COVID-19 Cases Reach 10,000 in NYS, Gov. Calls for Civility & Mental Health Volunteers
In a March 21 morning briefing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state as reached 10,000 with 3,000 cases identified and hundreds of tests still pending.
Cuomo says the numbers show the testing is working to identify and address the spread of the virus and is a positive thing as it helps in the state's efforts to bring the curve into levels the health care system can manage within the next few months.
He says, while he knows people would rather hear that the situation will be resolved in weeks, based on all the information from the spread and resolution of the coronavirus around the world, it will be months.
The Governor says New York is conducting more testing than other state in the U.S. and more tests than are currently being done in China and South Korea.
Addressing the concerns of county leaders across the state about a lack of medical supplies, Cuomo says New York has identified 6,000 ventilators it can purchase. When those ventilators will be shipped and received is not firm, but the governor indicated it could be a matter of days.
Cuomo says 2-million N-95 medical masks are coming with half of those going to New York City where there is the most number of critical cases, 500,000 to Long Island and the rest to other parts of the state. The governor told reporters the number of masks headed upstate will cover the current demand while the state is working with New York garment and other manufacturers to start producing more in New York.
Cuomo says N-95 masks normally cost about $.85 but the state is paying $4.00. He said, "Yes, it's price-gouging. But we need them."
The governor admits attempts to track down suppliers of new medical gowns has been more challenging as New York search around the globe for the items. Cuomo says the state is working on finding the materials needed to have private companies or the state to start producing the gowns.
Cuomo, meanwhile is calling for civility among New Yorkers, telling residents to be kind, thank health care workers, grocers, bus drivers, first responders, firefighters and police for their work.
He also said the state is taking steps to address the social consequences of the crisis. Cuomo says "there is no Dow Jones Industrial to measure the level of stress and anxiety." Cuomo says he wants psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists who are willing to volunteer to contact the state. He says New York will soon be setting up online and other resources for residents to access to talk through emotional consequences of the emergency.
Governor Cuomo said:
"Yes, we have a problem. Yes, we will deal with it. Yes, we will overcome it. But let's find our better selves in doing it, and let New York lead the way in finding their better selves and demonstrating their better selves."