April 12, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Order Directing Employers to Provide Masks to Employees Who Interact with the Public

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

Issues Executive Order Expanding Eligibility for More Individuals to Conduct Antibody Tests 

Governor Joins NGA Chair Maryland Governor Hogan in a Bipartisan Effort Calling for $500 Billion in Aid to States; Reiterates Call for the Federal Government to Repeal SALT

Governor Returned Ventilators to Pathways Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Niskayuna; Thanks Facility for Generous Contribution in Fight Against COVID-19

Confirms 8,236 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 188,694; New Cases in 44 Counties

Governor Cuomo: "We need to be smart in the way we reopen. What does smart mean? It means a coordinated approach, a regional approach, and a safe approach. Nobody wants to pick between a public health strategy and an economic strategy. As Governor of this state I'm not going to pick one over the other. ... The last thing we want to see is an uptick in that infection rate and an uptick in those numbers that we worked so hard to bring down."

Cuomo: "We'll also do an executive order today which directs employers to provide essential workers with a cloth or surgical face mask to their employees when they are interacting with the public. They should provide those masks cost free."

Cuomo: "We have to also expand testing. ... There aren't a tremendously large number of people with anti-bodies, which is good news because we kept down the infection rate. But that is an important test and we have to get that test to scale and this executive order will help do that."

Cuomo: "When things are at their worst is when you will see the good, the bad, and the ugly. out of the blue a phone call came where a nursing home in upstate New York said we understand downstate may need ventilators. We want to let them borrow 35 ventilators. Unsolicited they just called and offered the 35 ventilators. we're going to find our way through this because there is an inherent goodness in people that will surprise you and they will rise to the occasion."

WYSIWYG

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo earlier today announced he will issue an Executive Order directing employers to provide essential workers with cloth or surgical masks free of charge to wear when directly interacting with the public.

 

Governor Cuomo also announced he will issue an Executive Order to expand eligibility of individuals to conduct antibody tests to help ensure as many New Yorkers as possible have access to antibody testing as the state continues to bring this critical testing to scale. The State previously provided labs with the flexibility to allow more workers to do testing for COVID-19; this executive order expands that authority so the same workers can perform antibody tests.

 

The Governor also joined National Governors Association Chair, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in a bipartisan effort calling for $500 billion in aid to states. The federal CARES Act contained zero funding to offset drastic state revenue shortfalls. The Governor also reiterated his call for the Federal government to repeal SALT.

 

Earlier today, Governor Cuomo returned ventilators to the Pathways Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Niskayuna. Pathways Nursing home made an unsolicited contribution of these lifesaving machines to New York State as part of the ongoing efforts against COVID-19. The Governor also delivered cookies for staff and nursing home residents baked by his daughters.

 

Finally, the Governor confirmed 8,236 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 188,694 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 188,694 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

 

County

Total Positive

New Positive

Albany

478

32

Allegany

26

0

Broome

126

9

Cattaraugus

28

9

Cayuga

29

1

Chautauqua

22

1

Chemung

60

0

Chenango

63

2

Clinton

43

0

Columbia

79

2

Cortland

18

1

Delaware

39

0

Dutchess

1,838

94

Erie

1,571

99

Essex

12

0

Franklin

12

1

Fulton

21

0

Genesee

69

2

Greene

44

7

Hamilton

3

0

Herkimer

37

0

Jefferson

46

2

Lewis

6

0

Livingston

30

0

Madison

101

2

Monroe

798

31

Montgomery

29

0

Nassau

23,553

969

Niagara

183

16

NYC

103,208

4,900

Oneida

195

14

Onondaga

397

17

Ontario

57

1

Orange

5,027

180

Orleans

25

1

Oswego

38

1

Otsego

43

0

Putnam

497

3

Rensselaer

105

9

Rockland

7,721

244

Saratoga

196

9

Schenectady

199

5

Schoharie

12

0

Schuyler

5

0

Seneca

16

0

St. Lawrence

85

5

Steuben

121

2

Suffolk

20,816

933

Sullivan

358

18

Tioga

19

0

Tompkins

109

1

Ulster

612

23

Warren

46

2

Washington

34

3

Wayne

42

0

Westchester

19,313

584

Wyoming

31

0

Yates

3

1

 

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. Good to see you again for the second time today. Happy Easter for all those celebrating. Happy Passover. Happy Holy Week.

