ALBANY – Gov. Cuomo once again provided a daily update on the effects of COVID-19 in New York, and the ways the state is working to mitigate issues people here are facing.
More than 138,000 people in the state have tested positive for the virus, but when comparing the average hospitalization rate of the past three days to previous weeks, there is a drop — a positive sign regarding the virus’ spread.
The hospitalization rate appears to be reaching a plateau, and Gov. Cuomo believes social distancing is the reason for it.
If the new hospitalization rate continues to decrease, with the help of social distancing, Gov. Cuomo believes the “curve” will continue to flatten, putting less strain on hospitals.
Unfortunately though, Tuesday to Wednesday had the highest day-to-day death toll so far in New York. 779 people passed away due to the coronavirus. The previous all-time high, set the day prior, was 731.
“This virus attacked the vulnerable, and attacked the weak,” Cuomo said.
Previously, hospitals were told to increase their capacity by 50 percent, with a goal of 100 percent.
The search for more hospital beds and ventilators, which help patients breathe, has been ongoing, but is showing positive results. Cuomo says the state has about 90,000 beds right now. It’s not clear how many ventilators and pieces of personal protective equipment are available, but Cuomo says there are currently enough for hospitals, as of Tuesday.
Cuomo signed an executive order that allows New York State to move ventilators, masks and gowns from hospitals and other care facilities that don’t need them, and deploy them in places where they’re needed.
The institutions will either get the supplies back afterwards, or they will be reimbursed. It is not yet clear how, or if, this will impact western New York.
For weeks, the Governor has been making changes in how everyday life operates. On Wednesday, he ordered flags to fly at half-mast in honor of the lives lost to COVID-19.
Originally, schools were told to close until April 1, but that has been extended through April 29. Non-essential businesses will also be closed through that date as well, due to Cuomo’s New York State on PAUSE order.
Anyone caught violating New York’s social distancing protocols will be fined $1,000.
Speaking on the state’s future, Cuomo says that New York is working with New Jersey and Connecticut on a tri-state effort to “restart life.”
Details were few, but Cuomo says it will not be like “a light switch that you flip one day and everything goes back to normal.”
“We need to start planning, restarting life…We’re going to have to restart a lot of systems and we need to plan for it,” Cuomo said. “It’s going to come down to how good we are with testing. You’re not going to end the virus before you start restarting life.”
Right now, many people across the state, and the country in general, are unemployed due to the business closures. The negative financial effect this has had on state residents led the Governor to increase the time period allowed for unemployment to 39 weeks.
In addition, those who filed for unemployment will receive an extra $600 payment to help them through this period. Cuomo expects New York to be reimbursed by the federal government.
Primary elections in New York are set to take place on June 23. Cuomo is allowing all eligible voters to submit absentee votes to decrease the density of people in one place.
Anyone with personal protective equipment or other supplies they would be willing to donate during this pandemic can either call (212) 803-3100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.