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COVID-19 LATEST: Cuomo denies Trump claim they talked about NY quarantine; CDC issues domestic travel advisory for NY, CT, NJ

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Fast Facts:
  • CDC issues domestic travel advisory for New York
  • Number of deaths in the state rose from 519 to 728
  • Westchester had 688 new cases bringing its total to 7,875
  • ICU admissions in the state dropped from 374 on Thursday to 172 on Friday
  • Total new hospitalized also declined over the same two days from 1,154 to 847
  • Tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15
  • Presidential primary is delayed and will be linked to the congressional and legislative primary elections on June 23
  • The governor called for a nationwide buying consortium to stop states, as well as the federal government, from bidding against each other for critical medical supplies
  • The hospital ship USNS Comfort with 1,000 beds and 1,200 medical personnel was expected to arrive at a NYC pier on Monday

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo contradicted an assertion by President Trump this afternoon that the two had spoken about imposing a quarantine on New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Trump made the claim to reporters as he was departing the White House en route to Norfolk, Virginia, where the hospital ship USNS Comfort was getting ready to sail for New York City.

Cuomo said that the two did speak this morning, but Trump said nothing about a possible quarantine. Cuomo said he had no idea what Trump could be talking about and he doubted it would be legal and he had no idea how it could possibly be enforced.

The president later backed off the quarantine idea. However, last night the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that stated:

“The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.  This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.  These employees of critical infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security  have a special responsibility to maintain normal work schedule.  The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.”

COVID-19 At a noontime news conference in Albany, Cuomo said there have been 728 deaths reported in New York state from the COVID-19 virus. Nationwide, there have been 1,839 deaths. In Westchester, 10 deaths were reported as of yesterday by County Executive George Latimer.

There were 7,875 cases identified in Westchester, compared with 29,766 in New York City. Rockland had 1,896 cases while Orange had 1,101 cases. There were 262 cases reported in Dutchess. New York state had a total of 52,318 confirmed cases.

Cuomo said that the presidential primary scheduled for April 28 has been delayed until June 23. Cuomo said it will coincide with the state legislative and congressional primaries that had already been scheduled for that date.

Cuomo announced that the state has moved the deadline for filing taxes to July 15, which coincides with what the federal government has done.

Cuomo said that the state is administering 1,100 tests of the combination of drugs hydroxychloroquine and zithromax to see if they have any effect in combating the virus. In addition, the state Department of Health has received approval to go ahead with a test to recover antibodies from the blood of people who have had COVID-19 and see whether the antibodies can be used to help others fight off the virus.

Cuomo said that President Trump has decided to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers build four more emergency hospital facilities.

They will be at the New York Expo Center in the Bronx, at CUNY Staten Island, the Aqueduct Race Track and the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. The 1,000-bed emergency hospital facility installed at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan is due to open on Monday, Cuomo said.

The governor holds a manual bag valve mask.

Cuomo said there still is a pressing need for ventilators and he demonstrated a bag valve mask device that could be put into use in a worst case scenario.

Unlike a ventilator machine, the bag valve mask is manually operated and would continuously need a person to keep squeezing it in order to force air into the lungs of a patient whose ability to breathe had been compromised by the virus. Cuomo said if need be he’d order National Guard troops to be trained in how to use the device to keep people alive.

Cuomo again suggested that the apex of the outbreak likely will be felt in New York in the next 14 to 21 days.

He said that hospitals in New York state need to start operating as a “system” in which if one gets overwhelmed patients and staff can be moved around as necessary locally, regionally and even on a statewide basis. He said, for example, that if the downstate hospitals become overwhelmed, he wouldn’t hesitate to shift patients to upstate hospitals.

“Patients can and should be moved among those local hospitals as the need requires,” Cuomo said. “Staff can and should be moved among those local hospitals as circumstances require.”

“It feels like it’s been going on forever, but it really hasn’t,” Cuomo said of the crisis. He pointed out that the state had its first COVID-19 case just 27 days ago and it was just 18 days ago that everyone was focused on the “cluster” of cases in New Rochelle.

Staff writer Bob Rozycki contributed to this report.

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