go back to work because they were immune and the facts changed, "You know what maybe they're not immune, maybe they're only a little immune or they're partially immune." \Then we were told, children are not affected by the virus - that was the only good news by the way in the whole first evaluation. "Children aren't affected. Okay, now maybe children are affected. And we just didn't know it." Okay, well what do we know now? Well we're studying 100 children from one to 21." Okay, Michaela, my daughter is 22. "Well we only have people up until 21, so she's okay." Yeah until we have someone who's 22 or 23 or 24.

 

So, the facts change. I have done my best to give people the information that I know. But I want you to have the same caution flag that I live with. The facts in this virus have changed. And I believe they will continue to change. So, take this all with a grain of salt. My basic point is, do not underestimate this virus. It has beaten us at every turn and it has surprised us at every turn. Don't take it lightly. Don't underestimate it. I believe the facts will change as we go forward. The more we learn about the virus, the more the facts change, and the worse it gets. There has been no news since we started this where we were actually too cautious or too concerned. All the news has been bad as far as I'm concerned.

 

So, with all this information, with all government is doing - hearings in Washington, all this - you know who's going to protect you? You are. You know who's going to protect Michaela, 22-years-old? Michaela being informed. Michaela understanding. I like to think, with a little advice from a parent, that she discounts 99%, but maybe 1% of the advice communicates. Michaela's graduating from college this year, they closed the college. She said you know, a lot of people are having parties and they're having graduation-like events. Should I go? At 22, you can't tell them anything 22. I couldn't tell them anything at 21, 20, 19. I said here's the facts, this is what we know. Is it worth the risk to do it? Michaela's made all the right decisions, but every parent, every child, it's your job to understand and protect yourself. I just urge caution because everything I say, I tell you everything I know, but I'm also telling you there are things we don't know yet. How do you protect yourself from those things?

 

Just be cautious, be diligent. Wear a mask, wear gloves, stay away from gatherings - I know they're inconvenient, but God forbid, you know, just God forbid. I've talked to too many families who've lost people. I've talked to too many people who've lost people who were not supposed to be lost to this virus. When this started, this was just about vulnerable people - senior citizens, comorbidities. Yeah, then how do you lose a 40-year-old who had no symptom of anything, right? Children were not affected. Yeah, until children are affected.

 

So, caution to everyone. Whatever I know, I will communicate. But again, it's about you protecting you and I heartily recommend caution and diligence.

 

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