• Cuomo’s brother tests positive for coronavirus
• Number of deaths in the state rose from 1,218 to 1,550
• Westchester had 641 new cases bringing its total to 9,967
• The governor said, “We know what we have to do. We just have to do it.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported today that his brother, CNN journalist Chris Cuomo, has tested positive for COVID-19. He is quarantined in the basement of his house in order to protect his wife and three children.
“It’s my family, it’s your family, it’s all of our families,” the governor said. He again stressed the importance of adhering to social distancing requirements.
“We still see people coming out who don’t need to be out,” Cuomo said. “Stay at home. Everyone is subject to this virus. It is the great equalizer. I don’t care how smart, how rich, how powerful you think you are. I don’t care how young, how old.”
In Westchester, County Executive George Latimer reported that 25 were dead from the virus in the county. There are 275 residents in hospitals in the county and New York City.
Cuomo said that the number of retired or former health care professionals who have volunteered their services during the crisis has now grown to more than 78,000. The state has established a database to act as a portal for linking the individuals to places they’re needed. The portal was expected to be online this afternoon. The state has assigned approximately 175 people to verify the credentials and backgrounds of the volunteers.
Cuomo said that the team coordinating the integration of New York’s public, private, downstate and upstate hospitals into a single cooperating system is functioning, but the federal government has not yet joined the team. Cuomo said he wanted FEMA to become involved with hospital coordination and personnel and supply deployment up front so it doesn’t come in late in the game and try to shake things up. “I don’t want FEMA coming in and blowing the coordination,” he said.
“Normally you have hospitals fighting for patients because patients are revenue,” Cuomo said about the unique nature of hospitals combining their efforts.
He said that the state’s hospital system needs to be thought of as a chain because if one link breaks the whole system can collapse.
“The health care system is a chain. It breaks anywhere, it breaks everywhere. That has to be our mentality,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said that the state has ordered 17,000 ventilators from China, but only has a firm expectation that it will receive 2,500. He again called for a national purchasing effort instead of having each state competing with each other and also competing against the federal government for goods.
“It’s like being on Ebay with 50 other states bidding on a ventilator,” Cuomo said. “How inefficient, and then FEMA gets involved and FEMA starts bidding. And FEMA is bidding on top of the 50. So FEMA is driving up the price. What sense does this make?” Cuomo said that FEMA has now cornered the market on ventilators. He said that New York is planning to adapt other equipment, such as anesthesia machines, for use as ventilators.
Cuomo reported that Westchester had 9,967 confirmed cases of COVID-19, representing 641 new cases since yesterday. Based on the population of the county being 980,244 as reported by the office of Westchester County Executive George Latimer, the number of cases detected through testing in the county has now surpassed more than 1% of the population.
New York City had 43,139 cases, while Rockland had 2,863 cases, Orange had 1,556 and there were 484 cases detected through testing in Dutchess. New York state had a total of 75,795 cases detected.
In Westchester, 35,623 tests for COVID-19 have been administered with 1,515 tests yesterday. Throughout the state, 205,186 tests were conducted. The number of deaths in the state stands at 1,550, up from 1,218 yesterday.
Cuomo said he’s not happy with the problems that have affected the state’s unemployment insurance system due to the extreme numbers of people trying to get help and apply for benefits. “It’s not working as smoothly as I would like to see it. It’s compounding peoples’ stress. You’re unemployed, you’re trying to get on some darn website, you can’t get through to the website.”
He said there were vendors who had hundreds of people at work trying to make the Department of Labor’s website for unemployment insurance applications capable of handling the load.
With the state budget due tomorrow, April 1, Cuomo is not hopeful the federal government will actually come through with funds to help fill a $10 billion to $15 billion budget hole.
“We do a budget on the projections we now have. If we get more funding we increase the allocations. If we don’t get more funding we reduce the allocations,” Cuomo said.