WPCNR WEDNESDAY GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING. By John F. Bailey. May 20, 2020:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is stepping up testing in minority areas across the state and information efforts because of the first results of community-based coronavirus testing in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx showing new infections to be as much as double other areas of the city, 7% to 15% more than the infection rate of 19% in other neighborhoods.
He said the highest rate of infection is among Latino and African-Americans. He noted the Hollis Queens neighborhood, (the Governor’s old neighborhood) has a 35% rate of infection; The Bronx, 34%. Brooklyn, 41% He said in the communities where testing was set up May 5, the survey conducting tests through area churches showed infection rates still increasing at double the rest of the city.
He warned the rest of the state that the infection rates will be the greatest in the areas of the poor/minority concentration of population.
The Governor’s daughter, Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo, introduced 5 “Wear the Mask” spots presented among 600 submissions to the state contest for effective spots to promote Wearing the Mask statewide. The Governor emphasized:
“Masks Work! It’s in the data, not just because I’m saying it.”
The news release on the briefing details: Governor Cuomo announced the state is continuing its partnership with Ready Responders to expand testing from eight to 40 public housing developments across New York City. The state is also partnering with SOMOS to establish 28 additional testing sites at churches and community-based providers in predominately minority communities, for a total of 72 faith-based testing sites in the state in partnership with Northwell Health and SOMOS. The state will also work to stop community spread in these neighborhoods by increasing PPE availability, providing hand sanitizer, enforcing social distancing and expanding public health and education in these communities.
Governor Cuomo also directed all local governments to expand testing in low-income communities and develop outreach programs to help address the disparities in these communities.
The Governor pointed out again that the infection rates of essential workers, who put themselves daily in front of the virus is lower than the 19% rate of the general population.
In the “Q & A” session with reporters, Marissa DeRosa, the Executive Secretary to the Governor, said that twice a week testing of 180,000 Nursing Home Staffers was being supplemented by Health Department personnel because nursing homes were overwhelmed. (She said there were 100,000 nursing home residents in the state, and was underway.)
The Governor said the nursing home coronora virus testing twice a week were results the state consultants brought in to aid in analyzing were very interested in seeing, because an increase in local staff infections would give an indication of spread in regions which have already reopened.
The governor said there was no decision yet on when Casinos would be reopened saying that would be in Phase 3 of the reopening process. He said was discussing the heavy density problem presented by the casinos and he and Governors Lamont and Murphy of Connecticut and New Jersey were discussing the casino problem. The Governor said casinos owned by Tribal Nations were not subject to state restrictions.
In a question on the natural gas moratorium, Governor Cuomo said the utility companies have said there is no longer a need for a new pipeline demanded by untilities because of anticipated gas shortages (that resulted in Con Edision declaring a moratorium on new gas construction installations.
Asked about the rate of new hospitalizations in Reopenings around the state, the Governor said there was no data yet, that no upticks had been seen because it is too early to have new infections resulting in hospitalization, pointing out there is a two week lag.
He said schools should be prepared to continue remote at home computer learning, (and improve it) based on teachers’ current experiences with computer learning in students’ homes.
In a another significant development, the Governor was asked what his reaction was to proposed state legislature effort to introduce a bill limiting any Executive Order issued by the Governor to 30 days, without approval of the legislature. The governor said he was not aware of it, and would look at any legislation the legislature wants to propose.
Note: No media person followed up on the question raised in the Tuesday briefing as to whether incoming arriving passengers from European and foreign flights were being tested for coronavirus.