Dear New York,
It has been 56 long days since New York’s first confirmed Coronavirus case. It has been frustrating, stressful and difficult for all of us. But I want New Yorkers to know that what we are all doing right now is saving lives. That is no exaggeration. We have flattened the curve and brought down the infection rate of this virus. That’s one heck of an accomplishment and something to be proud of. I know these 56 days haven’t been easy — but the sacrifices New Yorkers are making are not in vain.
Photo of the Day: The Corning Tower displayed a “NY Tough” message at the Empire State Plaza in Albany on Thursday night (Photo by Mike Groll)
Here’s what else you need to know tonight:
1. I will issue an Executive Order allowing all pharmacies to test for COVID-19. This will unlock a network of over 5,000 independent pharmacies as diagnostic testing locations and help the state build a collection network to meet laboratory capacity and increase overall testing capacity. Many large pharmacy chains are already performing testing, and this order expands it to all pharmacies.
2. New York is expanding diagnostic testing criteria to include all first responders, healthcare workers and essential employees. That means that these essential workers will be able to be tested even if they do not have symptoms. These are our heroes who are risking their health to get us through this crisis and they deserve priority for testing. The state will continue to expand testing criteria as testing capacity increases.
3. The State is conducting antibody testing for frontline healthcare workers. Antibody testing is being conducted today for staff at four NYC hospitals that have been especially hard-hit by this pandemic: Bellevue Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital, Montefiore Medical Center and SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Next week, the state will begin conducting antibody testing for first responders and transit workers, including MTA employees, New York State Police and the NYPD.
4. Total hospitalizations continue to decline. Yesterday, there were 1,185 new COVID hospitalizations in the state, down from 1,296. That puts us at about the same level as we were 21 days ago when we were still going “up the mountain.” We must continue taking precautions to help ensure these numbers go down as quickly as possible. Total hospitalizations dropped yesterday to 13,524 (down from 14,285 the day before). But tragically, we had an uptick in deaths yesterday — to 438 — which is devastating news. We mourn every single New Yorker taken by this vicious virus.
5. Two Central New Yorkers wrote a book to explain Coronavirus to kids. Titled “The Incredible Docs vs Billy the Bad Virus,” the book explains how germs spread and the precautions we can take to be safe and healthy. Proceeds for the children’s book will benefit the charity “No Kid Hungry.”
6. Remember to respond to the Census. Responding to the Census is safe, easy and can be done online from the comfort of your own home. Let’s make sure every New Yorker is counted. Complete the Census today at my2020census.gov.
Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: The Metropolitan Opera hosted an “At Home Gala” event featuring over 40 musicians from around the world performing from their homes, as well as pre-recorded performances by the Met Orchestra and Chorus. Watch the event at the above link.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo