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Andrew Cuomo

April 6, 2021 - 11:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) led a letter with congressmembers Claudia Tenney (NY-22), Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), and Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) in calling on Governor Cuomo to release billions in rental assistance funding allocated to New York State by Congress in December.

“Tenants and landlords across New York State have suffered enormous economic hardship during the pandemic," reps. Jacobs, Tenney, Garbarino, Zeldin and Malliotakis wrote. “Congress recognizes this reality, and it is why we allocated funds to assist New Yorkers in need.

"We are concerned that more than half of the money provided under the CARES Act remains unspent, while none of the $1.3 billion provided in December has been spent. Numerous other states have already distributed this funding. It is imperative these funds reach their intended recipients promptly.”

Specifically, the representatives are asking the Governor to provide a timetable for the creation of the application portal the state government said it would be using for distribution. The representatives are also asking that the Governor disclose if he intends to add additional eligibility requirements to receive the funding above what is required by the federal government.

New York received $1.3 billion in federal funding for residential rental assistance in the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by Congress in December and will be receiving another $1.4 billion under the American Rescue Plan. In addition, $100 million was provided under the CARES Act.

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear Governor Cuomo,

We write to request information on New York State’s implementation of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. As you know, New York received $1.3 billion in federal funding for residential rental assistance in the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by Congress in December and will be receiving another $1.4 billion under the American Rescue Plan. In addition, $100 million was provided under the CARES Act. We are concerned that more than half of the money provided under the CARES Act remains unspent, while none of the $1.3 billion provided in December has been spent.

We respectfully request your reply within 14 days of receipt of this letter with answers to the following questions:

  • Your administration indicated it will be setting up a universal application portal for all applicants across the state. Is that portal ready? If not, when will it be?
  • Will the state be adding additional eligibility criteria to receive funds above what is set by federal law?

As you know, tenants and landlords across New York State have suffered enormous economic hardship during the pandemic. Congress recognizes this reality, and it is why we allocated funds to assist New Yorkers in need. Numerous other states have already distributed this funding. It is imperative these funds reach their intended recipients promptly.

March 13, 2021 - 12:25pm

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following joint statement on Friday:

“Confronting and overcoming the COVID crisis requires sure and steady leadership. We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct.

"Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.”

February 18, 2021 - 5:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, Andrew Cuomo, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after it was reported last night that the FBI and the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office have opened an investigation into Governor Cuomo and senior members of his COVID-19 Task Force.

“For weeks, I have called for a full federal investigation into Governor Cuomo and his staff for their actions to cover up the disastrous impacts of the Governor’s directive forcing COVID positive patients back into nursing homes.

This investigation is long overdue but necessary to the grieving families who have been cast aside, smeared, and talked down to by this Governor for simply seeking answers surrounding the death of a loved one.

“I will keep working tirelessly until we have these answers. This investigation should leave no stone unturned and thoroughly examine the deliberate and willful action to withhold information from federal prosecutors and the public. The Governor’s actions represent one of the greatest betrayals of public trust during this pandemic. He must be held accountable."

February 12, 2021 - 2:28pm
posted by Press Release in steve hawley, Andrew Cuomo, news, nursing home deaths.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley speaks on bombshell New York Post report that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top aide admitted to covering up nursing home deaths:

“It is hard to find the words to express my frustration with the details of this report," Hawley said. "I am incredibly saddened by how families who have already lost their loved ones have been disrespected by this administration after already going through the painful process of grief.

"We now know for certain that the governor put his reputation before the lives of over 15,000 nursing home residents, and we must keep all options on the table to hold him accountable, along with everyone else responsible for this tragedy and the ensuing cover-up.

"At this point, any excuses made to not rescind the governor’s emergency powers and immediately investigate this matter as thoroughly and independently as possible are entirely disingenuous, and we must now all put politics aside to do what’s right for the thousands of families who had their loved ones taken from them.”

February 8, 2021 - 1:31pm
posted by Press Release in steve hawley, Andrew Cuomo, news, nursing homes.

From Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

Taking ownership of our decisions is something that we’re taught the importance of from a young age, such as when our schoolteachers told us the story of George Washington and his famous cherry tree. While that tale was just an American folk story, it taught us all that our greatest leaders are honest and take responsibility for their actions, just as we all should as citizens.

That message is more relevant than ever following our governor’s inability to take responsibility for the deaths of thousands of New Yorkers in our nursing homes. 

The unfathomable loss of life that took place this year is the greatest tragedy I’ve witnessed in my time as a legislator in Albany. As lawmakers and as human beings, we should all feel angry about the cover up that they tried to hide from us.

In recent months, we’ve heard lots in the media about unity and coming together to do what’s right. While in this moment, we have been provided the opportunity to stand together against something we should all be able to recognize as wrong.

