Apr 23, 2020
Andrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 23
Governor Andrew Cuomo held his daily New York coronavirus briefing on April 23. He said a New York antibody study estimates 13.9% of New York residents have had the coronavirus. Full transcript here.
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Andrew Cuomo: (09:30)
Grim facts. Troubling facts. I don’t give grim facts. I don’t give happy facts. You know, facts are facts and when we started this, I said the best thing I can do is to give people the truth and give people the facts separate from an opinion, separate from my spin, separate from what I would like to believe, what I hope. Just facts.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:58)
The reason I do that is because everything we’re doing is basically voluntary on behalf of people, right? State government, local government, federal government can’t really, it doesn’t have the power to enforce stay at home orders. If 19 million people said, “I’m going out today,” they would go out. But the belief was if they have the facts, if they understand the facts, they’ll act prudently in connection with the facts. Now, some of the facts have been disturbing, some of the facts have been ugly, but those are the facts and that’s my job is to present the facts as facts. If I have an editorial comment on the facts, I give it to you, but I want you to know that’s my editorial comment versus what data or science will say.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:53)
Also, our Muslim brothers and sisters begin the observation of Ramadan this evening and we wish them all the best.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:03)
The hospitalization rate is down again, so that is good news. The overall, if you project the curve, everybody’s looking at curves nowadays. If you look at the curve, the curve continues to go down and that’s also in the total hospitalization number; bounces up and down a little bit, but it’s clearly down. Number of intubations bounces a little bit but it’s also clearly down. The number of new COVID cases walking in the door or being diagnosed is relatively flat. That is not great news. We’d like to see that going down but it’s not going up either. Number of lives lost is still breathtakingly tragic, 438. That number is not coming down as fast as we would like to see that number come down and what we’re looking at at this point is, okay, we’re on the downside of the curve. The numbers are trending down. Do they continue to trend down or do they pop back up? If they continue to trend down, how fast is the decline and how low will the decline go?
Andrew Cuomo: (12:29)
In other words, if 1,300 people or about that number keep walking in the door, then you’re going to have a hospitalization rate proportionate with the number of people walking in the door. So we want to see the number of people walking in the door reduced, the number of new infections reduced, so we hit a low plateau, if you will, but we don’t know what that is and we don’t know when it is.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:02)
If you look at the number of incoming cases, it’s been remarkably flat for the past several days. So that’s the best indicator of how containment is working and how the close down policies are working and over the past few days, we basically flattened the 1,300 new cases a day, which is not great. We’d like to see those new cases reducing even more and we’d like to see them reducing faster.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:34)
You then have other longterm questions. Is there a second wave of the virus? We talk about the 1918 pandemic. It came in three waves. Is there a second wave? Does the virus mutate and come back? The federal officials are starting to talk about the fall and potential issues in the fall. They’re worried about the virus waning somewhat during the summer. Remember those talk, will it go away when the weather gets warm? No one’s really saying it will go away when the weather gets warm in the summer, but there’s still a theory that the virus could slow during the summer but then come back in the fall.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:17)
If it comes back in the fall, then it comes back with a normal flu season. That’s then problematic because you are then “testing” for the flu and you’re testing for COVID on top of all the other tests you do? That could be a possible overwhelming of the testing system.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:37)
If people could have the flu or could have COVID in the fall and they don’t know which it is, they could get nervous and start going into the healthcare system, which could then bring back a capacity issue in the healthcare system. So that’s something we have to worry about and watch.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:54)
Nursing homes, they are our top priority. They have been from day one. Remember how the nursing home system works. They are private…
Andrew Cuomo: (15:03)
… [inaudible 00:15:00] how the nursing home system works. They are private facilities. They get paid to provide a service. They get regulated by the state government. There are certain rules and regulations that they must follow, and we put in additional rules and regulations on nursing homes in the midst of this crisis.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:20)
Staff must have appropriate PPE. They must have their temperatures checked before they come into the facility.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:29)
There are no visitors who are coming into the facility, which is a tremendous hardship, but it’s necessary to protect public health.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:39)
If they have a COVID-positive person in the facility, that person has to be in quarantine.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:44)
They have to have separate staff for the COVID residents versus the non-COVID residents.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:52)
If they can’t care for the person in the facility, they have to transfer the person to another facility. The nursing home is responsible for providing appropriate care. If they cannot provide that care, then they have to transfer the person to another facility.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:13)
