Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, State is Investigating 85 Reported Cases in New York
Governor Proposes "Americans First Law" Stating a Corporation Cannot Receive Government Funding if it Does Not Rehire the Same Number of Employees Pre-Pandemic
Issues Executive Order Mandating All Nursing Home Staff Be Tested for COVID-19 Twice Per Week
Executive Order States Hospitals Cannot Discharge a Patient to a Nursing Home Unless That Patient Tests Negative for COVID-19
Department of Health and Human Services Has Distributed New Treatment Remdesivir to New York to Help Patients Infected with COVID-19 Recover More Quickly
Confirms 2,273 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 335,395; New Cases in 47 Counties
Governor Cuomo: "New York State is investigating 85 cases of a COVID-related illness in children. Mostly toddler to elementary schools, it's symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease, what they call Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome. This does not present as a normal COVID case. COVID cases tend to be respiratory. This presents as an inflammation of the blood vessels, sometimes inflammation of the heart."
Cuomo: "It's possible that these cases were coming in and were not diagnosed as related to COVID because they don't appear as COVID. But it is a situation that has taken the lives of three New Yorkers. There are two additional deaths that are currently under investigation as possibly related to the same situation. The New York State Department of Health is going to notify all the other state departments of health Again, we've recently found this and are investigating it, but it may be possible and it may even be probable that this is a situation that exists in other states and we want to make sure that they are where aware of it."
Cuomo: "Here's my suggestion to my colleagues in Washington -- the Americans First Law. If a corporation does not rehire the same number of employees, no government money. All the billions that they just gave out, if you don't rehire the same number of employees you had pre-pandemic, you have to return those funds. We're not going to subsidize you to lay off workers. If you can lay off workers and you're saving money by laying off workers, you don't need the American taxpayer to subsidize you. Otherwise you will never get those employment numbers back."
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced earlier today New York State is notifying 49 other states across the country of emerging cases of COVID-related illness in children. The State is currently investigating 85 reported cases in New York where children - predominantly school-aged - are experiencing symptoms similar to an atypical Kawasaki disease or a toxic shock-like syndrome possibly due to COVID-19. The illness has taken the lives of three young New Yorkers and an additional two deaths are currently under investigation.
Governor Cuomo also proposed the "Americans First Law" which states that a corporation cannot be eligible to receive government funding if it does not rehire the same number of employees that the corporation had before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor also announced he will issue an Executive Order mandating that all nursing homes and adult care facilities test all personnel for COVID-19 two times per week and report any positive test results to the State Department of Health by the next day. The Executive Order also mandates that hospitals cannot discharge a patient to a nursing home unless that patient tests negative for COVID-19.
All nursing home and adult care facility administrators will be required to submit a plan on how they will accomplish this testing and a certificate of compliance with this Executive Order to the State Department of Health by Friday May 15th.
Any nursing home or adult care facility found to be in violation of the Executive Order may have its operating certificate suspended or revoked or may be subject to a penalty for non-compliance of $2,000 per violation per day. Additionally, any personnel who refuse to be tested for COVID-19 will be considered to have outdated or incomplete health assessments and therefore will be prohibited from working in the nursing home or adult care facility until testing is performed.
The Governor also announced that the Department of Health and Human Services is distributing a promising treatment called Remdesivir that has been shown to help patients infected with COVID-19 recover more quickly. The Department of Health and Human Services has sent New York enough antiviral to treat 2,900 people at 15 hospitals and will send more doses in the coming weeks to treat 500 more patients, including children, at additional New York Hospitals.
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, let me introduce the people who are with us today for those of you who do not know who someone is. To my far right, Jim Malatras, PhD doctor. To my immediate right, Michaela Kennedy Cuomo, related to me, daughter, third of three only by age order. There is no order beside age, no preference, no degree of love, no estimate of any ability, just all equal within my eyes. To my left, Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor. To her left, Dr. Howard Zucker. To his left Robert Mujica, Budget Director.