The issue at hand is nothing nuanced or technical. The simple fact of the matter is that thousands of people died because of decisions our governor made, and we have been presented with a choice. Lawmakers can choose to seek justice and stand with the people or defend his wrongdoings and stand for his political interests.

We need hearings to hold those responsible for this tragedy accountable, and despite the hesitance of some in the Majority to do so, we need to disempower the governor to prevent him making further bad decisions that could bring our state even more pain.

With our governor clearly unwilling to own up to his own mistakes, we in the Legislature need to take back our role in government to protect our most vulnerable.

We all need to recognize that this tragedy was caused by the deliberate and unwise actions of our governor, and that it would be negligent of us to let him retain the emergency powers he used to hurt so many people.

All eyes are on us to see if we can do the right thing, and I assure you that the countless people in this state who had the ones they loved taken from them will not soon forget who had the conviction to stand up for the people, versus those who cared more about political gamesmanship and their own well-being.

In a time when people trust their government less than ever to do what’s right, let’s come together for once to address something we can all agree is reprehensible — the intentional coverup of thousands of preventable deaths.

February 3, 2021 - 4:28pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, Andrew Cuomo, covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) joined the entire New York Republican Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to Acting Attorney General (Robert M. "Monty") Wilkinson requesting the Department of Justice immediately issue subpoenas for Governor Cuomo, the Secretary to the Governor, the New York State Commissioner of Health, and their staff on all documentation and communications related to their nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to a thorough update on the Civil Rights Division's inquiry into New York State's handling of the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes.

"Attorney General (Letitia “Tish”) James’ report proved what we have suspected for months," Congressman Jacobs said. "The actions of Governor Cuomo, Commissioner (Howard) Zucker, and administration officials have obscured the toll of the Governor's mandate forcing COVID-positive patients back into nursing homes with other high-risk elderly individuals.

"He had a duty to ‘follow the science’ and protect the most vulnerable in our population. Instead, his order can only be categorized as a failure in leadership and a betrayal of public trust. Rather than take responsibility for his actions, and work transparently to correct such a disastrous mistake, Governor Cuomo and his administration have tried to shift blame and obstruct elected officials pursuing the truth. A full and thorough federal investigation into this cover-up must be conducted, and those responsible must be held accountable.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) said "Today, my colleagues and I continue the fight towards justice for the people of New York. We will work to ensure that Acting Attorney General Wilkinson and President Biden support this pursuit for the truth about Governor Cuomo and his administration, considering the scathing evidence presented in Attorney General James' recent report. Tens of thousands of innocent people in our great state died, and unlike the Governor, we care.” 

Congressman Lee Zeldin (NY-1) said "The families and loved ones who lost parents and grandparents and so many other New Yorkers care deeply about the Governor's attempts to cover up the true consequences of his fatally flawed nursing home policy. In light of the Governor's own Attorney General's report, it's clear that what happened here is criminal. These families and New Yorkers demand further answers and accountability, and we won't rest until they get it."

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) said “For months, my colleagues and I have pushed for an independent investigation into Governor Cuomo’s mishandling of nursing homes that led to thousands of deaths during this pandemic. Even after there were alternative facilities to treat COVID-positive patients, the governor mandated nursing homes take COVID-positive patients even if they couldn’t care for them.

"Now, we learn that his department of health covered up the true number of lives lost and underreported it by thousands. In October, the Department of Justice announced that it was administering an inquiry into this matter, and I sincerely hope their investigation continues independently without any interference from the Biden Administration.” 

Congressman Andrew Garbarino (NY-2) said “I am grateful that the Department of Justice launched an investigation into Governor Cuomo’s reckless handling of the COVID-19 nursing home outbreak. The great people of New York’s 2nd Congressional District sent me to Washington to fight for them, and I am proud to join my colleagues in demanding justice for every Long Islander who lost a loved one due to these failed policies."

Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23) said “Thousands of New York families who lost a parent or grandparent due to New York’s disastrous nursing home policies deserve nothing less than full transparency and accountability. If the Biden administration and their Department of Justice are truly committed to following the spirit of independence and impartiality, they should join with us as we work to further uncover the depths of Governor Cuomo and New York State’s incompetence. It is the only remedy to ensuring such horrific public health mistakes never happens again.” 

June 1, 2020 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

  • Positive reform agenda also includes national ban on excessive force; independent investigations of police abuse; disclosure of disciplinary records of police officers being investigated 
  • Governor Cuomo: "I said from day one, I share the outrage and I stand with the protestors. You look at that video of the killing of an unarmed man, Mr. Floyd, it is horrendous. Horrendous. It's frightening. It perverts everything you believe about this country. It does and there's no excuse for it. No right minded American would make an excuse for it. So, protest yes. Be frustrated, yes. Outraged, yes of course. Is there a larger problem? Of course."
  • Cuomo: "You want to make that moment work. Yes, you express the outrage. But then you say, 'Here's my agenda. Here's what I want.' That's what we have to be doing in this moment. And the protestors are making a point. And most of them are making a smart, sensible point. But you have to add the positive reform agenda that every voice calls for so the government, the politicians know what to do. And there is a positive reform agenda here. There should be a national ban on excessive force by police officers. There should be a national ban on chokeholds. Period. There should be independent investigations of police abuse."
  • Governor Cuomo today proposed a positive reform agenda amidst the ongoing protests across the state and nation in response to the killing of George Floyd. The reform agenda includes a national ban on excessive force and chokeholds by law enforcement officers; independent investigations of police abuse conducted by independent, outside agencies -- not by local prosecutors; and disclosure of disciplinary records of police officers being investigated.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

We're talking about reopening in one week in New York City. Now we're seeing these mass gatherings over the past several nights that could, in fact, exacerbate the COVID-19 spread. We spent all this time closed down, locked down, masked, socially distanced and then you turn on the TV and you see there's mass gatherings that could potentially be infecting hundreds and hundreds of people. After everything that we have done. We have to talk a minute and ask ourselves what are we doing here? What are we trying to accomplish?

We have protests across the state that continued last night, they continued across the nation. Upstate we worked with the cities very closely. The State Police did a great job. We had, basically, a few scattered arrests, upstate New York. But the local governments did a great job, the people did a great job, law enforcement did a great job. The protestors were responsible. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, either, upstate.

I said from day one, I share the outrage and I stand with the protestors. You look at that video of the killing of an unarmed man, Mr. Floyd, it is horrendous. Horrendous. It's frightening. It perverts everything you believe about this country. It does and there's no excuse for it. No right-minded American would make an excuse for it. So, protest yes. Be frustrated, yes. Outraged, yes of course. Is there a larger problem? Of course. It's not just Mr. Floyd, it goes back -- there are 50 cases that are just like Mr. Floyd. We've them here in New York City. What's the difference between Mr. Floyd and Amadou Diallo? Or Abner Louima? Or Eric Garner? What is the difference? What have we learned? Nothing?

So, yes, we should be outraged. And yes, there's a bigger point to make. It is abuse by police. But it's something worse. It is racism. It is discrimination. It is fundamental inequality and injustice. My father spoke about it in 1984. The speech called "The Tale of Two Cities." People still talk about it. The point of the tale of two cities is there's two Americas. Two sets of rules. Two sets of outcomes. Two sets of expectations. It's true. It was true then, it's true now. Look at our prisons and tell me there's not inherent injustice in society. Look at public housing, tell me there's not inherent injustice.

Look at what happened with this COVID infection rate nationwide. More African Americans infected, more African Americans dead proportionally than white Americans. Of course, there's chronic institutionalized discrimination. There is no doubt. There is no doubt. And there's no doubt that it's been going on for a long time and people are frustrated, and it has to be corrected and it has to be corrected now. And there's no doubt, that this nation as great as it is has had the continuing sin of discrimination. From before the nation was formed and it started with slavery. And it has had different faces over the decades, but it's still the same sin. That is true. That is true. So let's use this moment as a moment of change? Yes.

When does change come? When the stars align and society focuses and the people focus, and they focus to such an extent that the politicians follow the people. That's when change comes. "Well, the leaders lead!" Baloney. The people lead. And then the politicians see the people moving, and the politicians run to catch up with the people. How did we pass marriage equality in this State, giving a new civil right to the LGBTQ community? Because the people said, "enough is enough. How can you say only heterosexual people can marry, but the LGBTQ people— they can't marry? How is that constitutional? How is that legal?" You have your own preference— God bless you. But how in the law, do you discriminate between two classes of people. We passed marriage equality.

 After the Sandy Hook massacre, after all those years we tried to pass common-sense gun safety. Do you really need an assault weapon to kill a deer? But then the Sandy Hook massacre happened, and the people said, "enough. You're killing children? Young children in schools with an assault weapon? In the Sandy Hook massacre. Enough."

And in that moment, we passed common-sense gun safety in the State of New York. Record income inequality? People said, "enough" and passed a real minimum wage in this State that went all across the nation. There's a moment for change, and is there a moment here? Yes. If we're constructive and if we're smart, and if we know what were asking for! It's not enough to come out and say, "I'm angry, I'm frustrated." OK. And what? "Well, I don't know, but I'm angry and frustrated."

And you want what done? You need the answer. "Well, I want common-sense gun reform." OK, what does it look like? Here it is— three points. "Well I want to address income inequality." Well, what do you want? "Here's what I want. Minimum wage at $15. Free college tuition." What do you want?

You want to make that moment work. Yes, you express the outrage! But then you say, "here's my agenda. Here's what I want." That's what we have to be doing in this moment. And the protestors are making a point. And most of them are making a smart, sensible point. But you have to add the positive reform agenda that every voice calls for so the government, the politicians know what to do. And there is a positive reform agenda here. There should be a national ban on excessive force by police officers. There should be a national ban on chokeholds. Period. There should be independent investigations of police abuse.

When you have the local District Attorney doing the investigations— I don't care how good they are— there is the suggestion of a conflict of interest. Why? Because that DA works with that police department every day and now that prosecutor is going to do the investigation of that police department that they work with every day? Conflict of interests can be real or perceived. How can people believe that the local prosecutor who works with that police department is going to be fair in the investigation? It shouldn't be state by state. Minnesota Governor Walz put the attorney general in charge. Good. In this state, I put attorney general in charge of investigations where police kill an unarmed person. Good. But it shouldn't be the exception. It should be the rule. There is no self-policing. There's an allegation, independent investigation. Give people comfort that the investigation is real. 

If a police officer is being investigated, how is there disciplinary records not relevant? Once a police officer is being investigated, if they have disciplinary records that show this was a repeat pattern, how is that not relevant? By the way, the disciplinary records can also be used to exonerate. If they have disciplinary records that say he never, she never did anything like this before, fine. That's relevant too.

We still have two education systems in this country. Everybody knows it. Your education is decided by your zip code. Poorer schools in poorer communities have a different level of funding than richer schools in this state. $36,000 per year we spend in a rich district. $13,000 in a poor district. How do you justify that? If anything, the children in a poorer community need more services in a school, not less. How do you justify that? You can't. Do something about it. You still have children living in poverty in this nation? Well, when we had to, we found a trillion dollars to handle the COVID virus, but you can't find funding to help children who live in poverty? No, you can find it, United States. You just don't want to. It's political will. When you need to find the money, you can find it. Let's be honest, the federal government has a printing press in their basement. When they have the political will, they find the money.

The federal government went out of the housing business and never re-entered it. We have a national affordable housing crisis. Of course you do. You don't fund affordable housing. I'm the former HUD secretary. I know better than anyone what the federal government used to do in terms of affordable housing with Section 8 and building new public housing. And we just stopped, and we left it to the market. Now you have an affordable housing plan. That's what we should be addressing in this moment. And we should be saying to our federal officials, "There's an election this year, a few months away. Here's my agenda. Where do you stand?" Say to the congress, the House and Senate, "Where's your bill on this?" 

I heard some congressional people talking saying well maybe they'll do a resolution. Yeah, resolutions are nice. Resolutions say in theory I support this. Pass a law, that's what we want. A law that actually changes the reality, where something actually happens. That's government's job is to actually make change. Make change. You're in a position to make change. Make change. Use this moment to galvanize public support. Use that outrage to actually make the change. And have the intelligence to say what changes you actually want. Otherwise, it's just screaming into the wind if you don't know exactly what changes we need to make. 

And we have to be smart in this moment. The violence in these protests obscures the righteousness of the message. The people who are exploiting the situation, the looting, that's not protesting. That's not righteous indignation. That's criminality and it plays into the hands of the people and the forces that don't want to make the changes in the first place because then they get to dismiss the entire effort. I will tell you what they're going to say. They're going to say the first thing the President said when this happened. They're going to say "These are looters." Remember when the President put out that incendiary tweet? "We start shooting when they start looting or they start looting, we start shooting?" That's an old '60s call.

The violence, the looting, the criminality plays right into those people who don't want progressive change. And you mark my words, they're going to say today, "Oh you see, they're criminals. They're looters. Did you see what they did breaking the store windows and going in and stealing?" And they're going to try to paint this whole protest movement that they're all criminals, they're all looters. That's what they're going to do. Why? They don't want to talk about Mr. Floyd's death. They don't want people seeing that video. They want people seeing the video of the looting. And when people see the video of the looting they say "Oh yeah, that's scary. They're criminals." No, look at the video of the police officer killing Mr. Floyd. That's the video we want people watching.

Now, I don't even believe it's the protesters. I believe there are people who are using this moment and using the protest for their own purpose. There are people who want to sow the seeds of anarchy, who want to disrupt. By the way, there are people who want to steal. And here's a moment that you can use this moment to steal. You can use this moment to spread chaos. I hear the same thing from all the local officials. They have people in their communities who are there to quote-unquote protests. They're not from their community. They don't know where they're from, extremist groups, some people are going to blame the left, some people will blame the right. It will become politicized. But there is no doubt there are outside groups that come in to disrupt. There is no doubt that there are people who just use this moment to steal. What, it's a coincidence they broke into a Rolex watch company? That was a coincidence? High-end stores, Chanel. That was a coincidence? That was random? That was not random. So, can you have a legitimate protest movement hijacked? Yes, you can. Yes, you can. And there are people and forces who will exploit that moment and I believe that's happening.

But we still have to be smart. And at the same time, we have a fundamental issue which is we just spent 93 days limiting behavior, closing down, no school, no business, thousands of small businesses destroyed. People will have lost their jobs. People wiped out their savings. And now mass gatherings with thousands of people in close proximity one week before we're going to reopen New York City? What sense does this make? Control the spread, control the spread, control the spread. We don't even know the consequence for the COVID virus of those mass gatherings. We don't even know. We won't know possibly for weeks. It's the nature of the virus. How many super-spreaders were in that crowd? "Well, they were mostly young people." How many young people went home and kissed their mother hello or shook hands with their father or hugged their father or their grandfather or their brother or their mother or their sister and spread a virus?

New York City opens next week. Took us 93 days to get here. Is this smart? New York tough. We went from the worst situation to reopening. From the worst situation to 54 deaths in 50 days. We went from the worst situation to reopening in 93 days. We did that because we were New York tough. New York tough was smart. We were smart. We were smart for 93 days. We were united, we were respectful of each other. We were disciplined. Wearing the mask is just discipline, it's just discipline. Remember to put it on, remember to pick it up, remembering to put it on when see someone, it's just discipline.

It was also about love. We did it because we love one another. That's what a community is. We love one another. And yes, you can be loving even in New York. Even with the New York toughness, even with a New York accent, even with a New York swagger. We're loving. That's what we've done for 93 days in a way we've never done it before. Never in my lifetime. Never in my lifetime has this city and this state come together in the way we have. I don't think it ever will again, in my lifetime. Now you can say maybe it takes a global pandemic for it to happen. I don't know if that's true and I don't know that the power of what it was like when it came together might not be so beautiful that people want to do it again.

Remember when we all acted together during coronavirus and we rallied and we knocked coronavirus on its rear end. Remember when we all wore masks and we had to have hand sanitizer? Remember what we did? Wow. When we come together, we can do anything and it's true. It's true for the state, it's true for a nation. When you come together and you have one agenda you can do anything. You want to change society, you want to end the tale of two cities, you want to make it one America? You can do that, just the way you knocked coronavirus on its rear end.

People united can do anything. We showed that, we just showed that the past 93 days. We can end the injustice and the discrimination and the intolerance and the police abuse. We have to be smart. We have to be smart right now. Right now in this state. We have to be smart tonight in this city because this is not advancing a reform agenda. This is not persuading government officials to change. This is not helping end coronavirus. We have to be smart.

May 29, 2020 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release:

  • Announces additional industries following strict safety and social distancing guidelines can reopen in Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier as part of Phase 2 today.
  • Implements new early warning system dashboard to aggregate and organize New York State's COVID-19 data in partnership with county, regional, state and global experts. 
  • Confirms 1,551 additional coronavirus dases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 368,284; new cases in 48 counties.

Governor Cuomo: "Phase one should bring about 400,000 employees back to work in New York City. Remember that reopening does not mean we're going back to the way things were. Life is not about going back. Nobody goes back. We go forward. It's going to be different. It is reopening to a new normal, it's a safer normal. People will be wearing masks, people will be socially distanced. It doesn't mean they don't like you, it's not a personal reflection, it's just a new way of interacting which is what we have to do." 

Cuomo: "Wear a mask, get tested, and socially distance. It is that simple, but that hard. It is that simple, but that hard. Those simple devices - wearing a mask, hand sanitizer -- they make all the difference. You talk to all the experts -- what advice, what should we do? Wear a mask. How can it be that simple? Because sometimes it's that simple." 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York City will enter Phase 1 of reopening on June 8 and that five other regions—Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier — can enter Phase 2 of reopening today. Phase 2 allows office-based workers, real estate services, in-store retail shopping and some barbershop services to resume.

Each industry is subject to specific state guidelines to maximize safety and social distancing. Business guidance for phase two of the state's reopening plan is available here.

Governor Cuomo also announced the implementation of a new early warning dashboard that aggregates the state's expansive data collection efforts for New Yorkers, government officials and experts to monitor and review how the virus is being contained on an ongoing basis.

It tracks new infections and their severity, hospital capacity by region, and other metrics. The early warning system dashboard was developed in consultation with internationally known experts who have been advising New York State. The early warning dashboard can be found here.