They have to notify residents and family members, within 24 hours, if any resident tests positive for COVID or if any resident suffers a COVID-related death. That is a regulation that they have to follow.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:29)
They have to readmit COVID-positive residents, but only if they have the ability to provide the adequate level of care under Department of Health and CDC guidelines. If they do not have the ability to provide the appropriate level of care, then they have to transfer that patient or they call the Department of Health, and the Department of Health will transfer that patient. That is how the relationship works.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:04)
The state has very strict guidelines on privately-run facilities. They get paid to take care of a resident. That resident, that patient must have a state-directed level of care. If they cannot provide that, they can’t have the resident in their facility period. Those are the rules.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:29)
We’re going to undertake an investigation of nursing homes now to make sure they’re following the rules. It’s going to be a joint Department of Health and attorney general investigation, but those are the rules. They get paid to take care of a resident, and they have to do it in accordance with state rules. If they don’t, we will take appropriate action. The State Department of Health and the attorney general are going to be commencing an investigation to make sure all those policies are in place and being followed. If they’re not being followed, they can be subjected to a fine or they can lose their license. It’s that simple.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:11)
Testing. Testing is going to be a major operation that happens from now until the situation is over. It’s new. It’s technical. It’s complex. It’s a political football, but testing does a number of things for us. Number one, it reduces the spread of the virus by finding people who are positive, tracing their contacts, and isolating them. That’s a function of testing.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:45)
Testing also, what they call antibody testing, you test people to find out if they have the antibodies. Why? Because, if they have the antibodies, they can donate blood for convalescent plasma, which is one of the therapeutic treatments. You want to find people who had it so you can identify them to donate for convalescent plasma.
Andrew Cuomo: (19:12)
The testing also can tell you the infection rate in the population, where it’s higher, where it’s lower, to inform you on a reopening strategy. Then, when you start reopening, you can watch that infection rate to see if it’s going up and, if it’s going up, slow down on the reopening strategy. There are different forms of testing for different purposes. All of them are important.
Andrew Cuomo: (19:51)
It was vital for any state, I believe, to first get a baseline study of where you are on the infection rate. All we know, to date, is the hospitalization rate. How many people are coming into hospitals? That is all we have been tracking. That’s all we know. Then, from that, you’ve had all sorts of anecdotal extrapolations on the hospitalization rate saying, “I think the infection rate is this. I think the infection rate is that.” I said I want to have the infection rate, so we have undertaken the largest, most comprehensive study of New York state to find out what is the infection rate.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:38)
That we started a few days ago, sample size, so far, of 3,000 people statewide. Let’s find out what the infection rate is. We have preliminary data on Phase One, and this is going to be ongoing. We did about the 3,000 tests. We’re going to continue this testing on a rolling basis. We’ll have a larger and larger sample, but I want to see snapshots of what is happening with that rate. Is it going up? Is it flat? Is it going down? It can really give us data to make decisions.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:16)
We did 3,000 surveys in about 19 counties, 40 localities across the state. The surveys were collected at grocery stores, box stores, et cetera. That’s important. It means you are testing people who, by definition, are out of the home and not at work. What does that mean? I don’t know, but that has to be a factor that’s taken into consideration. These are people who were out and about shopping. They were not people who were in their home. They are not people who were isolated. They’re not people who were quarantined who you could argue probably had a lower rate of infection because they wouldn’t come out of the house. These are people who were outside. These are people who were not at work, so they’re probably not essential workers. That has to be calibrated.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:17)
What we found, so far, is the statewide number is 13.9% tested positive for having the antibodies. What does that mean? It means these are people who were infected and who developed the antibodies to fight the infection. They were infected three weeks ago, four weeks ago, five weeks ago, six weeks ago, but they had the virus, they developed the antibodies, and they are now, quote, unquote, recovered, 13.9%, just about 14%.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:59)
Breakdown male-female: female, 12% positive, males close to 16%, 15.9% positive.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:12)
Regionally, Long Island at 16.7, New York City at 21.2, Westchester/Rockland 11.7, and rest of state 3.6. This basically quantifies what we’ve been seeing anecdotally and what we have known, but it puts numbers to it. Rest of the state is basically upstate New York, 3.6. It was been about 7, 8% of the cases that we’ve had in the state.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:43)
Westchester/Rockland, we had an initial significant problem. Remember Westchester had the largest, hottest cluster in the country at one time, 11%, so it’s literally somewhere in between. New York City, 21, which again supports what we knew anecdotally. Long Island, 16.7, so it’s not that far behind New York City, and it is significantly worse than Westchester/Rockland. We’ve been talking about Westchester/Rockland and Nassau/Suffolk basically as one, but there is a variation with the Long Island numbers.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:22)
