March 30, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide Public-private Hospital Plan to Fight COVID-19

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

State Department of Health Will Work With Statewide Healthcare Systems to Create a Command Center to Share Information About Supplies Among Hospitals

 

Announces First 1,000-Bed Temporary Hospital at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center Open and Accepting First Patients Today

 

Governor Cuomo: "We brought the healthcare system from across the State of New York together to come up with one coordinated plan. Not private hospitals and public hospitals, not New York City hospitals and Long Island hospitals or Westchester hospitals, upstate hospitals, not big hospitals and small hospitals, the entire healthcare system convened, coordinated, working as one for the first time in decades. No one can ever remember the way we have deployed and coordinated like this. Why? Because this is a statewide battle. And we want to make sure that we are all coordinated and we are all working together. That is exactly what we have accomplished."

 

Cuomo: "The frontline battle is in the health care system. The frontline battle is going to be hospitals across the city, across the state, and across this nation. That is where this battle is fought. It is that simple... don't let the hospital system get overwhelmed. The soldiers in this fight are the health care professionals. It's the doctors, it's the nurses, it's the people working in the hospitals, it's the aides. They are the soldiers who are fighting this battle for us."

 

Cuomo: "New York, yes, we have it now intensely. There will be a curve. New York at one point will be on the other side of the curve and then there will be an intense issue somewhere else in the nation. And the New York way is to be helpful. Help New York, we're the ones who are hit now. That's today, but tomorrow it's going to be somewhere else, whether it's Detroit, whether it's New Orleans, it will work it's way across the country. And this is the time to help one another."

 

Cuomo: "This is a deadly, serious situation. And, frankly, it is more important than politics, and it is more important than partisanship. And if there is division at this time, the virus will defeat us. If there was ever a moment for unity - this, my friends, is the moment. In this situation, there are no red states, and there are no blue states, and there are no red casualties, and there are no blue casualties. It is red, white and blue."

WYSIWYG

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a statewide public-private hospital plan to fight COVID-19. As part of the plan, public and private hospitals from across the state have agreed to implement a new balanced approach to fighting the virus where hospitals that are beginning to reach or exceed capacity can transfer patients to other hospitals that are not as full.

 

The hospital systems across the state have also agreed to share supplies, staff and other resources as needed. The State Department of Health will work with the statewide healthcare system to create a command center to share information between hospitals about the supplies each hospital has in stock and the supplies each hospital is ordering. This central inventory system will help ensure purchasing and distribution of supplies is done strategically and efficiently.

 

The Governor also announced that the first 1,000-bed temporary hospital at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is open and accepting patients today. The temporary hospital site was constructed in one week.

 

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

 

Let me thank them all very much for being here. We just had a great meeting, which I'll refer to in a moment. Let me also wish everyone a happy National Doctors Day. This is a day that doctors are truly busy and truly stepping up to their oath and their passion, and literally saving lives. So, we honor the doctors in the State of New York today. Let me also than the people from the Javits Center. Alan Steel, who is the director here. The Javits center has done many magnificent exhibitions and transformations, and they never cease to amaze me. But this is a transformation that I don't think anyone could ever anticipate. 2,500 beds as an emergency hospital. It is a partnership between state and federal government. I want to thank the federal government very much for what they have done. The Army Corps of Engineers did a fantastic job moving in here and getting everything set up as quickly as possible. Itwill become operational today - receiving the first few patients. We will start to run the facility and then we will take it from there. 

 

Let me go through a couple of facts to give you an update on where we are today, and then we will take your questions. In terms of the number of cases, you see the curve continues to go up - 7,195. You see the number of people tested continues to go up. This state is testing more people than any state in the United States - more per capita than China or South Korea. That is a good thing. We want to test. We want to find the positives. And we want to find the positives so we can isolate and stop the transmission. We tested 14,000 people yesterday. The number of cases continues to go up - 6,984. Total number of cases is 66,000 and those numbers are daunting to be sure.

 

You see it is continuing to move across the State of New York. There is only one county now that does not have a COVID case. Anyone who says the situation is a New York City only situation is in a state of denial. You see this virus move across the state. You see virus move across this nation. There is no American who is immune to this virus. I don't care if you live in Kansas. I don't care if you live in Texas. There is no American that is immune. What is happening to New York is not an anomaly. There is nothing about a New Yorker's immune system that is any different than any other American's immune system. So, in many ways New York is just a canary in the coal mine. What you see us going through here, you will see happening all across this country. 

