Cuomo March 21 press conference

Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing on Coronavirus, explains working on increasing hospital capacity, building new beds, and increasing medical supplies.

ALBANY - As the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Columbia County reaches 7 and in New York state nears 12,000, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned New Yorkers to prepare for a long road ahead.

“I don’t believe it is going to be a matter of weeks," Cuomo said at a Saturday morning press conference at the state Capitol. "I believe it is going to be a matter of months."

The governor also used the press conference to discuss new aid from Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] and revealed the locations of planned field hospitals to accommodate an overflow of positive COVID-19 patients.
 
A total of 161 coronavirus tests have been completed for Columbia County residents, according to an update posted to the county health department website Saturday. As of noon, seven Columbia County residents tested positive. The county announced its first case Friday morning.
 
Cuomo announced 10,356 state residents have tested positive for the virus and health officials estimate 40-80% of the population could become infected. That total number increased to 11,645 by Saturday afternoon, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus resource center.
  
“The question is, ‘Can we slow that rate so the hospital system can deal with it?’” Cuomo said.
 
The higher rate of infection in New York is a result of increased testing, not increased transmission, Cuomo said. New York has performed more than 45,000 tests since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, while California and Washington states have each tested 23,000 people.
 
“Our numbers should be higher, and they are,” he said.
 
As the number of infected New Yorkers increases, Cuomo urged people not to misinterpret the data.
“People take that number as if it is reflective of the spread," he added. "It is not."
 
In an effort to prepare for an increased need for hospital beds resulting from the COVID-19 health crisis, SUNY Stony Brook and SUNY Old Westbury, both located in Long Island, and the Westchester Convention Center in White Plains have been identified as potential sites for temporary hospital facilities by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which reviewed more than a dozen sites, Cuomo said. Each pop-up field hospital would be equipped with staff and beds for 250 people. 
 
The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan was also named as a possible 1000-bed temporary hospital after an inspection led by the Army Corps of Engineers. The pop-up hospitals would be funded by FEMA and used in the event that hospitals became overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, he said.
 
By current estimates, 14% to 20% of people who become sick require hospitalization. But the state is looking into ventilator usage by COVID-19 patients, Cuomo said.
 
“The real question is, ‘How many of the hospititalized people require a ventilator?’” he said.
 
The state is also investigating technologies that would allow one ventilator to serve multiple patients.
 
Cuomo applauded President Donald Trump for approving New York’s major disaster declaration on Friday, which will funnel billions of dollars in FEMA emergency funding to the state.
 
By law, the federal and state governments must share the cost of a disaster, with federal funding covering 75% and the state paying the remaining 25%.
 
However, Cuomo has asked the federal government to waive the state contribution.
 
“If there is any situation where FEMA should waive 25%, this is that situation,” he said.  
 
Cuomo issued an executive order Friday directing all non-essential workers to stay at home. To ensure that businesses comply, any employee who believes  their employer is in violation of the governor’s directive is asked to file a complaint with the state Labor Bureau, state Attorney General Letitia James announced in a statement Saturday.  
 
“During this time, my office is closely monitoring the treatment of employees across the state," James said in a statement. "If you believe your employer is in violation of either existing labor laws or recently issued executive orders, please contact our office at (212) 416-8700."
 
The governor admonished young people for not complying with restrictions on public gatherings, and urged New Yorkers to show one another kindess during the crisis.
 
“Young people can get the virus and can transfer the virus,” he said. “You can wind up hurting someone who you love, or hurting someone inadvertently.

“The time is now to show some kindness, to show some compassion to people, show some gentility, even as a New Yorker,” he added.

 

(3) comments

Blueeyedjeffrey

Hotels...sorry

Blueeyedjeffrey

Hor3os already have beds and laundry/kitchen facilities. Convert some hotels into hospitals

Chris B

Why not set up mobile hospitals on airport properties? Airport traffic is already drastically reduced, they provide secure locations, and they’re relatively isolated from neighboring properties.

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