By race, Asians, about 11.7%, African-American, 22%, Latino/Hispanic, 22%, multi/none/other, 22%, white, 9.1%. This reflects more the regional breakdown. African-American and Latinos are in this survey disproportionately from New York City. New York City is at 21%, so the African-American number, Latino number is 22% but… and the upstate whites, they’re talking about more upstate, which is 9, but it’s 3.6 in the survey.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:12)
By age, nothing extraordinary here. We did not survey anyone under 18, so it starts with 18 years old. 18 to 24, 8%, 45 to 54, 16, 75-plus, 13, but it’s a small percent of the total. Again, how many 75-year-olds were out shopping and about? That is the group that’s supposed to be isolating because they are the most vulnerable, 65 to 74 also. That’s the distribution.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:51)
Again, the sample was, by definition, people who were outside the home, so we have to analyze that. What does that do to the numbers? That is a factor that has to be taken into consideration.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:06)
If the infection rate is 13.9%, then it changes the theories of what the death rate is if you get infected. 13% of the population is about 2.7 million people who have been infected. If you look at what we have now as a death total, which is 15,500, that would be about 0.5% death rate, but two big caveats. First, it’s preliminary data. It’s only 3,000. Well, 3,000 is a significant dataset, but it’s still preliminary.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:51)
When we say there are 15,500 deaths, that number is going to go up. Those deaths are only hospitalization or nursing home deaths. That does not have what are called at-home deaths. This doesn’t include people who died in their home and were not in a hospital or a nursing home. We still have to compile all that data. Then, the at-home deaths, you have to go back and try to find out what was the cause of death for those at-home deaths and then add them to the number of deaths connected to COVID.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:35)
It gets even more complicated because, in California, they’re now finding deaths that go back to last December or January that they believe were COVID-related, and people didn’t even know about COVID at that time. If you then go back to December and January and start to look at the number of deaths and check them for a COVID-related death, I don’t even know how you’d do that practically, you’ll see that total number of deaths go up.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:15)
That 15,500 is not an accurate total number of deaths, in my opinion. Well, fact, it’s not an accurate total number of deaths because it does not count in-home deaths, at-home deaths. It’s not accurate because there will have been many other deaths that were never tested for COVID that should be attributed to that number, but with those caveats, that’s what we see in this survey.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:47)
It also supports the decision that we talked about to have a regional analysis and decision making. Upstate New York is 3.6%. New York City is 21%. What you do in a place with 21% is not the same thing, necessarily, that you would do in a place with 3.6%. It’s just not. It’s the same theory that some states open now and New York doesn’t because the facts should dictate the action. If the facts dictate the action, when you have different facts, excuse me, you have different action. When we talk about a regional analysis on reopening, that’s exactly right because look at the facts in that area.
Andrew Cuomo: (29:36)
Sorry, but there’s a second complicating factor because there always is. What you do in a region still has to be coordinated because, you have a pent-up demand in the whole tri-state area where one region opens up for business, you could see people come in from literally from the tri-state area and overwhelm-
Andrew Cuomo: (30:02)
… Literally from the Tristate area and overwhelm that region. We try to rationalize with Connecticut and New Jersey because there have been facilities in Connecticut that were open and you have all sorts of New York license plates there. So yes, regional analysis, but understand on that regional analysis that you still exist in a Tristate area with millions of people who are looking for something to do to get out of the house and put the kids in the car and go. So that has to be factored in because that is a significant factor. We also have to do more to get testing in the African American and Latino communities. We talked about health disparities. This state did not have the kind of disparities we’ve seen in other states, but I want to understand them and I want to address them. There are going to be a number of factors why you could have a higher percentage of positives in the African American Latino community.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:08)
There were existing health disparities, there were existing comorbidities, underlying illnesses, diabetes, et cetera. I also believe you have a greater percentage of the, quote unquote, essential workers who are African American, Latino, and while everyone else or many other people had the opportunity to lock down at home, as terrible as that was, the essential workers had to get up every morning and go out and drive the bus and drive the train and deliver the food and do all those essential services that allowed people to stay at home. Also, you have more people in the New York City area, more people getting on subways, getting on buses, more people dealing with that density and we know that’s where it communicates, but New York City housing authority, we’re starting more testing today at New York City housing authority facilities. You talk about public housing, I was a HUD secretary, I worked in public housing all across this nation. That is some of the densest housing in the United States of America.
