WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in the North Country Wednesday, delivering his daily COVID-19 briefing from Jefferson Community College in Watertown.
The governor announced that 166 New Yorkers died Tuesday from COVID-19, as the state’s death toll from the virus to date approaches 22,000.
“That’s 166 families that are in pain today,” Gov. Cuomo said.
As in past briefings, the governor said the federal government needs to support state and local governments if there is another coronavirus relief bill.
“The need for state funding is not a Democratic or Republican issue,” Gov. Cuomo said “All governors say they need federal assistance.”
The governor said that a $3 trillion stimulus bill presented in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday proposed one major item that would help New York; the repeal of SALT (State and Local Tax) deductions.
“SALT repeal: It increases the taxes of homeowners in certain states, New York is one of them,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It cost New York about $29 billion per year. That is repealed in this bill that the house put in. It’s the single best piece of action for the state of New York, and we have representatives who know this very well.”
The governor said hospital rates, intubations, and new cases are on the decline, but reiterated a sentiment from past briefings, that the descent is slower than the ascent of the virus was.
“You see how fast we went up and how much slower the decline was, and that’s important,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That’s what the national experts are talking about when they say you can have an outbreak that you couldn’t recover from. The incline is very fast, the virus travels very quickly, and then getting control of the outbreak is much slower and much harder.”
The governor said the use of PPE — like masks and gloves — is working, and pointed to recent data as to why.
“We’ve been doing testing of essential workers to see if we have a problem anywhere and the good news has been the front line workers are testing at lower rates than the general population,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That means PPE works. Masks work, gloves work, hand sanitizing works. How do health care workers have a lower percentage of infection that the general population? PPE.
The governor says as more attention is brought to reopening sections of society, his administration will be as transparent throughout the process.
“There is a lot of attention on reopening now and we’re doing something in this state that no other state is doing,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We are doing the most transparent discussion and reopening operation of any state. Why? Because it only works if people understand it, and people are part of it.
“You will know exactly what is happening in your region, in your county.” Gov. Cuomo said. “You’ll know the facts, you’ll know the numbers on a daily basis, and you’ll know what we’re doing.”
Although some metrics regarding the spread of the virus are trending downward the governor says it’s important to stay vigilant.
“With this virus we must stay alert because we’re still learning and what we thought we know doesn’t always turn out to be true,” Gov. Cuomo said. “This virus has been ahead of us every step of the way in this country.
The governor said that medical officials are now monitoring a new inflammatory disease found in young children, believed to be linked to COVID-19.
“The Department of Health sent an alert to 49 other states, Dr. Zucker has been leading this conversation nationwide,” Gov. Cuomo said. “14 other states are not investigating cases in their state for possible inflammatory disease in children related to COVID. If your child has been exposed to someone who had COVID, even if it was several weeks ago, that is a special alert in this situation.
“The Department of Health has told the hospitals and the state to prioritize COVID testing for children who come in with any of these situations,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Parents say ‘should I be concerned?’ You should be aware. First job is to protect our children.”
Gov. Cuomo also proposed the Americans First law on Tuesday which would mean no federal funding for companies that won’t retain the same number of employees as before the pandemic.
“The new scam is going to be these corporations are going to use this pandemic to lay off workers,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That is what they’re going to do, they’re already saying it, they do these analyst calls where they tell the analysts why their stock value is going up. Mark my words.”
On Monday, the governor was in Irondequoit and announced that Rochester and the Finger Lakes region had met all seven requirements and is ready to begin opening up on Friday.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.