April 7, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces State Will Invest in Private Companies to Bring Rapid Testing to Scale

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

Interested Businesses Should Contact Empire State Development at 212-803-3100 or [email protected]

 

State Department of Health has Developed a Test to Detect Antibodies to the COVID-19 Infection in an Individual's Blood

 

Issues Letter to New York's Congressional Delegation Outlining the State's Need in the Next Federal COVID-19 Legislation

 

Governor Announces Relief for Approximately 300,000 New York Student Loan Borrowers Not Covered by Federal CARES Act

 

Agreement With Major Servicers Including, Navient, Nelnet, PHEAA, MOHELA, and Others Includes Deferred Collection of Payments, Waived Late Fees

 

Governor Signs Executive Order Allowing State to Redistribute Ventilators & Personal Protective Equipment to Hospitals with Highest Need

 

Confirms 8,174 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 138,863; New Cases in 45 Counties

 

Governor Cuomo: "It's going to come down to how good we are with testing. ... But you have to have that testing and you have to have that testing on a scale. You have 19 million people in the State of New York. Just think of how many people you would need to be able to test and test quickly."

 

Cuomo: "That is the largest single day increase and we talk about numbers but that's 731 people who we lost. Behind every one of those numbers is an individual, is a family, is a mother, is a father, is a sister, is a brother. So a lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers and they're in our thoughts and prayers."

 

Cuomo: "It's not about me. It's about we and what's good for all of us. My health is in your hands and your health is in my hands. The health of those healthcare workers and those first responders and all those people who have to show up to work every day to keep society functioning, we are responsible to them, also."  

WYSIWYG

Earlier today, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the state will invest in private companies to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to scale and accelerate testing capacity. Businesses interested in working with the state to manufacture these rapid tests on a large scale should contact Empire State Development at 212-803-3100 or [email protected].

 

The Governor also announced that the State Department of Health has developed a test to detect antibodies to the COVID-19 infection in an individual's blood.  This test is an important step towards determining whether New Yorkers are developing immunity and when they could potentially return to work or school.

 

Governor Cuomo also issued a letter to New York's Congressional Delegation outlining the state's needs in the next federal COVID-19 legislation. The previous COVID-19 stimulus bills failed to adequately address New York's revenue losses and included restrictions affecting the state's Medicaid reforms.

 

The Governor also announced an agreement with the largest student loan servicers in New York to obtain relief for student loan borrowers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 who contact their private student loan servicer. Available relief includes 90 days of deferred monthly payments, waived late fees, no negative reporting to credit agencies, and enrolling eligible borrowers in available long-term assistance program. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, only provides relief to borrowers whose loans are owned by the federal government. This agreement with the student loan industry provides much-needed relief to these outstanding borrowers whose loans are privately owned. 

 

The New York State Department of Financial Services will issue guidance that reflects and complements the State's agreement with the private student loan industry and that also directs regulated student loan servicers to quickly and appropriately implement the relief provided by the federal CARES Act for borrowers whose loans are federally owned. New York student loan borrowers should visit DFS' website for more information about available student loan relief. 

 

The Governor today signed an Executive Order allowing the state to redistribute ventilators and personal protective equipment to hospitals with the highest need. The Executive Order also extends all NYS on Pause functions for an additional two weeks until April 29th and allows medical students that are slated to graduate to begin practicing immediately to help with the state's surge health care force.

 

Finally, the Governor confirmed 8,174 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 138,863 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 138,863 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

 

County

Total Positive

New Positive

Albany

333

14

Allegany

17

0

Broome

86

10

Cattaraugus

13

1

Cayuga

14

3

Chautauqua

16

1

Chemung

49

2

Chenango

51

5

Clinton

37

1

Columbia

61

2

Cortland

16

3

Delaware

36

7

Dutchess

1,249

60

Erie

1,135

112

Essex

7

0

Franklin

10

0

Fulton

13

2

Genesee

33

10

Greene

24

0

Hamilton

2

0

Herkimer

27

2

Jefferson

39

6

Lewis

6

0

Livingston

23

1

Madison

88

6

Monroe

596

22

Montgomery

18

3

Nassau

16,610

994

Niagara

126

6

NYC

76,876

4,695

Oneida

118

18

Onondaga

335

64

Ontario

33

1

Orange

3,599

202

Orleans

15

2

Oswego

31

2

Otsego

34

0

Putnam

366

21

Rensselaer

67

5

Rockland

5,990

287

Saratoga

155

2

Schenectady

145

7

Schoharie

12

1

Schuyler

4

0

Seneca

10

1

St. Lawrence

60

1

Steuben

75

0

Suffolk

14,517

1030

Sullivan

270

17

Tioga

8

0

Tompkins

97

3

Ulster

398

26

Warren

31

5

Washington

19

0

Wayne

35

1

Westchester

14,804

510

Wyoming

23

0

Yates

1

0

 

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:

 

Good morning. Everyone I think knows who is here. To my far right Dr. Malatras; Dr. Zucker; I'm technically a doctor also but not really; Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor; Robert Mujica, Director of the Budget.

 

Let's talk about today's numbers and where we are today. Total number of newly hospitalized is up from yesterday but when you look at the three-day averaging of these numbers the three-day average is down which is good news. This is the three-day hospitalization rate. We tend not to look at any one day, day to day it's up somewhat, but if you look at the three-day average it's moving down which is good news.

 

We talk about the apex and is the apex a plateau and right now we're projecting that we are reaching a plateau in the total number of hospitalizations and you can see the growth and you see it starting to flatten again. Again, this is a projection. It's still depends on what we do and what we do will affect those numbers. This is not an act of God that we're looking at. It's an act of what society actually does.

 

Change in daily ICU admissions is way down and that's good news. The daily intubations numbers down and that's good news. The discharge rate is right about where it was. The bad news is 5,489 New Yorkers have lost their lives to this virus. That is up from 4,758. That is the largest single day increase and we talk about numbers but that's 731 people who we lost. Behind every one of those numbers is an individual, is a family, is a mothers, is a father, is a sister, is a brother. So a lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers and they're in our thoughts and prayers, many people across this country.

 

While the discrepancy or the discordancy number of deaths is up, number of hospitalization dropping, the number of losses is a lagging indicator to the number of hospitalizations. What happens is a person goes into the hospital, if they're treated most of them are then released, they're discharged. Some stay. Some get put on a ventilator. The longer you are on a ventilator the less likely that you will ever come off that ventilator and that's why you're seeing the number of deaths increase, because these are people who came in at the peak. They were not successfully treated. They're on a ventilator. The longer you're on a ventilator the less likely you come off the ventilator.

 

New York is still the most heavily impacted state in the nation and New Jersey which is on the curve a little bit behind New York is suffering, and again our thoughts and prayers are with them. I spoke to Governor Murphy of New Jersey today and we talked through the situation and working on joint strategies but our heart goes out to all of our neighbors in New Jersey, Michigan, California, Louisiana.

 

In terms of how we're operating, how we're managing the situation, as we know the hospital system basically is a three-legged stool. It relies on the number of beds, number of staff, and the equipment. Number of beds, we have started with the system about 53,000 beds statewide. We're up to about 90,000 available beds. So we have more than enough beds available. Staff has been a problem, staffing. Health care staff is getting sick, they're overworked, they're stressed, they're under great emotional stress. You know, think about these health care workers. You're working in a hospital, in an emergency room that's overwhelmed. You're worried about your own health. You then go home. You're worried about bringing a virus home, if you're infected. At home is under stress as every home is under stress.

 

About 7,000 new staff have been hired from the pool that we have identified. These are retired health care workers who came forward. These are people from across the country who came forward. The state has a pool of potential employees. The hospitals hire from that pool, and they've hired about 7,000 to date. Equipment, that's the protective equipment. Ventilators, where we are. We are stretching and moving, but every hospital has what they need today. And then we balance the patient load among all hospitals, so no hospital, single hospital, or system gets overburdened. And that's a daily adjustment which takes tremendous cooperation among all of the health care institutions. I thank them very much for what they're doing.