Andrew Cuomo: (32:23)
People crammed into elevators, crammed through small lobbies, overcrowding in their apartment. So public housing does pose a special issue and it should be addressed. I also want to get more testing in African American and Latino communities all through the New York City area, including Long Island after this. I want to work with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and Congress member Evette Clark and Congress member Nydia Valasquez to help us work with the churches in those communities. The churches have volunteered, many of them, to be testing sites. One of the problems is finding a testing site, but many churches have said they would be willing to use their facilities for testing sites. As we ramp up the testing, I want to get it into the African American and Latino community, and using the churches as a network I think is going to be extraordinarily effective, but this is something that New York should lead the way on answering this question and addressing this issue.
Andrew Cuomo: (33:34)
I also want to speak to a point from our friends in Washington. Senator McConnell, who is the head of the Senate, we’ve been talking about funding for state and local governments, and it was not in the bill that the house is going to pass today. They said, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. Don’t worry, the next bill.” As soon as the Senate passed it, this current bill, Senator Mitch McConnell goes out and he says, “Maybe the states should declare bankruptcy.” Okay. This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time and I said to my colleagues in Washington, I would have insisted that state and local funding was in this current bill, because I don’t believe they want to fund state and local governments, and not to fund state and local governments is incredibly shortsighted. They want to fund small business fund, fund the airlines.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:39)
I understand that, but state and local government funds police and fire and teachers and schools. How do you not fund police and fire and teachers and schools in the midst of this crisis? Yes, airlines are important. Yes, small businesses are important. So police and fire and healthcare workers who are the front line workers, and when you don’t fund the state, then the state can’t fund those services. It makes no sense to me. Also, it makes no sense that the entire nation is dependent on what the governors do to reopen. We’ve established that. It’s up to this governor, it’s up to this governor, it’s up to this governor, but then you’re not going to fund the state government. You think I’m going to do it alone? How do you think this is going to work? And then to suggest we’re concerned about the economy, states should declare bankruptcy. That’s how you’re going to bring this national economy back? By states declaring bankruptcy? You want to see that market fall through the cellar?
Andrew Cuomo: (35:42)
Let New York state declare bankruptcy. Let Michigan declare bankruptcy. Let Illinois declare bankruptcy. Let’s California declare bankruptcy. You will see a collapse of this national economy. So just dumb. Vicious is saying, when Senator McConnell said, this is a blue state bailout, what he’s saying is if you look at the states that have coronavirus problems, they tend to be democratic states. New York, California, Michigan, Illinois. They are democratic states. So if you fund states that are suffering from the coronavirus, the democratic states, don’t help New York state because it is a democratic state. How ugly a thought. I mean, just think of what he’s saying. People died. 15,000 people died in New York, but they were predominantly Democrats. So why should we help them? I mean, for crying out loud, if there was ever a time for you to put aside your pettiness and your partisanship and this political lens that you see the world through Democrat and Republican and we help Republicans, but we don’t have Democrats. That’s not who we are.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:27)
It’s just not who we are as a people. I mean, if there’s ever a time for humanity and decency, now is the time. And if there was ever a time to stop your political, obsessive political bias and anger, which is what it’s morphing to, just a political anger, now is the time and you want to politically divide this nation now, with all that’s going on? How irresponsible and how reckless/ I’m the governor of all New Yorkers. Democrat, Republican, independent. I don’t even care what your political party is. I represent you, and we are all there to support each other. This is not the time or the place or the situation to start your divisive politics. It is just not.
Andrew Cuomo: (38:27)
That’s why, look, our rules has been very simple from day one. There is no red and blue. There should have never been a red and blue when it comes to when the important issue, but certainly not now. And that’s not what this country is all about. It’s not red and blue, it’s red, white and blue. And when we talk about New York tough, we’re all New York tough, Democrats and Republicans, and we’re all smart and we’re all disciplined and we’re all and we’re all in this together and we understand that and that’s how we operate. And we operate with love, and we’re strong enough to say love. To say love is not a weakness, it is a strength. And New Yorkers are that strong. Questions?
Speaker 4: (39:14)
Governor, we’re seeing over 1,100 correction staffers and inmates who tested positive for COVID. What more can the state do to release people detained on parole violations more quickly? And what about releasing elderly and medically vulnerable people and making sure that inmates are getting hand sanitizer? Is there any ability to get the National Guard in jails?
