The state has a new goal to combat the coronavirus through more testing and federal aid, and it is simple when put in terms that Governor Andrew Cuomo repeated twice Sunday.
“Slow the spread of the virus to a rate the healthcare system can manage,” Cuomo said.
Not only does the governor hope to test up to 1,000 people per day through automated testing, but he is encouraging more density control and calling on the feds to extend its military might against the virus.
The Sunday press conference was on brand with one by Mayor Bill de Blasio held Saturday, in which he invoked a “wartime dynamic” with precautions against community spread.
“If you have too high a number of people sick at the same time, when they descend on the hospital system, they will overwhelm the hospital system,” Cuomo said to reporters. “You want to do a retrospective on who should have done what when? Do it when this is all over… We have never fought a virus like this with this potential consequence.”
The approximately 53,000 normal hospital beds are not a concern of state officials, the 3,000 currently available intensive care unit beds are where Cuomo hopes to make improvements.
Ventilators – expensive and scarce, Cuomo said, due to global demand – reserve hospital staff are a capacity the state hopes to rapidly expand.
As for closing schools, Cuomo recognized the issue of childcare and student meals that working families depend on and said localities would need to play a role in this decision.
There are now three official deaths in the state from complications linked to coronavirus, and Cuomo emphasized how fast the numbers move. There are now 65 patients in ICU in New York and only 600 beds.
Cuomo is requesting that the FDA approve automated testing companies to accelerate the amount of tests available and that the federal government take a greater leadership role in containment which states have been following their own lead on.
Cuomo said New Jersey and New York residents going back and forth for certain needs due to mismatched policies can put the public at greater risk.
The military and the Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) are needed to expand hospital capacity as they have resources and people who can step in to help, the governor added.
“I do not have the resources or the capacity,” Cuomo pleaded. “What better time to use [ACE resources] than saying… let’s use the massive logistical machine of the military to actually save lives. It makes all the sense in the world and we have no options. We have no options.”
As for the mandating the close of bars and restaurants, such as in Hoboken, N.J., Cuomo is not mandating any similar measures yet.
The state legislature will return to session this week, with Cuomo defining government as an essential service which will make decisions on coronavirus response measures.
Cuomo believes that the state could be short “thousands” of beds and ventilators.
Courts will continue their work unless the matter is not time sensitive such as money collection.
This story first appeared on amny.com.