 

To my right we have Dr. Jim Malatras; to my left Melissa DeRosa; Robert Mujica, Budget Director. Thank you all for taking time. Let's go through where we are today on this beautiful day.

 

Let's start with the good news because we deserve some good news, Lord knows. Change in total number of hospitalizations is down again. This is the number that we have been watching because the great fear for us was always overwhelming the hospital system, the capacity of the hospital system and we've added capacity, moved to a quick turnaround, but the great fear was always overwhelming the raw capacity of the hospital system, the number of beds. So the number of additional net beds was always important to track and that's what we see here - the net beds is down to 53 which is the lowest number since we started doing these charts. So that is a good number.

 

Three-day average which would be more accurate than the day-to-day which tends to fluctuate is also down as you see. Total in hospitalizations, 18,700. But you see the 1,818, 1,818 - that's the so-called flattening of the curve. The apex isn't just an apex. It's a plateau. You see that line flattening and that's what the experts were talking about that it might have been a straight up and then rapid down or it might be up to an apex and the apex becomes a plateau. That's what these numbers suggest.

 

Change in ICU admissions ticked up. Again the ICU admissions is a little questionable now because almost all the beds in the hospital have turned to an ICU bed. So how hospitals classify ICU admissions is a little dubious to me but that's my personal two cents. Three-day average on ICU admissions, same thing.

 

Tick up in the intubations which is not good news. But you see yesterday was great news. That may have been a blip in the overall. The intubations are very relevant because people coming to the hospital, they get treated, hopefully they get discharged, if they don't get discharged they stay in the hospital, they decline, they become intubated, if they become intubated the longer you're on a ventilator the less likely you will be to get off that ventilator so that's the trajectory we see. The intubations, most people who are intubated will not come off the ventilator so that's a troubling number, the intubation number which is real. But the three-day intubation rate again is down relative to where we were so all the numbers are basically saying the same thing.

 

Number of this charges goes up because we have that high hospitalization rate. People stay for a week, two weeks, they get discharged, that's why the discharges are a function of the hospitalization rate. Three-day average of the discharges you see again basically flat so it's all reinforcing the same thing, a flattening of all these numbers. You're not see a great decline in the numbers but you're seeing a flattening. And you're also seeing a recurrence of the terrible news which is the number of lives lost which is 758.

 

Somebody asked the question once, can you ever get numb to seeing these numbers? Unfortunately, no. 758 people lost their lives in a 24-hour period. I speak to many families who are going through this, many people who lost loved ones. Everyone is a face and a name and a family that is suffering on this weekend which for many people in this state and in this nation is that high religious holiday. It's already distorted because we have churches closed, we have temples closed. So this is truly tragic news and I want every family to know that they're in our thoughts and prayers, and we're sorry that they had to go through this. And I want them to know that New Yorkers did everything humanly possible to be there for their loved ones to try to save those lives. And we're proud of that. You see also a flattening in the number of lives lost at a terribly high rate. But if you look back over the past several days you see there's a certain continuity to that number. Again, that's the one number that I look forward to seeing drop. Soon as I open my eyes in the morning. And it has been flattening but flattening at a terribly high level. Again, put it in context. 9,385 lives lost when you add those from yesterday. Put in the context of 9/11, which was supposed to be the tragedy of my lifetime. 2,753 lives lost, we're now at 9,385.