 

So, part of what we doing here is not only serving New Yorkers, but we believe we are dealing with this pandemic at a level of intensity and density that no one has seen before, and hopefully we will learn lessons here that we can share with people across this nation. In terms of the overall numbers, 66,000 tested positive. 9,500 people are currently hospitalized. 2,000 ICU patients. 4,000 patients are discharged, that is an increase of 632. You don't often focus on this line when we have these conversations. But people go into the hospital and people leave the hospital, and that is important to remember.

 

We have dealt with some really deadly viruses before. We dealt with the Ebola virus and that is not what this is. Most people will get sick. Most people will get sick and stay home and have some symptoms. That's 80%. 20% will get sick and need hospitalization. They'll feel better and they'll leave. It tends to be those who are acutely ill, have an underlying illness, who have the most problems. 

 

The most impacted states, New York is at 66,000, New Jersey is next with 13,000,California is at 6,000. So, we have ten times the problem that California is dealing with. 1,218 death in the State of New York. Total of 148,000 cases. 1,218 deaths,that is a lot of loss. That is a lot of pain. That is a lot of tears. That is a lot of grief that people all across the state are feeling. 1,200 is up from 965 deaths. Yesterday, what you are seeing is people who have been on ventilators for a long period of time. The longer you are on a ventilator, the less likely you will ever come off that ventilator. And as we have now some period of time when people first entered the hospital and were first intubated, we are seeing that death number go up as the length of time on the ventilator increases.

 

To keep it in perspective, the Johns Hopkins numbers are still instructive. We have been studying this since China. So, 732,000 cases and 34,000 deaths worldwide. Total hospitalized, we are still looking for a pattern on these cases that are coming in. We are still looking for a pattern in the data. The number goes up. The number goes down. There is no doubt that the number is still increasing. There is also no doubt that the rate has slowed. We had a doubling of cases every two days, then a doubling every three days, then a doubling every four days, then every five days. We now have a doubling of cases every six days. So, while the overall number is going up, the rate of doubling is actually down. The daily intubation rate is way up. Again, sometimes it is just an anomaly. There is no clear pattern as you can see from those past several nights. Discharge rate, again that by and large is going up. People come into the hospital, stay for a period of time, number of days, and then they move on.

 

But the big picture is the situation is painfully clear now. There is no question what we are dealing with. There is no question as to the consequences. There is no question as to the grief and loss of life. And there is no question about what we must do. There are only two missions. There are only two operations that we need to perform. First, the public has to be responsible. Stay at home, when I issued the stay-at-home order, it wasn't "it would be nice if you did." It is a mandate. Stay at home. If you are a non-essential worker, stay at home. if you leave the house, you are exposing yourself to danger. If you leave the house, you are exposing yourself to danger. If you leave the house, you are exposing others to danger. You could get infected, go home and infect whoever is at home. So, stay at home. I know the isolation can be boring and oppressive. It is better than the alternative. Life is options, right? Stay at home, that is the best option. If you are out, no proximity, six feet distancing. You don't want proximity to other people and you want to stay away from places that are dense.

 

Still, in New York City, you have too many places with too much density. I don't know how many different ways to make the same point. New York City parks, we made the point there is too much density. If you want to go to the park, go to the park, but not in a dense area, not in playgrounds where you are playing basketball with other people. I have said that New York City is trying to reduce the density in those playgrounds. Thus far, they have not been successful. If that continues, we will take a mandatory action to close down playgrounds, as harsh as that sounds, but it can actually save peoples' lives. That is mission one.

 

Mission two, and this will be more and more clear as we go on. The frontline battle is in the health care system. The frontline battle is going to be hospitals across the city, across the state, and across this nation. That is where this battle is fought. It is that simple. You know exactly where it's coming. You know exactly where the enemy is going to attack. They're going to infect a large number of people. That number of people descend on the health care system. The health care system can't deal with that number of people. You overwhelm the health care system. That's what's happening. 

 

First step was flatten the curve, reduce density, keep people home. We've done everything we can possibly do there. Second step is, don't let the hospital system get overwhelmed. The soldiers in this fight are the health care professionals. It's the doctors, it's the nurses, it's the people working in the hospitals, it's the aides. They are the soldiers who are fighting this battle for us. 

 

You know the expression, save our troops. Troops, quote, unquote - in this battle the troops are health care professionals. Those are the troops who are fighting this battle for us. We need to recruit more health care workers. We need to share health care professionals within this state and within this country. As Governor of New York, I am asking health care professionals across the country, if you don't have a health care crisis in your community, please come help us in New York now. We need relief. We need relief for nurses who are working 12-hour shifts one after the other after the other. We need relief for doctors. We need relief for attendants. If you're not busy, come help us please. We will return the favor. We will return the favor. 

 

New York, yes, we have it now intensely. There will be a curve. New York at one point will be on the other side of the curve and then there will be an intense issue somewhere else in the nation. And the New York way is to be helpful. Help New York, we're the ones who are hit now. That's today, but tomorrow it's going to be somewhere else, whether it's Detroit, whether it's New Orleans, it will work it's way across the country. And this is the time to help one another.

 

We need supplies desperately and we're working on that. We just had a very good meeting where we discussed supplies. I want to thank Michael Evans from Ali Baba who is here with us today. I want to thank Elizabeth Jennings who is here with us today. They are helping us source supplies, because we're in a situation where you have 50 states all competing for supplies. The federal government is now also competing for supplies. Private hospitals are also competing for supplies. So we've created a situation where you literally have hundreds of entities looking to buy the same exact materials, basically from the same place which is China, ironically enough. We're fighting amongst ourselves. We're competing amongst ourselves. 

 

When we started buying ventilators, they were under $20,000. The ventilators are now over $50,000 if you can find them. The ventilators didn't change that much in two weeks. The prices went up because literally we are driving the prices up. But we need to give our front line, our health care professionals, the supplies they need and we need to do it now. Our rule here in New York has been plan forward, to get ahead of the problem. The old expression is don't fight the last battle. This virus has been ahead of us since day one. We have been playing catch-up from day one. You never win playing catch up. Get ahead of the problem. Don't fight today's fight. Plan for two weeks, three weeks, four weeks from now when you're going to have the apex, and make sure that we are in a position to win the battle when the battle is truly drawn, which is going to be at the apex. That's why we are preparing stockpiles now. We're building a stockpile. The word stockpile, by definition, means not for immediate use. It means you are preparing for a battle to come. And you have to have the equipment, and you have to have it now.

 

I have done disaster work all across the nation. I can tell you this, if you wait to prepare for the storm to hit, it is too late, my friends. You have to prepare before the storm hits. And in this case, the storm is when you hit that high point, when you hit that apex. How do you know when you're going to get there? You don't. There is no crystal ball, but there is science, and there is data, and there are health professionals who have studied this virus and its progress since China. We now have months of data. Listen to the scientists. Listen to the healthcare professionals. Follow the data, and that is what we're doing here in New York.

 

We just had a great meeting where we brought the healthcare system from across the state of New York together to come up with one coordinated plan. Not private hospitals and public hospitals, not New York City hospitals and Long Island hospitals or Westchester hospitals, Upstate hospitals, not big hospitals and small hospitals, the entire healthcare system convened, coordinated, working as one for the first time in decades. No one can ever remember the way we have deployed and coordinated like this. Why? Because this is a statewide battle. And we want to make sure that we are all coordinated and we are all working together. That is exactly what we have accomplished at this meeting.

 

No politics. No partisanship. No division. There is no time for that, not in this state, not in this nation. This is a deadly, serious situation. And, frankly, it is more important than politics, and it is more important than partisanship. And if there is division at this time, the virus will defeat us. If there was ever a moment for unity - this, my friends, is the moment. In this situation, there are no red states, and there are no blue states, and there are no red casualties, and there are no blue casualties. It is red, white and blue. This virus doesn't discriminate. It attacks everyone, and it attacks everywhere. The president said this is a war. I agree with that. This is a war. Then let's act that way, and let's act that way now. And let's show a commonality in a mutuality and a unity that this country has not seen in decades, because the lord knows we need it today more than ever before.

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