NEW YORK – Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday the State Department of Health will begin to conduct a statewide antibody testing survey.
Starting Monday, the testing survey will sample 3,000 people for a population of 19.5 million people – for context Germany performed a 3,000-person sample with a population of 83 million.
Large-scale antibody testing will help determine the percentage of the population that is now immune to the virus, allowing more individuals to safely return to work.
Governor Cuomo also announced the state will continue working with the federal government to assist with the supply chain and coordinate private labs to ramp up diagnostic testing, another key component of getting people back to work and restarting the economy.
The Governor says the state is ready to transport 400 ventilators to Massachusetts within 24 hours if they are needed.
The Governor also says he will sign an Executive Order allowing any authorized officiant to perform marriage ceremonies using online video technology.
Yesterday, the Governor issued an Executive Order allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference, a practice that is banned under current law.
Many marriage bureaus have temporarily closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing New Yorkers from getting a marriage license during the current health emergency; yesterday’s Executive Order temporarily suspends a provision of law that requires in-person visits.
“Any plan to start to reopen the economy has to be based on data and testing, and we have to make sure our antibody and diagnostic testing is up to the scale we need so we can safely get people back to work,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are going to start antibody testing across the state tomorrow – and we are going to do that in the most aggressive way in the nation. This will be the first true snapshot of exactly how many people were infected by COVID-19 and where we are as a population and will help us to reopen and rebuild without jeopardizing what we’ve already accomplished.”