ALBANY – In his daily press conference from Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo highlighted what appears to be some good news regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and addressed upstate objections to his plan to pool state medical supplies to distribute where there is the greatest need.
The number of deaths from the virus, as well as the number of new cases, continues to rise, with the current state total of positive cases at 122,031. However, the daily number of deaths has, for the first time, gone down...from 630 to 594. He also said the rate of ICU admissions is going down, too. The spread of the virus, statewide, appears to be at a stable rate, with upstate flat, New York City numbers slowing, but Long Island continuing to be of concern.
It could be, Cuomo said, a sign that New York has hit the apex of COVID-19. But no one, he said, can tell him what that apex will look like.
“It could be a point, and then we go down. It could be a plateau, and we sit there for awhile before coming down. We could be near it, or on it. We won't know for the next few days.”
He announced that the federal government has agreed to send a thousand medical personnel, doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists and technicians, to New York. The first 350 will arrive today and will be deployed to downstate hospitals, where the virus has overtaxed the system.
The governor made a point of thanking the medical staff, both paid and volunteer, who have been on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic.
“We are asking a system to do more than it was designed to do, with less. I understand that. But life is options, and we don't have any other option.”
Cuomo then turned to the issue of hospitals and medical supplies. Upstate legislators of both parties have been quick to condemn his announcement of an Executive Order to require all hospitals and health facilities in the state to make their excess supplies available for a state stockpile. He pointed out that hospitals themselves are identifying what supplies they can spare, and the state is only asking for 20% of those supplies. They would be put in am active stockpile to be moved daily to whatever hospital, wherever it is in the state, that needs them.
“I guarantee the people of this state, as long as I'm the governor of this state, we won't lose a life if I can help it. We won't lose a life because we didn't share resources. If I have to jump in my truck and drive it (supplies) from Montauk Point to Buffalo, we will be there.”
So far, he said, the National Guard has not made a single pickup. He said hospitals tend to think in terms of 60 to 90 days' supplies. Now, he said, some of the downstate hospitals are facing a stockpile of supplies that will last for only two to four days.
“If I'm sitting in upstate New York,” the governor continued, “and see a fire elsewhere, let's put it out. If it gets to you, every available hose in the state will be sent to you. We talk about the family of New York. I must have said that a million times. Well, this is the time the family has to come together, not just out of love, but out of necessity. You cannot handle this without your brothers and sisters.”