Thank you for being here today. Today is day 71 with a question mark. The number of hospitalizations today, down, great news. Number of intubations, down, that's great news. The COVID cases, which is a different problem than number of people who are in hospitals, this is how many new cases are showing up every day which has been still very high is down to 521 and that is down. 521 takes us right back to where we started this hellish journey, right? March 20th is when we did the closedown order. And where we are today is basically, with the number of new cases, is basically right where we were when we started. So, it has been a painful period of time between March 20th and May 9th. The optimist would say yes but it's only March 20th to May 9th. The pessimist would say but a lot of pain, a high cost, loss of life. The realist would be somewhere in the middle. But all of this work, all of this progress of turning that tide, of reducing the rate of infection, that's all thanks to New Yorkers and what New Yorkers did. Number of deaths, 207. Still terribly high but better. The number of deaths, 207, takes us back to almost where we started about a week in. As the number of deaths started to increase, you could see early in March, 27 deaths, then how quickly it went up: 38, 42, 56, 76, 101, 130, 207. So, just to give you a perspective of a where we are today versus where we were.
One of our top priorities is protecting people in nursing homes and seniors. This is where this virus feeds. It is where this virus started when it started in the State of Washington. We have implemented many safety measures, many of which have been difficult to implement but we did for health reasons. Restricting visitation except for end of life visits, this is a tough policy and I had serious qualms about it to tell you the truth. But the health officials were right. Yes, you want visitation. No, you don't want to walk a virus into a nursing home that could kill the person you're going to visit. PPE requirements, all staff have to be checked going to a nursing home every 12 hours. All facilities must notify families within 24 hours. Separate facilities, residents from staff in the event of an outbreak. We have provided them with millions of pieces of PPE equipment.
This is a national problem, right? Nursing homes, generally all across the country, have seen the COVID virus take a high toll. New York has one of the highest populations of nursing home residents of any state in the country, over 100,000 residents. But New York's percentage of deaths in nursing homes is the 34th highest of any state. So, if you look at the states and the percentages of people who died in nursing homes as a percentage of that death. New York is number 34. So, none of this is good news but just to give you context of what people are looking at. This virus uses nursing homes, they are ground zero. They are the vulnerable population in the vulnerable location, right? It's a congregation of vulnerable people. Today we're taking additional steps to protect seniors in nursing homes.
First, I want people to understand how a nursing home operates vis a vis the state. The most vulnerable population deserves the highest level of care, right, so the rule is very simple. If a nursing home cannot provide care for a person and provide the appropriate level of care for any reason, they must transfer the person out of the facility. If they can't find another facility, they call the state Department of Health. So what does this mean? If they don't have enough staff, if they don't have enough PPE, if their facility doesn't allow for isolation or quarantine - whatever it is, if they cannot provide the proper care, they must transfer the resident, period.
If they have a COVID positive person and they can't treat a COVID positive person, they must transfer the person or call the state Department of Health and the state Department of Health will transfer that person.
All nursing home staff must now be tested twice a week. That's not just a temperature check, that is a diagnostic test. We have the tests available. We have brought them online. The state has more testing capacity than any state in the country. They have to test their staff twice a week. That is a rule, it's not an "I'd appreciate it if you did."
Hospitals, going forward, cannot discharge a patient to a nursing home unless the patient tests negative for COVID-19. So, we're just not going to send a person who is positive to a nursing home after a hospital visit. Period.
Remember, and I want the nursing home operators to understand this, we have alternative facilities for nursing home patients, COVID or non-COVID. Remember what we did here. We created 40,000 hospital beds because we had to. We had a 50,000 bed capacity system - the early projections were we would need 100,000 beds, 140,000 beds. We created 40,000 additional beds minimum. SO we have beds available. We also set up COVID only facilities. So we have available COVID only facilities that could accept nursing home residents. We're not reducing the number of hospital beds that we have available. We've always had more hospitals beds available than we've used - always. There has not been a day that we didn't have more beds available than we've used. So if a nursing home cannot take care of a person, we have facilities that can. I understand the nursing homes perspective, but if they cannot provide the appropriate care, they have to call the Department of Health and let's get that resident into an appropriate facility. I can't be more direct about that. We have available COVID only facilities upstate as well as downstate. So we have the facilities available. If there's any issue, the resident must be referred to Department of Health which will find alternative care.
If a nursing home operator does not follow these procedures, they will lose their license. Well, that's harsh. No. Harsh is having a nursing home resident who doesn't get the appropriate care. That's what's harsh - having someone's parent or mother or brother in a situation where they're in a facility, they can't even get a visitor, they're isolated, they feel alone, and they're not getting the appropriate care. That's what is harsh. If that's what happens, then that facility operator should lose their license. I have no problem with that. I was the attorney general. I did investigations of nursing homes. I have tremendous respect for what they do, but this is the essence of their responsibility and obligation. Again, we have the facilities. We have the beds. It's not like a situation where there are no options. We have options and we want to use them. So if there's any reason why you can't provide appropriate care let us know and we will put them in a facility that has it.
Also, this is an issue that people need to be aware of. New York State is investigating 85 cases of a COVID-related illness in children. Mostly toddler to elementary schools, it's symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease, what they call Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome. This does not present as a normal COVID case. COVID cases tend to be respiratory. This presents as an inflammation of the blood vessels, sometimes inflammation of the heart. It's possible that these cases were coming in and were not diagnosed as related to COVID because they don't appear as COVID. But it is a situation that has taken the lives of three New Yorkers. There are two additional deaths that are currently under investigation as possibly related to the same situation. The New York State Department of Health is going to notify all the other state department of health. Every state has the department of health. They will notify their counterparts in the other states to put them on notice of this. Again, we've recently found this and are investigating it but it may be possible and it may even be probable that this is a situation that exists in other states and we want to make sure that they are where aware of it.
New York State Department of Health is also actively pursuing a new drug therapy. Remdesivir has been shown to have some positive effect and we are desperately looking for a treatment for this virus. So the CDC has started tests on this drug and New York State is working with HHS, Health and Human Services on the federal side, administering it to 2,900 people at 15 hospitals and we're looking for more doses to start with an additional 500 people.
This week is May 15. May 15 the pause order, the closedown order expires. We're looking region to region across the state as to where would be appropriate to reopen. This state we have a clear uniform set of criteria. It's the same all across the state, it's all science-based, it's all data-based and we'll look at those numbers, we'll look at those data points to see where it's safe to open.
Local governments should start to look at two things, citizens also. Of those factors that we look at, many factors are just the rate of spread of the infection and they just purely link to the rate of spread of the infection. Second set of factors looks to the capacity of local government. Do they have enough hospital beds open in case that infection rate goes up? Do they have the testing tracing isolation that we've all been talking about for weeks and weeks and weeks? Do they have that operation in place and do they have a compliance function in place where when we say manufacturing businesses can open but people must be six feet apart that they can actually monitor those businesses to make sure there is compliance?
So factor one are just the numbers, infection rate, et cetera, and everybody knows what that is in different parts across the state. Factor two is what local governments have to do to be ready and working together with their counterparts in that region and we'll be speaking to this more tomorrow because May 15 at the end of the week.
Also this week Washington is going to be considering additional legislation. That is essential to what we're all trying to accomplish here. The President has made it clear that the reopening is up to the states, is up to the governors, and I've been working with governors all across the country and by and large the people believe the governors are doing what they need to do.
But you can't ask someone to do that which they cannot do. You can't ask someone to do something that is beyond their capacity, beyond their limits. We can handle the reopening but every state, almost every state, has a significant financial problem because of the loss of revenue due to the economy. Just think of how a state works. You close down businesses, their income drops, they're not paying an income tax. The state's revenue drops proportionately and that's what is happening. You look at - our economy was doing great, really great, in this state, but then comes the COVID virus and the impact on our financial plan is about $61 billion. We then have to pay for all this COVID related work, all this hospital work and testing and everything that's going on. That's about another $5 billion per year.
We then have essential state agencies that are operating that also have taken a tremendous financial loss. The MTA operates the subways and buses, collects revenue from tolls when people go over bridges or through tunnels, but ridership is down 92 percent. Cars aren't driving and they're not paying their tolls. Tremendous revenue loss at the MTA. Port Authority, tremendous revenue loss at airports. The economic impact is beyond anything that any state can deal with. If the federal government doesn't help the states then you're forcing the states to cut funding and the places where the state normally funds will suffer.
If they force me to cut funding, I have to reduce the funding to schools, to local governments and to hospitals. Why would you ever want to reduce funding to these essential agencies at this time? Why would you make me allocated pain among schools, hospitals and local governments? It makes no sense at all. New York alone would need about $35 billion this year just to compensate for the total amount of losses. When you look at Washington and what Washington has done in the past legislation they've passed, when I say they treat it like pork barrel, why? I was in Washington for 8 years in the Clinton administration. Everything becomes a political game, every piece of legislation becomes a political game.
When they passed the past legislation, the money they sent to states was supposed to be for COVID. The whole exercise was this was to compensate for what happened during the COVID virus. They just played politics. Everybody put money in for their home state. When you look at what they actually accomplished, state's like Alaska got like 100 times what New York got for funding. We got about $23,000 for every COVID case, but state's that didn't have very many COVID cases also received a tremendous amount of funding. Our friends in Kentucky, $337,000 for every COVID case. We got $23,000. What they've done in the past made no sense. Also, what they've done in the past is what they always seem to wind up doing.
They bailed out corporate America, that's what they did. You look at the past legislation, they bailed out corporate America. This legislation, this week, going forward, let them fund working Americans because that's the need. You look at the past legislation, they funded hotels, restaurants, airlines, big corporations, public companies. Now it turns out they funded a tax break for millionaires. In the COVID response legislation, that's what they did and they didn't fund state and local governments.
Who do state and local governments fund? I fund police, firefighters, nurses, school teachers and food banks. You took care of corporate America and I don't even want to go through that, but now you're going to starve police and fire and hospitals and schools? Everybody applauds the health care workers, but now you don't want to provide any funding. Separate, last point on Washington.
Don't make the same mistake twice. Don't do what this nation did after the 2007-2008 mortgage crisis bailout where the government bailed out all these bankers and corporations that made a fortune running a mortgage scam. And then when the mortgage scam collapsed and the banks were going to go bankrupt, then the taxpayers had to come in and fund the banks. How does this make sense? The banks make all the profit on the way up. They then get into trouble on the mortgage fraud and we have to bail them out, and who's going to bail them out? The taxpayers are going bail them out. No, it's not that they reap all the profits on the way up and then the taxpayers provide a golden parachute on the way down. That has to stop.
There should be no subsidy for any corporation that lays off employees, period. Because I'll tell you what's going to happen. You will see corporations using this pandemic to lay off workers. That's what you will see. Because they're already saying it to the market analysts. "We're going to get the lean during this period. We're going to right size during this period." What does that mean? It means they're not going to re-hire the same number of employees. So, they're going to boost their corporate profits by reducing the number of employees. That's what it means. That's what it means. Government should not subsidize their reduction of employees and then when they reduce employees government is supposed to now subsidize those employees, unemployment insurance, etcetera. We did it once. We can't do it again.
Here's my suggestion to my colleagues in Washington, the Americans First Law. If a corporation does not rehire the same number of employees, no government money. All the billions that they just gave out, if you don't rehire the same number of employees you had pre-pandemic, you have to return those funds. We're not going to subsidize you to lay off workers. If you can lay off workers and you're saving money by laying off workers, you don't need the American taxpayer to subsidize you. Otherwise you will never get those employment numbers back. Because that's what's going to happen all across the country. And we keep going because we are New York tough. We are smart, united, disciplined, and we are loving.
Every time I say we are loving, I think people must think that is such a strange word for a government official to be talking about, that we are loving. You never hear government talking about loving. You never hear a lot of people talk about loving or love. But at this time, where we are all going through so much pain, and so much stress, and so much anxiety, and we're in a place where we've never been before. It's probably the one thing we need more than anything else. And it's not easy to talk about love. That's why I put it with New York tough. It's not easy to talk about love. I need love to show that vulnerability. It's hard to do that. That's why in some ways you have to be tough to be able to talk about love. But we all need it now because this is hard on everyone. It is hard, I don't care who you are. You can be a governor of the state, a health care worker, public employee, a daughter of a governor, a son, it is hard everyone. And love is the one thing that can make everything better and the one thing we need. When I said today is day 71 with a question mark. Because today is not really just day 71. Today is Mother's Day and that dwarfs all else, day 71, day 70, day 69, it's Mother's Day. And for me, you want to talk about love, the personification of love for me has always been my mother. My father was loving in his way, but he was not warm and cuddly kind of loving. My mother is just always been pure love, just pure sweetness, pure goodness, pure affirmation, unconditional love. Whatever you did. However stupid I was, and I can be pretty stupid. Just that total love of a mother. So, today more than anything else, mothers are special, they're special every day, but how about going through this. I'm talking about nursing homes, you have mothers in nursing homes, families can't get to see them.
Mothers have been doing double duty stuck at home, dealing with all that stress, all that situation. Mothers who have lost mothers, mothers who we've lost during this hellacious period where so many people have lost their parents. So, today is Mother's Day, first and foremost. And today is about love, and showing love, and expressing it, and appreciation for our mothers. And my mother, who I cannot see today, because I am in a position where I am exposed to too many people, and if I go see my mother, Dr. Zucker, blame Dr. Zucker, the health commissioner, says it will be risky for me to see my mother because I want to make sure that I don't infect her with anything. She's stronger than I am, and she's smarter than I am, but I just want to make sure that we don't do that. But I get to say happy Mother's Day to my mother, with my daughters, they're all here, through one means or the other, whatever this is, zoom this, zoom that. Happy Mother's Day to you mom. I miss you, I love you so, so much, I wish I could be with you, but I can't be, but I can't be because I love you. That's why I can't be with you, because I love you. But I know Maria's taking good care of you.
Matilda Cuomo: I miss you too. A lot. And your beautiful daughters.
Cara Kennedy Cuomo: Happy Mother's Day Grandma.
Matilda Cuomo: Thank you. Thank you Cara.
Governor Cuomo: You have Cara there, Cara's with Mariah. Mariah, you want to say happy Mother's Day, Grandmother's Day?
Mariah Kennedy Cuomo: Yes. Happy Mother's Day Grandma. I just was thinking today about this story that I love hearing you tell about how you met the pope, and how he looked you in the eye, took her hand in his, and he said la famiglia. It really captured your spirit. Thank you so much for teaching us what the meaning of family is, both from our own little brood, to the family of New York. I love you.
Matilda Cuomo: Very well said. Thank you.
Governor Cuomo: And I have Michaela here with me.
Michaela Kennedy Cuomo: Hi Grandma. Happy Mother's Day.
Matilda Cuomo: You're up at the capitol.
Michaela Kennedy Cuomo: Yes. But I'm so glad to see your face. We're so grateful to have such a caring Grandma, and one who was a great mother and role model to our dad and aunts and uncles, and such a great mother to so many children beyond our family, so thank you. Love you so much Grandma.
Matilda Cuomo: Thank for that. Thank you so much. I can't forget this, girls. I will never forget this.
Governor Cuomo: Well, you look good, this is going to be over, and then we're going to get back to life as normal and we're going to have fun. And then you can spend more time with me. I know i am your favorite. I know you don't want to say that because you have Maria there, but we'll get to spend time together, and we'll look back at this and we'll say that we're the better for it, right?
Matilda Cuomo: That's right. Time for everything, Andrew.
Governor Cuomo: Alright, well you have fun there, anything you need? Is Maria taking good care of you? You're sure Maria's taking good care of you?
Matilda Cuomo: I have your sister Maria here and I have beautiful granddaughters here as well, so I'm in good company. And all the children, all my grandchildren, I am so blessed, as many mothers today are, and I just thank you so much for everything you do, Andrew, to make families really better than ever. Thank you.
Governor Cuomo: Alright, you have a beautiful day. I'll see you soon. I know you want to see me because I know I'm your favorite deep down inside but you don't want to say it. I love you honey, I'll talk to you later.
Matilda Cuomo: Thank you very much, Andrew. Thank you.