 

And then we have the overload relief which is the Javits Center. 2,500 beds and the U.S. Navy Ship Comfort. the U.S. Navy Ship Comfort had 1,000 bed capacity. It was originally for non-COVID patients. What wound up happening was we don't really have non-COVID patients. Closed down society, there's fewer traffic accidents, crime is down. So the original plan which was the Comfort would take non-COVID cases did from the hospitals didn't really work, because the hospitals didn't have non-COVID cases. I called the president yesterday morning, asked him to speak to the Department of Defense to see if they would change it to COVID. The president, to his credit, moved expeditiously, called me back yesterday afternoon, said they would make the Comfort COVID. When they make that transition, the capacity of the ship comes out from 1,000 to 500 beds because COVID patients require a greater treatment area, more space. And therefore the capacity of the ship came down from 1,000 to 500. It's still a tremendous benefit. So between Javits and the Comfort that's 3,000 beds, which is a welcome overload relief to the hospital system, which is already extraordinarily stressed.

 

But I spoke to General O'Shaughnessy today, who we spoke through the Comfort and Javits. The Department of Defense has been fantastic, and the number of military personnel they've sent up here and how quickly they've been sent up here. This is a tough assignment to run facilities this large and to come up to speed and to be handling this many COVID patients in a new startup emergency facility. This is a really difficult undertaking and they have really been fantastic. I want to thank them all and I want to thank the President for moving as quickly as he did.

 

We're working on a tri-state cooperative. As I mentioned, I spoke to Governor Murphy from New Jersey. I spoke to Governor Ned Lamont from the State of Connecticut. We coordinated the shutting down, if you will, when we did schools, businesses, et cetera, because this really operates as a tri-state area. A lot of people who live in New Jersey or work in New York or live in New York, work in New Jersey or Connecticut, so we talk about the tri-state area which is true. We try to operate to the best we can as that regional collaboration and that has been working well for us on schools, on the economy, on health care issues. We have to start planning restarting life. We're not there yet, but this is not a light switch that we can just flick one day and everything goes back to normal. We're going to have to restart that economy. We're going to have to restart a lot of systems that were shut down abruptly and we need to start to plan for that. I spoke to the governors, Governor Murphy and Governor Lamont about coming up with a regional metropolitan, tri-state approach to do just that. How do we, when we get to that point, which we're not at but how do we restart our economy and get everything up and running as quickly as possible.

 

My personal opinion, it's going to come down to how good we are with testing. You're not going to end the infection and end the virus before you start restarting life. I don't think you have that luxury. How do you start the economy back up? How do you start getting back to work as quickly as possible? It's going to come down to testing. You're going to have to know who had the virus, who resolved the virus, who never had it and that's going to be testing. And that is an entirely new field that we're just developing now. The New York State Department of Health developed an anti-body testing regiment that Department of Health has approved for use in New York State. That has to be brought to scale and the Department of Health is going to be working with the FDA to do just that.

 

This tests the blood to determine whether you have the anti-bodies which means you had the virus and resolved the virus. That's why you would have the anti-bodies for the virus. That would mean that you're no longer contagious and you can't catch the virus because you have the anti-bodies in your system which means you can get to work, you can go back to school, you can do whatever you want. But you have to have that testing and you have to have that testing on a scale. You have 19 million people in the State of New York. Just think of how many people you would need to be able to test and test quickly. The anti-body testing is part of that. Also, rapid testing to determine whether or not you have the virus now exists. They have quote, unquote 15 minute tests that are commercially available. But again, they have to be brought to scale. No private company has the capacity to bring those to scale. I was speaking with Governor Murphy and Governor Lamont - we are interested in working with private companies that can actually bring this testing capacity to scale and to scale quickly because again if you have the antibody testing that's part, if you can then test if a person is positive for the virus and you can do it that day you can get those results in 15 minutes, that's also another way to get back to life and do it quickly. So we're very interested in that New York, so is New Jersey, so is Connecticut. There are private companies that have these tests. Again, it's all up to scale. We're starting them in the state of New York. We only have about a 50,000 person testing capacity, which is nice, but is not of a scale that's actually going to make a large difference so private companies that are interested in getting into this space and coming up to scale quickly we are interested in those companies and we're interested in investing in those companies and they should contact us at empire state development corporation.