Speaker 5: (39:36)
So as of today, there’s 263 prisoners who have tested positive for COVID and then from that we are quarantining people. There’s 1,397 people in the prison system which have been quarantined. We actually have not seen the kind of outbreaks that we feared that we would see. We’re monitoring it very closely. We’ve done a number of things including stopping visitation and doing isolation above and beyond, but within humanity, making sure that you’re not putting people in solitary confinement. So we’re monitoring this very closely. We’re getting briefed on it every morning. We’ve already taken a number of steps, the technical parole violations, the people over 55 with the 90 days, and as the situation evolves and warrants change, this will change.
Andrew Cuomo: (40:20)
Give me one second. Let me just go back to my self proclaimed grim reaper, Senator McConnell for another second. He represents the state of Kentucky. Okay? When it comes to fairness, New York state puts much more money into the federal pot than it takes out. Okay? At the end of the year, we put into that federal pot $116 billion more than we take out. Okay? His state, the state of Kentucky, takes out 148 billion more than they put in. Okay? So he’s a federal legislator. He’s distributing the federal pot of money. New York puts in more money to the federal pot than it takes out. His state takes out more than it puts in. Senator McConnell, who’s getting bailed out here? It’s your state that is living on the money that we generate. Your state is getting bailed out. Not my state.
Speaker 4: (41:44)
I have a follow up question about the National Guard. I didn’t get an answer on that. I was wondering if there’s any thoughts on using the National Guard to clean jails and prisons or even nursing homes?
Andrew Cuomo: (41:52)
Not at this time. [inaudible 00:41:58].
Speaker 6: (41:52)
Less than 1% of the prison population has even been tested? Do we know if there’s an outbreak in prisons or are enough tests available?
Andrew Cuomo: (42:07)
Enough tests are not available anywhere. We need more tests for prisons, more tests for nursing homes, more tests of antibodies. We more test across the board. That is not just New York, that is nationwide. That’s why everyone is scrambling on this testing, testing, testing, and how do you bring it up to scale?
Speaker 5: (42:24)
Sorry, if I could just add one thing, Dan. We are testing in prisons the same way that we’re testing outside of prison, so people who are demonstrating the symptoms that are associated with it that we know have come into direct contact and so they’re getting the same standards being applied within prison walls as is to everybody else.
Speaker 6: (42:42)
Speaker 5: (42:43)
If they fall under those conditions, yes.
Speaker 7: (42:45)
Have you called Senator McConnell? Have you made any contact with him?
Andrew Cuomo: (42:49)
Speaker 7: (42:49)
Do you intend to?
Andrew Cuomo: (42:49)
Speaker 7: (42:50)
On the issue of the 20% of New York City residents who seem to be testing positive via the antibody testing, does this change the calculation vis-a-vis contact tracing? I mean, that’s two million people basically in New York City that could conceivably have been exposed.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:06)
No, it doesn’t change the calculus. Contact tracing is not the answer. It’s not the be all and end all, but it’s one of the tools in a very small toolbox. Right? You don’t have that many effective tools to use, so it’s a tool in a small toolbox and you’re right. The tone of the question is right. Could you ever test and trace every positive? No. No.
Speaker 8: (43:40)
Governor, the state department of health is charged with regulating nursing homes and investigating claims of neglect and making sure that they’re complying with regulations. Why is it that they haven’t done that already, if that’s what their job is?
Andrew Cuomo: (43:54)
No, they do do it. They do it on an ongoing basis. This is a crisis situation for nursing homes. They are under a lot of pressure. We understand that. Through no fault of their own, by the way. This happens to be a virus that happens to attack elderly people and nursing homes are the place of elderly people, so this is a very intense situation for nursing homes, we get it, but they still have to perform their job and do their job by the rules and regulations.
Speaker 6: (44:28)
What went wrong, if the state had a ton of regulations and guidelines, and yet we saw-
Andrew Cuomo: (44:32)
Nothing went wrong. It’s what went wrong in hospitals? What went wrong in society? What went wrong? Nothing. Mother nature brought a virus and the virus attacks young people. I’m sorry, old people, and nothing went wrong. Nobody’s to blame, but for creation of the situation, but they have to deal with the situation.
Speaker 7: (45:03)
[ crosstalk 00:45:02].
Speaker 9: (45:03)
Governor [inaudible 00:45:02]-
Speaker 10: (45:03)
So what [inaudible 00:45:01]-
Speaker 9: (45:03)
Speaker 10: (45:03)
Oh, no, you go ahead, ask.
Speaker 9: (45:05)
Governor, the situation with the Rochester city schools apparently is becoming increasingly critical. The school superintendent has suggested that he’s going to leave at the end of June, and their finances, teetering as they were even before all of this have gotten increasingly dire. Is there a concern that you have there and is there anything that the state can do at this point on that?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:22)
We’ve been talking about the Rochester school district for a few months. I don’t think anything has happened recently. Rob, do you know?
In the budget we did give them some flexibility and gave them advanced payments. On their situation, I think the superintendent there had some desire to make some reductions. They’re dealing locally within the board on what they needed to do. We gave them some flexibility and we gave them advanced payments to the tune of close to $30 million in this budget so that they could use those tools, but like every other district they’re going to have problems, but they were actually treated and were given more flexibility than any other district in the state.
Speaker 10: (45:58)
So back to nursing homes, what should these facilities have done differently when this guidance came out from DOH saying that they had to either readmit or admit new patients to these homes, and when they voiced those concerns saying, “Hey, we don’t have enough PPE you don’t have no space, our staff is calling out sick,” what’s that communication like with DOH and how has DOH been handling it? [crosstalk 00:01:19]-
Andrew Cuomo: (46:20)
Yeah, they should have followed the rules, and the rule says if you can’t provide adequate care to a patient, you must transfer the patient, period.
Speaker 10: (46:31)
So it’s up to them to transfer the patient?
Andrew Cuomo: (46:34)
Yes. And then, if they can’t transfer a patient to another facility, so they call other facilities, “Do you have a bed available,” if they can’t transfer the patient, they call the Department of Health and say, “I can’t find a facility for this patient,” and department of health finds the facility for the patient.
Speaker 10: (46:52)
Did any nursing homes object to one, this policy, and two, [crosstalk 00:46:54]-
Andrew Cuomo: (46:55)
They don’t have the right to object. That is the rule, and that is the regulation, and they have to comply with it, and the regulation is basic common sense. If you can’t provide adequate care you can’t have the patient in your facility, and that’s your basic fiduciary obligation, I would say ethical obligation, and it’s also your legal obligation. If you can’t provide adequate care, the person must be transferred. If you have COVID people, they have to be quarantined, they have to have separate staff, that’s the rule. If you can’t do it, we’ll put them in a facility that can do it. That’s the rule.
Andrew Cuomo: (47:35)
Now, when a person gets transferred, then they lose a patient, they lose that revenue, I understand, but the relationship is, the contract is you have this resident, you get paid, you must provide adequate care. If you can’t, that patient has to be transferred to a facility where they get adequate care.
Speaker 10: (47:59)
So if the state’s assisting with the transferring of patients to other homes-
Andrew Cuomo: (48:02)
If they can’t do it.
Speaker 10: (48:04)
If they can’t do it, then what about if they can’t provide enough PPE, because as you said yesterday it’s up to those facilities to provide the PPE, so is the state assisting in any way? Is there a stock pile?
Andrew Cuomo: (48:15)
We have given them thousands and thousands of pieces of PPE. You’re right, it’s their primary responsibility, but it’s their primary responsibility like it’s a hospital’s primary responsibility, and hospitals ran into problems, nursing homes ran into problems. This is national story, right? You turn on the nation news any given time and you’ll have people saying “We can’t get enough PPE.” It’s been an international problem. So we were sending, we were getting PPE from China, remember, and we were getting PPE and we were distributing the PPE also, and how many pieces?
Well, to put into context for the Governor, on the emergency basis for nursing homes alone 417 thousand surgical grade masks, 101 thousand gowns, 85 thousand face shields, 422 thousand gloves, 5000 gallons of sanitizer, so on that scale we have been, on an emergency basis, making it available to those facilities who have called and said “We can’t,” while managing as well, hospitals and other facilities that have had a desperate need for this in addition to the nursing homes.
Speaker 10: (49:29)
Is that a weekly number that they’re [inaudible 00:49:30]-
This is sense the middle, this is sense about two weeks ago.
Speaker 9: (49:35)
Is there a concern with the practice in some facilities have rotating staff to different facilities so they can cover different shifts?
Andrew Cuomo: (49:43)
I have not heard that.
