Restarting NY will require widespread testing and tri-state cooperation, Cuomo says

Photo by Mike Groll, Office of the Governor

Despite April 6 having the highest number of deaths — 731 from COVID-19 in one single day — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is beginning to plan for an approach to restart life in New York using a tri-state approach with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. 

The three-day average for the number of new hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and daily number of individuals discharged have all been on a decline. But he is cautioning the public to not let their guard down, especially with warm weather approaching and religious holidays coming later this week.

“It still depends on what we do, and what we do will affect those numbers.” Governor Cuomo said. “This is not an act of God that we’re looking at. It’s an act of what society actually does.”

New York still leads as the most impacted state in the U.S. and has recorded a total of 5,489 coronavirus-related deaths as of Tuesday morning. 

“Behind every one of those numbers is an individual, is a family, is a mother, is a father, is a brother, is a sister,” Cuomo said in an effort to continue to show the seriousness of the outbreak. 

Despite not “being there yet,” Cuomo began to introduce ways to transition back into everyday life.

“This is not a light switch that we can just flick one day and everything goes back to normal,” Cuomo said. “We’re going to have to restart the economy, restart a lot of systems that we shut down abruptly – and we need to start to plan for that.”

The tri-state approach for restarting life after COVID-19 would be based on large scale testing. The New York State Department of Health approved antibody testing that would test the blood to “determine whether or not you have the antibodies, which means you had the virus and resolved the virus and are no longer contagious.”

Those who have the antibodies would be able to get back to work or school sooner and begin transitioning back to everyday life.

However, in order to bring this testing to a larger scale, New York state would need the Food and Drug Administration to approve the test.

Currently, there is 15-minute rapid testing available, but the state has a 50,000 person testing capacity. 

“It’s [the 50,000 person testing capacity] not a scale that is actually going to make a large difference,” Cuomo said.

New York state is working with its neighbors, New Jersey and Connecticut, and are looking to invest in private testing companies that can help accelerate this testing capacity.

Interested testing companies are encouraged to call 212-803-3100 or email for further information.

Governor Cuomo also discussed the need for federal assistance to help in restarting the local economy, and described the past stimulus bill “as woefully inadequate from New York’s point of view.” 

“We had the time to actually study the legislation – it actually gets worse when you read it,” Cuomo said. “It’s not even what was represented to us initially.”

While Governor Cuomo does believe the legislation did good for some of the nation, it left New York behind. He is sending a letter today communicating his concerns to New York’s congressional delegation as Washington begins to discuss another coronavirus aid bill.

Despite being 37 days into the pandemic, Governor Cuomo encouraged New Yorkers to not grow complacent and to stay smart and disciplined in this time. 

“Remember, it is about ‘we,’ not ‘me,’” Cuomo said.