ALBANY -- In Wednesday's daily press briefing, New York's governor returned to his conciliatory tone with the Trump administration, but said the Senate's proposed $3 trillion relief package would be “terrible for New York.” The Senate version offers $3.8 billion for New York, which is nowhere near the $15 billion the state estimates the COVID-19 emergency will cost.
“It's already cost us one billion,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “The House bill would have given New York State $17 billion. That's a huge difference.”
Cuomo said that the state has still not reached the apex of the expected cases of the virus yet, and although the need for ventilators continues to be a matter of high concern, the numbers seem to indicate that the rate of hospitalization is going down.
“On Sunday, the rate of hospitalization was doubling every two days. On Monday, it was doubling every 3.4 days. On Tuesday, that rate was 4.7 days. It's almost too good to be true,” he admitted. “I don't place a great deal of stock in any one projection, but this is a very good sign. The arrows are headed in the right direction.”
Cuomo said that, as of today, the state has sufficient ventilators in stockpiles throughout the state to meet projected need anywhere in the state.
“The problem is, I can't say that for three weeks, five weeks from now.”
Projections continue to indicate the state will need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the virus spread. The state had 4000, has bought 7000, and is getting an additional 4000 from the federal government. He said the state is investigating the feasibility of using one ventilator for two patients instead of one, but they are still looking for more to make up for the shortfall.
He praised the Trump administration, saying he'd been talking with the president, vice president, and Jared Kushner multiple times, and they were working with him to try to find more ventilators. In a reversal from yesterday's press conference, where he called for the president to release the stockpile of ventilators in federal possession, he said “there is no stockpile in Washington.”
“We are cooperating to find vendors, and using the DPA (Defense Production Act) to maximize production. We have purchased everything that can be purchased. I think the president and his team are using the DPA well and I want to thank the president for his cooperation.”
Cuomo said 40,000 health professionals have responded to the state's call for volunteers both within the state and from other states. He also said more than 6000 mental health professionals have volunteered to help with a free mental health hotline the state has established at 844-863-9314. Callers can make an appointment at that number and get free counseling for any emotional issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As he has done each day, he released the latest numbers, saying that there are now 30,811 positive cases of the virus in New York, 285 deaths, with 5146 new cases. Almost 18,000 of the total cases are in New York City. He said the containment measures have dramatically slowed the rate of infection in Westchester County, which was the state's original hot spot.
In New York City, Cuomo said the city is looking into closing down certain streets to car traffic to allow more pedestrians to have access while maintaining social distance, and the city is asking that no close contact sports, like basketball, be played in the city's parks and playgrounds.
“It's voluntary for now,” he said. “But I will close playgrounds if needed.”
A map of the virus' spread shows it has reached nearly every county in the state. Delaware County yesterday announced two new cases, bringing the total of confirmed cases to four, with one hospitalization. Otsego County today confirmed it now has a new case, bringing its total to two.