ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Thursday marked the 152nd day since the first confirmed case of coronavirus in New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with media to offer an update on the statewide status of the pandemic.
The governor said the data shows positive signs. Of some 73,000 tests conducted Wednesday, 777 came back positive for an infection rate of 1.06%. Thirteen New Yorkers died from the virus. Virus hospitalizations statewide reached a new low since March 17 at 586, and ICU admissions from coronavirus in New York state were down to 142, the lowest number since March 16.
The governor said that the New York State Liquor Authority continues to conduct compliance checks, and 41 additional violations were discovered Wednesday, all at establishments in New York City and on Long Island.
“We are still aggressively enforcing the quarantine at our airports and also the bar and restaurant compliance,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The governor announced that the state government would be providing $30 million to counties throughout New York.
“We have $30 million that we’re making available to counties,” Gov. Cuomo said. “To increase their contract tracing that’s been going well for us and we want to keep that going strong as we head into the school year.
The majority of funds, available to counties in the form of grants, will be used to increase local health department staffing capacity for enhanced detection, surveillance and prevention of COVID-19, according to the governor’s office. Officials also announced an additional $2 million for immunization funds to expand flu vaccination rates statewide to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system in the event of a severe flu season. Funding by county is available here.
“As we continue to battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are also preparing for the upcoming fall flu season,” Gov. Cuomo said in a press release Thursday. “We are making $30 million dollars in grant funding available to counties to increase their contact tracing – which has worked very well for us – and to expand flu prevention and vaccinations to help ensure counties are ready to provide both flu and COVID-19 testing to residents.”
The governor said New York City’s economic situation is “murky.”
“The federal government is considering a law that would allow people to pay their taxes from either their work place or if they were working from home, from their home,” Gov. Cuomo said. “This would have a very negative effect on New York City, many of the high earners in New York City left post-COVID.”
The governor announced the state would be sending response teams, PPE, and resources to Utah to help fight the coronavirus. The state has sent similar support to Texas, Georgia, and Florida so far.
“Utah was very generous to New York when we needed help,” Gov. Cuomo said. They sent literally dozens of staff to Northwell Hospital systems, which was a major health care provider in COVID. so we are going to be sending primarily Northwell personnel and our Department of Health personnel.”
Regarding President Donald Trump’s suggestion that November’s general election be delayed, the governor said Trump doesn’t have the authority to do that.
“The president speaks about a lot of things that he has an opinion on,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I pay attention to what he has legal jurisdiction to do. He has no authority to change an election date, that would take an act of Congress and I don’t believe there’s any desire for that.”
The governor also announced that the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act would be pulled from November’s ballot in New York. Included in the governor’ executive budget, $3 billion, the largest environmental bond act in State history, would have been part of a broader five-year plan to invest $33 billion to fight climate change.
“We’re going to postpone the environmental bond issue for one year,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The financial situation now is unstable, as everyone knows we’re waiting to see what the federal government provides in aid, we’re waiting to see what happens with the economy. I don’t think it would be financially prudent to do at this time.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.