Dec 17, 2020
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript December 17: Declares State of Emergency in 18 Counties
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in 18 NY counties on December 17 due to inclement weather. Read the transcript of his press conference briefing here.
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Governor Cuomo: (00:00)
Marie Therese Dominguez, who is our commissioner of New York State Department of Transportation, Matt Driscoll, who is the commissioner of the New York State Thruway Authority. It was a pleasure with that cashless tolling. Good for you. 427 miles of cashless tolling. Easier said than done, but Matt got it done. Mike Kopy, who’s our director of emergency management. We have members of the national guard. We have members of the state police pleasure to be with all of you. News flash, it snowed a lot in New York State. We’re going to declare a state of emergency in 18 counties across the state.
Governor Cuomo: (00:41)
State of emergency allows local governments more flexibility, state government more flexibility to move faster. The 18 counties are of course Capital Region, Southern Tier and Hudson Valley. They include Albany, Broome, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, Ulster, and Washington. As of this morning, we had snow all across the state. Here in Kingston, we had about 15 inches, Albany about 21 inches, Binghamton in some place two and a half feet in the Southern tier in Binghamton, New York City about three to four inches, Long Island about four to six inches.
Governor Cuomo: (01:29)
The Department of Transportation, the thruway have done an excellent job in getting equipment out. Ulster County, the city of Kingston, likewise, they’ve done a great job. But we expect another four to five inches coming down before the storm leaves the state at about one, 2:00 this afternoon. We have thousands of pieces of equipment out, 2000 snowplows, 478 loaders, 3,500 department of transportation and thruway personnel out. That’s without county personnel, city personnel, town personnel. So there are a lot of people working very hard today to clear those roads. If you do not have to be on the roads, please don’t travel today.
Governor Cuomo: (02:22)
First, it is dangerous. The roads are dangerous, especially a lot of the local roads are very dangerous. And second, the people who were trying to do the plowing and clearing the roads, the traffic is an obstacle to that. So let them do their job and let’s do it safely. We have about 9,100 power outages that we are working through right now. We had about 600 automobile accidents and we had about two fatalities. So it is a serious condition. And again, stay home, if you can. We’re looking at total snow falls, when all is said and done Albany about 21 inches Binghamton about 30 inches, Kingston here should be just at about 15 inches.
Governor Cuomo: (03:21)
Buffalo got a break, about two inches. North Country got a break, about three or four inches and New York City did not get hit that badly, Manhattan about three inches, Staten Island about four inches, Long Island, two inches in Riverhead, five inches in Stony Brook. So it’s really those 18 counties that we talked about. Let me also talk about the COVID update for today. Today is day 292, believe it or not, of dealing with COVID. 292 days. We did 200,000 tests yesterday. We test more than any state in the country and the COVID tests really give us firm data that we can react to.
Governor Cuomo: (04:15)
So it’s not anecdotal. It’s not I think this, I heard this, my cousin said this. We test more than anyone, so we have more facts to base our knowledge on. Overall, the state with the micro clusters, and the micro clusters are our high case load areas in the state, was about 5.3. That’s actually good news. That’s down from about 6.2. Bad news is 120 New Yorkers passed away yesterday, and they are in our thoughts and prayers. And I have been doing these numbers for 292 days. And the hardest number every day is the number of New Yorkers that we have lost.
Governor Cuomo: (05:08)
And 120 New Yorkers, that’s 120 families. That’s mothers and brothers and children who are coming into the holiday seasons losing a member of their family. So we remember them today. 6,147 hospitalized, that’s up about 50 from yesterday. 1,095 in ICU, that’s down about three from the day before. 611 patients intubated, that’s about flat. When you look across the state on the positivity level, which is an indicator of the spread in that area, Capitol Region is at 6.2, central New York, 6.9, Finger Lakes, 8.2. Finger Lakes are a real problem area in the state for us right now.
Governor Cuomo: (06:05)
Mid Hudson, 6.1, Mohawk Valley is a problem, 8.03, New York City, 4.1 North Country, 4.4, Southern Tier, 2.3. Southern Tier is a great turnaround story on COVID. They have had real micro cluster problems. They had real intense spread in small areas and they got it together and they turned it around. 2.3, they are now the lowest in the state, the Southern Tier. Western New York, 6.5, that’s also a flattening of Western New York. We saw Western New York going up for a long period of time. People got the word out, they took it seriously. We’re now seeing a flattening of that increase and that’s good news.
Governor Cuomo: (07:00)
Now, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, statewide, that’s 5.2%. On COVID, let me say this and let’s get at a simple message that we can all agree with. We want to slow the spread. We want to avoid shutdowns and together we can do it. Slow the spread. How do you slow the spread? We’re smart during the holiday season. It’s a difficult situation. Holidays, people come together. There’s a feeling of safety in your home. There’s a feeling of safety when you’re with your family, but it just takes one person who is infected and doesn’t know it. Doesn’t know it.
Governor Cuomo: (07:53)
Half the cases are from people who had no symptoms. So normally holiday season, you’re in your home. You’re in your living room. Uncle Joe comes over, Aunt Nancy comes over and they’re your family. But Uncle Joe or Aunt Nancy can be infected and not know it. And you sit at a table and you have a nice meal and you have a good conversation and the next day you could have issues. So we have to keep that in mind through the holiday season. But if we’re smart, we can slow the spread. If we slow the spread, we can avoid any more economic shutdowns.
Governor Cuomo: (08:38)
And that is the number one goal, save lives and avoid economic shutdowns. We just have to make it to the point where the vaccine hits critical mass and we’re working like mad to get that vaccine there, but we have to be smart. Slow the spread, avoid the shutdowns. Together, New Yorkers can do it. New Yorkers did the impossible in the spring, the impossible. I had every global expert telling me there was no way that we were going to flatten the curve in this spring, every expert. And you know what, New Yorkers did it. I believe in New Yorkers.
Governor Cuomo: (09:27)
We slow the spread. We won’t have to shut down anything. We take the vaccine and we turn the page in life and we get ready for 2021. Meanwhile, today, please, I’ve been all around today. I’m telling you it is not safe and you shouldn’t be out there if you don’t have to be out there. And there are a lot of issues slowing down the plows, slowing down the personnel who have been working now for multiple hours and everybody’s tired. The storm leaves this afternoon. Let’s clean it up. We’ll move on. Any questions? Sir? Any tough questions for Pat Ryan?
Governor Cuomo: (10:15)
Pat Ryan and Mayor Noble say there is not a question you can ask them that you can stump them. That’s what they just said to me.
Speaker 2: (10:22)
Governor Cuomo: (10:30)
There is, not on the main transport. Where we are with the vaccination now is the federal government basically flies in the vaccine. It comes by airplane. FedEx, UPS are a big part of the logistical drop-off, but there is no significant disruption. In places where we need to supplement the transportation with four wheel drive vehicles, heavy equipment, we’re doing that. Nobody wants to stump Pat Ryan, Steve Noble? Thank you very much. Be safe. Be careful. Good to see you.