ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy was appointed Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as volunteer special advisor to coordinate the Finger Lakes region’s COVID-19 public health response and reopening strategy.
Locally, Duffy has previously served as Chief of Rochester Police as well as Rochester Mayor before becoming Gov. Cuomo’s Lieutenant Governor in 2010. He says his background will give him insight a new role as lead of re-opening efforts in our area.
“Working with public health leaders elected officials business leaders, through 9 county region… gather input and go forward with best recommendations to governor,” said Duffy.
Duffy will head the Finger Lakes region’s COVID-19 public health and reopening strategy.
Governor Cummo is making appointments for regional teams around the state, that will monitor public health issues, Marshall resources, and start to work on reopening.
“We operate as one state, but we also have to understand variations and you do want to get this economy open as soon as possible,” Gov. Cuomo said. “And if a situation is radically different in one part of the state than another part of the state, take that into consideration.”
During Tuesday’s briefing, the governor spoke about how different regions have different curves, and that upstate communities may be reaching a plateau, or still rising, whereas downstate areas are beginning to descend as far as the virus’ spread goes.
“Different regions of the country have different curves,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The virus does not hit at the same time, at the same rate. So you hear about different states in the country, and when they’re going to hit their apex, they’re topping out, and when they’re going to come down, it’s different across the country, and it’s also different across the state.”
The governor said communities will need to open on a region by region bases. Here in Rochester, Duffy will be talking to business and local leaders, in order to determine when people can get back to work.
But Duffy believes that end date is still a ways off.
“Livelihood of families depending on work and that critical, But it has to be balanced with public health issues. We don’t want to raise the infection rates, we don’t want to lose more lives,” said Duffy.
“I don’t think anyone should expect on May 15, we’re back to normal a few months ago that is not gonna happen on May 15 we’re gonna be in this mood for many months if not a year ago to come,” said Duffy.
Duffy will not be making the final decision on re-opening but rather collect data to the governments office to make the best choice.
The governor said that priorities will shift around the state and resources will be sent where they need to go.
“Any need, anywhere in this state, the rest of the state will surge capacity, send equipment and energy to help that part of the state,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will serve in a similar role as Duffy for Buffalo and Western New York. Duffy himself is a former Lt. Gov. of New York state.