May 23, 2020 - 1:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

  • After meeting contact tracing metric, Mid-Hudson Valley will join Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions, which have met the seven metrics required to begin reopening.
  • If number of deaths continues to decrease and tracing is online, Long Island could reopen Wednesday, May 27th.
  • State is partnering with Advantage Care Physicians to establish 15 new testing sites at medical centers Downstate.
  • New York State now has more than 760 testing sites.
  • Reminds New Yorkers to vote in the Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest by Monday, May 25th.
  • Confirms 1,772 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to359,926; new cases in 50 counties.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Mid-Hudson Valley is on track to meet all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state's regional phased reopening plan starting Tuesday, May 26th, joining the Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions.

The Mid-Hudson Valley as now identified enough contact tracers to meet the state's guidelines, and the tracers are being trained in preparation for the Mid-Hudson Valley entering phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pick up and drop off or in-store pick up; and agriculture, forestry and fishing.

On Long Island, the number of deaths is continuing to drop and contract tracing is coming online, and if this trend continues Long Island could be ready to open by Wednesday, May 27th. Business guidance for phase one of the state's reopening plan is available here. A guide to the state's "NY Forward Reopening" Plan is available here. The state's regional monitoring dashboard is available here.

Governor Cuomo also announced the state is partnering with Advantage Care Physicians to establish 15 new testing sites at medical centers Downstate, including testing centers in low-income and minority communities. New York State now has more than 760 testing sites across the state. The Governor also encouraged eligible New Yorkers to visit coronavirus.health.ny.gov to find a nearby testing site and get tested.

The Governor also reminded New Yorkers to vote in the state's Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest, which was launched by the Governor on May 5th and is being overseen by his daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo. New Yorkers can vote for the winning ad until Monday May 25th at WearAMask.ny.gov. The winning ad will be announced on Tuesday, May 26th, and that ad will be used as a public service announcement.

"The numbers are going down every day and we're making real progress to stop the spread of this virus, and now we're focusing on reopening," Governor Cuomo said. "Reopening has been different in different regions all across the state, but each region has to meet the same criteria to reopen and we are keeping New Yorkers informed with where each region stands.

"We don't want a region to reopen before its ready, and the Mid-Hudson Valley Region has now met all the criteria necessary to begin reopening on Tuesday. This has been a tough situation, but New Yorkers are tough and we've shown how tough we really are here."

May 22, 2020 - 3:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

  • Long Island and Mid-Hudson Valley Rregions will be permitted to begin construction staging in anticipation of Phase One of reopening.
  • Launches new pilot program with 52 independent pharmacies to conduct 7,000 tests per week.
  • New York State now has more than 750 testing sites. 
  • State is making contact tracing training program curriculum available at no cost to all states through the National Governors Association.
  • Reminds New Yorkers to vote in the Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest by Monday, May 25th; 92,000 people have already voted.
  • Confirms 1,696 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 358,154; new cases in 48 counties.

Governor Cuomo: "New York State is starting its own small business relief program, working with private banks. We have over $100 million available to make loans to small businesses. We're going to focus on MWBEs that did not receive federal assistance and focus on really small businesses.

"The federal definition of small business is what many could consider large businesses, but we're going to focus on true small businesses -- 20 or fewer employees, less than $3 million in gross revenues. People who are interested in participating in this program can go to the website."

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo today announced the launch of the $100 million New York Forward Loan Fund to provide flexible and affordable loans to help small businesses, focusing on minority and women-owned small businesses, that did not receive federal COVID-19 assistance.

The state will take a smart, targeted approach for distributing these loans, focusing on businesses with 20 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in gross revenues. Businesses interested in receiving a loan should visit esd.ny.gov/nyforwardloans.

Governor Cuomo also announced the Long Island and Mid-Hudson Valley regions will be permitted to begin construction staging in anticipation of phase one of reopening. If the number of deaths continues to decrease and the tracing is online, both regions could reopen next week.

The Governor also announced the launch of a new pilot program with 52 independent pharmacies to conduct 7,000 tests per week. New York State now has more than 750 testing sites across the state. The Governor also encouraged eligible New Yorkers to visit coronavirus.health.ny.gov to find a nearby testing site and get tested.

The Governor also announced that the state is making its contact tracing training curriculum available at no cost to all states through the National Governors Association to speed the process of creating contact tracing programs.

The state partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, to develop this comprehensive online curriculum to train potential contact tracers. Contact tracing is currently underway in seven regions of the state -- the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Southern Tier and Western New York.

The Governor also reminded New Yorkers to vote in the state's Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest, which was launched by the Governor on May 5th and is being overseen by his daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo. New Yorkers can vote for the winning ad until Monday May 25th at WearAMask.ny.gov, and 92,000 people have voted to date. The winning ad will be announced on Tuesday, May 26th, and that ad will be used as a public service announcement.