 

The question for everyone is when we reopen. People want to get on with their lives. People want to get out of the house. Cabin fever. We need the economy working. People need a paycheck. Life has to function. When do we reopen, when do we reopen? Look, the answer is we want to reopen as soon as possible. Everyone does on a societal level, everyone does on a personal level. Let's just end this nightmare, right. Groundhog Day, you get up every day, it's the same routine, you almost lose track of what day of the week it is, because they don't even have meaning anymore. And there's also some anxiety and stress that we're all dealing with. So we want to reopen as soon as possible.

 

The caveat is we need to be smart in the way we reopen. What does smart mean? It means a coordinated approach, a regional approach, and a safe approach. Nobody wants to pick between a public health strategy and an economic strategy. As Governor of this state I'm not going to pick one over the other. We need a public health strategy that is safe, that is consistent with an economic strategy. How do you reopen, but how do you do it in a way that is smart from a public health point of view? The last thing we want to see is an uptick in that infection rate and an uptick in those numbers that we worked so hard to bring down. So we need a strategy that coordinates business and schools and transportation and workforce.

 

What New York Pause did is it stopped everything at the same time. It was a blunt device, but it shut down everything at the same time. We're going to need testing. More testing, faster testing, than we now have, when you start to move people back to work. And we're going to need federal help. There is no doubt about that.

 

I did a joint statement with Governor Hogan, who is the chairman of the National Governors Association. He is a Republican. I am the vice chair. I'm a Democrat, those of you who don't know. And we did a joint statement that said look, the federal government did a stimulus bill, a bill that was supposed to help move the economy along called the federal CARES Act. The federal CARES Act just, almost ignored state governments. When you ignore a state government, you ignore our situation. We have a $10 to $15 billion deficit. We got a budget done, but our budget was basically contingent on what happens going forward. And without federal assistance, how does this state economy come back? How do we really start to fund schools, et cetera? And that has to happen from a federal level.

 

There is no level above the state government that can make a difference besides the federal government and we did a statement on a bipartisan basis that said the federal government has to fix this in the next bill, and we put $500 billion for funding, for state governments and again we did that on a bipartisan basis. From New York's point of view the past bills were like most federal passed bills. They went through the political process. To get a bill passed in Washington, everyone has to get their piece of the pie to pass a bill. I understand politics. I understand it very well. That's not how they should be operating here. You did an injustice to the places that actually had the need, which from an American taxpayer point of view, that's what you were trying to correct. You were trying to correct the devastation of the virus. Well then correct the devastation of the virus. Not everything has to be an opportunity for pork barrel. You look at where the money actually went. Theoretically, the bill distributed funding to states for corrective action and expenses on handling the virus. 

 

Kaiser Health, which is a very notable organization, said that Nebraska, Montana, for example, Minnesota are getting approximately $300,000 per COVID-19 case. New York State gets approximately $12,000. How can that be? It can be, because in the Senate, it became a game of political pork and I want my share as opposed to where is the need genuinely. New York is vital to this American economy. It's not just about New York. Our economy is vital to this country. You want New York's economy up and running not just for the good of New York but the good of the nation. That was the purpose of the legislation. It missed the mark. I hope they do it next time. 

 

A simple, easy way to help New York is right the wrong that the federal government did when it passed the SALT tax, state and local tax deductibility. That was just a political maneuver in the first place. You're trying to help places that are suffering from the virus. Repeal the SALT tax. It should have never been done, as I said, in the first place. 

 

We're going to work with our neighboring states because this is the tri-state area. It's a regional economy. I will be speaking with Governor Murphy and Governor Lamont later today on coming up with a re-opening plan that is a public health plan. Safeguards public health but also starts to move us toward economic activation.

 

We'll also do an executive order today which directs employers to provide essential workers with a cloth or surgical face mask to their employees when they are interacting with the public. They should provide those masks cost free. New Jersey did a similar order and I think Governor Murphy was right and I want to do that here in the State of New York. 