Speaker 10: (49:43)
How many calls have you gotten from DOH, from these, sorry, from these facilities to DOH, specifically from these nursing homes if they can’t comply. Do you have a number on that?
Andrew Cuomo: (49:52)
Just saying transfer patients?
Speaker 10: (49:53)
Yes, so if a facility says “Hey, we can’t-”
Andrew Cuomo: (49:53)
Huck, do you know how many?
[crosstalk 00:04:56], specifically.
Andrew Cuomo: (49:57)
Have you heard about getting those calls?
We haven’t gotten any calls like that.
Speaker 10: (50:00)
Not any calls at all?
Speaker 12: (50:01)
Not that I know of, but we can track it and find out.
Speaker 10: (50:03)
What about assistance for the PPE? Have you gotten calls on that?
We’ve had assistance for PPE, and as Jim just mentioned, the amount of supplies that have been delivered to the nursing homes.
Speaker 10: (50:12)
Do you have a number on how many nursing homes have called for that or adult care facilities?
Not off the top of my head.
Speaker 11: (50:20)
Is the state investigating why we’re seeing so many more deaths in some nursing homes?
Andrew Cuomo: (50:25)
Excuse me, one second. Can we just, let’s give people who haven’t asked [inaudible 00:50:24].
Speaker 12: (50:25)
Thanks. I have a question about the state workforce, and I don’t know how the unions factor into this, but in the areas of like, let’s say Plattsburg, Watertown, Binghamton where you have state offices buildings and the infection rates are relatively lower, could you maybe have workers who are working from home come in, nonessential workers and do something partial? Maybe in the more urban areas, maybe Syracuse and Rochester have by zip code where there are lower people, lower infection rates and have them come in? I’m just asking.
Andrew Cuomo: (51:01)
No, I … Look, I think it’s a very good question, and I think that’s part of, when we talk about these regional analysis and regional decision making, I think that’s one them. We said we have a matrix, right? So it’s more essential businesses that are lower risk would be the top priority, right? A matrix has two variables, how essential is your business, how much risk does your business bring? Government workers are essential, I would argue, as a government worker, and you can socially distance in a government workplace, so I think that would be one of the prime candidates in a regional reopening strategy once we get there, right?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:49)
On the regional you want to look at what is the overall infection rate, like this data, you want to look at the hospitalization rate. You don’t get anywhere on a reopening discussion until you see that hospitalization rate flat or coming down, right? Those are the CDC guidelines when they talk about phase one and phase two, so that hospitalization rate has to be coming down, the infection rate has to be low, then you can start the conversation on reopening regionally and calibrating it.
Andrew Cuomo: (52:21)
Let’s take one more. Sir?
Speaker 11: (52:22)
Speaker 9: (52:22)
Speaker 11: (52:22)
Sorry. Can I just make one point on the state workface? The nonessential workers who are home right now are still being paid, so those workers are still being paid while they’re home right now.
Speaker 9: (52:30)
How soon do you think a regional decision might happen? What are we talking [crosstalk 00:52:36]?
Andrew Cuomo: (52:34)
You have to look at the numbers. You tell me when the numbers change, I’ll tell you when we start the conversation.
Speaker 10: (52:39)
Is the state currently looking-
Speaker 9: (52:39)
But you’ve got numbers on antibody testing, you’ve got numbers on hospitalization, you’ve got numbers on infection rates, so you do have numbers. when-
Andrew Cuomo: (52:46)
Well, you want to look at a flat or dropping hospitalization rate in a region that can reopen as a region. We don’t have the kind the hospitalization rate numbers by region that I can sit here and say “The North Country has been doing down at this rate,” but you need that kind of analysis region by region.
Speaker 9: (53:14)
For like a two period or like-
Andrew Cuomo: (53:16)
Well, CDC guidelines have a two week period, 14 days.
Speaker 11: (53:22)
Is the state investigating-
Speaker 9: (53:22)
Speaker 11: (53:22)
Why we’re seeing so many more nursing home deaths than other ones?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:23)
Can we just, let me just make sure, let me just ask someone who hasn’t asked a question yet.
Speaker 11: (53:29)
Well, other people have gotten to ask multiple questions.
Speaker 13: (53:30)
Earlier this week you identified Lieutenant Governor Hochul and Bob Duffy as coordinating efforts in Western New York. Is there someone coordinating the effort in the Capitol Region?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:38)
We are. I am located in the Capital Region, but Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is from Western New York and she was there, Bob Duffy, my former Lieutenant governor, as you know, a great public servant, he’s in the Rochester Ginger Lakes area, so we had that advantage. We had just a tremendous asset there with Kathy Hochul and Bob Duffy, so they’re doing that, and I consider myself an adequate Capitol District representative.