May 21, 2020 - 2:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, news, covid-19, coronavirus.

Press release:

  • Extends sales tax filing deadline to June 22, 2020.
  • State is investigating 157 reported cases and three deaths related to COVID illness in children with symptoms similar to an atypical Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome.
  • Rockland County is now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care.
  • New Yorkers should call the Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 if they believe their employer is not following Personal Protective Equipment, hygiene or social distancing guidelines.
  • Reminds New Yorkers to look out for calls from "NYS Contact Tracing."
  • Confirms 2,088 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 356,458; new cases in 44 counties.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced summer school will be conducted through distance learning this year to help reduce the risk of spread. Meal programs and child care services for essential employees will continue.

School districts must also develop a plan for students with disabilities who participate in extended summer school year programs over the summer to ensure they receive instruction.

The state will make a determination on the fall semester and issue guidelines in June so schools and colleges can start to plan for a number of scenarios. K-12 schools and colleges will submit plans for approval to the state in July.

Governor Cuomo also announced the state is extending sales tax interest and penalty relief through June 22, 2020. The state previously provided relief through May 19th for returns due March 20th.

This extension could provide interest and penalty relief for up to 89,000 vendors who had returns due in March. These small businesses file their taxes quarterly and annually, and have taxable receipts of less than $300,000 in the previous quarter.

The Governor also announced the state is currently investigating 157 reported cases in New York where children -- predominantly school-aged -- are experiencing symptoms similar to an atypical Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome possibly due to COVID-19.

The illness has taken the lives of three young New Yorkers, including a 5-year old in New York City, a 7-year old in Westchester County and a teenager in Suffolk County. To date, 13 countries and 25 other states have reported cases of this COVID-related illness in children.

Governor Cuomo also announced that Rockland County is now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care. The Governor previously announced that the state will allow elective outpatient treatments to resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near term, and a total of 51 counties can now resume elective surgeries (four counties do not have hospitals).

The Governor also encouraged New Yorkers to call the Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 if they believe their employer is not following personal protective equipment (PPE), hygiene or social distancing guidelines as more businesses begin to reopen.

The Governor also reminded New Yorkers to look out for calls from "NYS Contact Tracing" and to answer those calls as the state begins to implement its contact tracing program.

"As we focus on reopening, schools pose unique complications -- they have high density and transportation issues causing a greater risk of spread unless protective measures are fully in place," Governor Cuomo said. "Now we have another issue that is complicating the situation even further with COVID-related illness in children.

"We are continuing to study this new illness and learn more, but for now summer school will remain closed for in-class teaching and will be conducted through distance learning this year."

May 20, 2020 - 7:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release:

  • Continues partnership with ready responders to expand testing from 8 to 40 public housing sites across NYC.
  • State is partnering with SOMOS (a network of more than 2,500 physicians in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn for Medicaid members) to establish 28 additional testing sites at churches and community-based providers in predominately minority neighborhoods; total of 72 faith-based testing sites in partnership with Northwell Health & SOMOS.
  • Directs all local governments to expand testing in low-income communities and develop outreach programs.  
  • Religious gatherings of no more than 10 people and drive-in and parking lot services will be allowed statewide beginning Thursday, May 21st.  
  • State is convening Interfaith Advisory Council to discuss proposals to safely bring back religious services.
  • Announces finalists for Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest; New Yorkers can vote through Memorial Day at WearAMask.ny.gov.
  • Confirms 1,525 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 354,370; new cases in 42 counties.
  • Governor Cuomo: "So be smart. Let's use the numbers, let's research. Where are people who are infected? Where are new cases coming from? Where is the spread continuing? Low-income communities, communities of color. They tend to be high Latino, high African-American population. And we are seeing that pattern continue in zip codes, lower-income, predominantly minority."

Cuomo: "It seems like a simple thing, wearing a mask, and it's apparently so simple that people think it's of no consequence. It happens to be of tremendous consequence. It is amazing how effective that mask actually is. Don't take my word for it, I am not a doctor, I am not a public health expert. Again, look at the facts."

Earlier today, Cuomo announced the results of the state's antibody testing survey at churches in lower-income New York City communities and communities of color show 27 percent of individuals tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, compared with 19.9 percent of New York City's overall population. The data was collected from approximately 8,000 individuals and shows high positive rates and continued high community spread in these low-income communities.  

To address these continued high infection rates in low-income and minority communities, Governor Cuomo announced the state is continuing its partnership with Ready Responders to expand testing from eight to 40 public housing developments across New York City. The state is also partnering with SOMOS to establish 28 additional testing sites at churches and community-based providers in predominately minority communities, for a total of 72 faith-based testing sites in the state in partnership with Northwell Health and SOMOS.