 

We have to also expand testing. One of the ways we want to do that is by executive order, we're going to expand the number of people who are eligible to do the anti-body test. We have state regulations that say who can actually do the anti-body test. There are two tests: One is a diagnostic test, one is the anti-body test. The anti-body test tells you if the person had the virus and got over the virus. That would be a prime person who could go back to work because they theoretically have an immunity to the virus for a period of time. They're not sure what the period of time is. There aren't a tremendously large number of people with anti-bodies, which is good news because we kept down the infection rate. But that is an important test and we have to get that test to scale and this executive order will help do that. 

 

Happy Easter for all those who are celebrating. Happy spring for those who aren't celebrating. Spring is my favorite season. What spring says to all of us is it's a time of rebirth. That no matter how cold the winter, no matter how barren the landscape got, the Earth comes back to life. It was flat and it was barren and it was closed down, then it comes back to life. For me, this spring especially. We have been closed down. We have locked the doors. We've isolated. We've hunkered down. We've closed down in a way we've never closed down before, we want to talk about a cold winter. Where the earth becomes barren. This has been a cold period from this societal point of view. And we've closed down in a way we've never closed down, but we will come back to life and we will have a rebirth. And that's what Spring is all about. And the rebirth is primarily about our people and about our spirit. They say the spirit lives.

 

They've been a couple movements through this that will stay with me for all time and a couple of moments that were really dark periods, looking at that number of deaths is a dark period. The phone calls with families are dark periods. The fear of the worst case scenario of those numbers going through the roof and overwhelming the hospital capacity was a dark period. Fears of seeing what happened in Italy and how their health care system got overwhelmed and it could happen here, that was dark.  Number of conversations that with people who lost their father, their spouse, their brother, their sister out of the blue.

 

But there's also been some moments that just was so inspirational to me that just showed such a positive spirit. When things are at their worst is when you will see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Where people are under pressure you see like the true essence will come out and some people will break your heart, people who you expected to react differently will just break your heart and disappoint you but then other people who you expected nothing from will show you a strength and a resilience that just is an inspiration. We were going through a period where we were afraid of the hospital capacity peaking and we needed equipment, we were focused on ventilators because ventilators for this disease, it's a respiratory disease you need ventilators. Nobody ever anticipated this kind of situation, so we're in a mad rush for ventilators. And we're shifting ventilators all over the state and I'm asking hospitals to cooperate with each other and lend each other equipment, including ventilators. And some hospitals were great and some hospitals were less great which you expect.

 

But then out of the blue a phone call came where a nursing home in upstate New York said we understand downstate may need ventilators. We want to let them borrow 35 ventilators. Unsolicited they just called and offered the 35 ventilators and we went, we picked up the ventilators and we brought them down state, but I remember when they came in and they told me, a nursing home in upstate, a nursing home is one of the most vulnerable places in this entire situation, right? Elderly populations and in a confined area of a nursing home. And here a nursing move comes forward and says we want to lend you 35 ventilators to bring down state. I tell you for me, when I heard that news. With all this bad, with all this negative. Something inside me said you know what we're going to be ok. We're going to find our way through this because there is an inherent goodness in people that will surprise you and they will rise to the occasion. And at the end of the day, good will win against bad, I believe that. And love will conquer all.

 

We brought the 35 ventilators back to Pathways which is a nursing and rehabilitation center. I went by there this morning when they were returning the 35 ventilators just to say thank you. Thank you on behalf of all the people of this state. Thank you for their generosity. Thank you on behalf of downstate New York. We're in a position now where we're not going to need the ventilators. We're going to be okay equipment wise, unless things change dramatically.

 

But thank you on behalf of the people of the state, as governor of the state of New York. And thank you for myself because the people from Pathways, who are watching this broadcast, I couldn't go inside. So I didn't really get a chance to talk to them, but I wanted to say thank you from me because they brought me inspiration and hope and energy at a time when I, personally, really needed it. That call and that generosity and that love buoyed my spirit and my feelings and was such a lift for me. I remember I went and I talked to the team. I said, can you believe how beautiful a gesture this is? So I wanted to say thank you as governor and for me, myself, and I, Andrew Cuomo. Thank you to the people of Pathways.

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