Speaker 9: (54:09)
And can you update the Unemployment Insurance situation? Even with the new system, we are still hearing from our viewers who are having difficult, people who are frustrated.
Andrew Cuomo: (54:17)
By the way, just to give you context, I was on the phone with all the governors yesterday on a governor’s call. This is across the country, this problem. Across the country. But anyway-
Speaker 15: (54:28)
To punctuate that point from the governor, just for everyone to put it into context, New York State, since this crisis has begun has paid out 2.2 billion dollars to over 1.1 million people who have applied for unemployment insurance. To give you a reference point, California’s done 975 million, Texas, 400 million, Florida, 143 million, Pennsylvania, 600 million, so we have gone above and beyond in terms of ramping up. We today, a number will be released later today, another 207,000 people that applied for and were accepted for unemployment insurance. That’s the number that’s going to be released later today, so that brings us up to 1.4 million New Yorkers who are now going to be collecting unemployment insurance. The backlog that remains is a majority PUA, which is the pandemic unemployment insurance. Those are the gig workers, contractors, self-employed, people who can’t work because their kids schools are closed, people who can’t work because they’ve come into contact with someone who’s COVID positive. That came out of the federal CARES Act, which was passed on March 27th. That’s where the majority of these complaints are coming from, and yes, those people have been out of work or hadn’t been working since before then, but the federal law that was passed that enabled them to collect unemployment insurance didn’t even go into effect until March 27th.
Speaker 15: (55:39)
The Feds then put guidance out that said you have to apply for unemployment insurance, get rejected and then apply for pandemic unemployment insurance, which was a complete disaster. We have now streamlined that process in New York. That was this past Monday. We rolled out the new form, which you apply one time and then we make the determination which pot you go into, so now the majority of the backlog is from that category of people, and just to give you further context, California isn’t even rolling out their ability to apply for PUA until April 28th, and Illinois not till May 11th, so I know that this is hard, it’s terrible, you’ve lost your job, you’re struggling to pay the bills, it’s hard enough without having to deal with bureaucracy and red tape. This is on a scale this nation has never experienced, and New York by comparison is actually doing a tremendous job, and we just ask people to remain patient. We’ve now put 3000 people on this issue and we’re going to continue to pound the phones and do the data input until it’s all complete and everyone has what they need.
Andrew Cuomo: (56:36)
Yeah. Just the point this-
Speaker 9: (56:36)
Speaker 11: (56:36)
Speaker 10: (56:36)
Andrew Cuomo: (56:38)
Just to put this in context, we have done far more, far faster than I think any other state in the country, and the number of people who’ve gotten assistance is mind boggling, but none of that matters, right? For a person, there’s only one check that matters, and that’s their check, and I get that, and if they don’t get their check it doesn’t matter that it was only March 27th et cetera, and some states aren’t even starting this yet, but people are anxious and it’s their check that that matters to them. Again, the good news is it’s not going to cost you any money, because you will get the check. I know you want it today, but you will get it, and when you get it, it’s the same dollar amount as if you got it today. ” I still want it today,” I get it, but there is, this is an impossible problem that they handed to the states.
Andrew Cuomo: (57:40)
They just passed a law, it just goes into effect March 27th, we have to figure out who’s eligible, how it’s administered and then get a check out the door. It’s an impossibility. It really is an impossibility. Hire 3000 people to put together a system, but it is an impossibility. Again, the only good news is you’re going to get the check, it’s going to be the same dollar amount. Yes, I know you want it today, but we’re getting it to you faster than probably any other state in the United States of America, which as a governor I feel good about, but for an individual who didn’t get the check, none of it matters.
Speaker 10: (58:20)
Speaker 9: (58:20)
Speaker 12: (58:20)
Andrew Cuomo: (58:21)
You get the last question because of your undying patience.
Speaker 11: (58:24)
Will the state investigate why we’re seeing so many more deaths in some nursing homes than others? Over 20, about 20 nursing homes have over 40 fatalities, six nursing homes have over 40, and when will New York also provide a plan to provide free childcare to all essential workers across the state?
Andrew Cuomo: (58:39)
Yes. That is going to be one of the criteria for the investigation that the Department of Health and the Attorney General are undertaking. Thank you very much.