 

Also restarting life. The state budget, not just this state, but every state budget has been decimated by the situation. We shut down the economy. People aren't working; they're not paying income taxes. Businesses aren't operating so our budget just collapsed, right? Our revenues just collapsed. You want to restart the economy, you have to help restart the local governments, and that's going to be a federal act. I don't have the capacities of governor, no governor, does to generate revenue in a positive way from an economy that's not operating. That is going to be a federal stimulus bill. There's no other way to do this, and it has to be a stimulus bill that actually understands you have state and local governments that have to be brought up to speed and functioning if you want to facilitate this re starting up the economy. Federal government passed some legislation. As I've said at the time it was woefully inadequate from New York's point of view. We then have had some time to actually study the legislation - it actually gets worse when you read it. And it's not even what was represented to us initially, so I'm sending our congressional delegation later today saying the past legislation did good for the nation, I have no doubt gave aid to a lot of people in places that needed it, but it was not fair to New York and that has to be remedied in any legislation that goes forward.

 

The last I know it's been a frustrating 37 days, but it's only been 37 days, on the other hand. I know it feels like a lifetime. It's been so disruptive, so abrupt, so frightening, so disorienting, but it's only been 37 days, right? Everything in context and everything in perspective. I know it's tough to get up every day, and this is like Groundhog Day living through this bizarre reality that worry. It's even more difficult I think with the weather changing you feel the seasons changing and it's getting nicer and you start to open a new book of possibilities, and you know, now the weather is getting nice and I should be getting outdoors and I should be doing this and I should be doing this. I get it, but it's only been 37 days. I started by saying those numbers of cases, that's not arbitrary. What we do effects the number of cases. Our behavior effects the number of cases. We're generating the cases. They're not descending on us from heaven, right? It's our behavior. It's been 37 days.

 

The 1918 pandemic that we talk about peaked in New York for six months. It came through in three waves and it peaked for six months. 30,000 people died in New York during that pandemic. Why? They didn't react the way we did, they didn't know as much as we know today, they didn't have the same drug therapies, but we are changing the curve in that virus growth. You see that plateauing, that's because of what we are doing. If we don't do what we are doing that is a much different curve and that's what happened in the past. So, social distancing is working. Well, you shut down all the businesses. I know. Well you shut down all the schools. I know, but it is working. That's why you see those numbers coming down. If we were doing the same rate of interaction, those numbers would still be going up. So, to the extent we see a flattening or a possible plateau, that's because of what we are doing and we have to keep doing it. I know it's hard, but we have to keep doing it.

 

To the extent it takes an effort, remember at this time it's about we and it is not about me. I know what I would like to be doing. I would like to be going - it's motorcycle weather for me. It's time to get out on the water. It's time to go hiking in the Adirondacks. I get it, it's not about me. It's not about me. What I do will affect other people. It will affect my family, it will affect other people. It will affect people in those emergency rooms who are killing themselves every day to keep other people safe. I get infected, I will affect them. So, we all talk about society and community and interconnect and interrelation and family and life is bigger than us. Now's the time to live that, right? Now is the time to live that. So when you feel that need, I have to do this, it's not about me. It's about we and what's good for all of us. My health is in your hands and your health is in my hands. The health of those healthcare workers and those first responders and all those people who have to show up to work every day to keep society functioning, we are responsible to them, also.

 

So, to the extent it's hard, I get it, but maybe if we think about it through a different lens, a broader lens, it'll be a little easier. Let's not get complacent. We have to stay disciplined, we have to stay smart, we have to stay safe, and we do that by staying at home. We will get through this together.

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Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office