The state will also work to stop community spread in these neighborhoods by increasing Personal Protective Equipment availability, providing hand sanitizer, enforcing social distancing and expanding public health and education in these communities.  

Governor Cuomo also directed all local governments to expand testing in low-income communities and develop outreach programs to help address the disparities in these communities.  

The Governor also announced that beginning Thursday, May 21st, religious gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed statewide where strict social distancing measures are enforced and all participants wear masks. Additionally, drive-in and parking lot services will also be allowed beginning Thursday.

The Governor also announced the state is convening an Interfaith Advisory Council to discuss proposals to safely bring back religious services. A list of the members of the Interfaith Advisory Council is available here.  

The Governor also announced the five finalists for the Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest, which was launched by the Governor on May 5th and is being overseen by his daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, asked New Yorkers to create and share a video explaining why New Yorkers should wear a mask in public. Over the past two weeks, the state collected more than 600 submissions from New Yorkers across the state. New Yorkers can vote for the winning ad until Monday May 25th at WearAMask.ny.gov. The winning ad will be announced on Tuesday, May 26th, and that ad will be used as a public service announcement.

May 19, 2020 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

  • Capital Region joins Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions, which have met the seven metrics required to begin reopening.
  • Nassau County is now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care.
  • Announces collaboration with GNYHA & HANYS to implement a two-week hospital visitation pilot program in 16 hospitals across the state to allow increased visitations for family members.
  • State will allow Memorial Day ceremonies with 10 people or less.
  • Calls on FDA to make sure that pharmaceutical corporations that produce a COVID-19 vaccine release the rights to provide for immediate widespread distribution.
  • Confirms 1,474 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 352,845; new cases in 42 counties.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Capital Region has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state's regional phased reopening plan starting tomorrow, joining the Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions.

The Capital Region has now identified enough contact tracers to meet the state's guidelines, and the tracers are being trained today in preparation for Western New York entering phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pick up and drop off, or in-store pick up; and agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Business guidance for phase one of the state's reopening plan is available here. A guide to the state's "NY Forward Reopening" Plan is available here. The state's regional monitoring dashboard is available here.

Governor Cuomo also announced that Nassau County is now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care. The Governor previously announced that the state will allow elective outpatient treatments to resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near term, and a total of 50 counties can now resume elective surgeries.

The Governor also announced a collaboration with the Greater New York Hospital Association and the Healthcare Association of New York State to implement a two-week hospital visitation pilot program in 16 hospitals across the state to allow increased visitations for family members and loved ones. As part of the pilot program, visits will be time limited and visitors will be provided with and must wear PPE and are subject to symptom and temperature checks.

The Governor also announced the state will allow Memorial Day ceremonies of 10 people or less statewide, with final decisions about ceremonies being left to local governments. The Governor also encouraged vehicle parades in honor of veterans for Memorial Day.

The Governor also called on the FDA to take steps now to make sure that pharmaceutical corporations that produce a COVID-19 vaccine release the rights to the vaccine to provide for immediate widespread distribution and help ensure the vaccine is available to all individuals.

"As more regions and businesses across the state become eligible to begin reopening, New Yorkers are getting excited, but we must not forget the hard work we've done and the pain we've experienced for the last two months," Governor Cuomo said. "Everything that we did -- the closings, social distancing and other measures -- were tough but necessary, and because of it we saved lives and we flattened the curve.

"If you look at the curve in New York compared to the rest of the nation, we're going down while the curve is still going up in many other regions. We must continue to do everything we've been doing even as we begin to reopen and remember the lessons we've learned through all of this."

May 16, 2020 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Briefing.

Gov. Cuomo announced that harness racing at Batavia Downs can resume without fans on June 1.

Press release:

  • Westchester and Suffolk counties are now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care.
  • Calls on U.S. Senate to pass Coronavirus Relief Bill
  • Confirms 2,419 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 348,232; new cases in 52 counties.

Governor Cuomo: "What can you do, or what economic activity is willing to reopen without a crowd, right? They're talking about this in terms of sports. You're going to have baseball without a crowd but it can still be televised -- great. If you can have economic activity without a crowd, that's great. We can do that in this state with horseracing tracks, and we're going to do that. There will be guidelines for the actual participants, but no crowds, no fans. But for the industry itself, for the televised viewers, that can still work. That is also true with Watkins Glen, that can operate and there's a big viewership for Watkins Glen."

Cuomo: "Let's put the politics aside. If there's ever a moment in this government, in this country, where it's not about politics, this is the moment. For Senators to be talking about 'I'm not going to bail out blue states because the blue states have more coronavirus cases', shame on you. Shame on you to look at the death toll in this nation and say 'I want to count how many people passed away by their political party and I'm more interested in states where Republicans live than where Democrats live'. We're not Democrats and Republicans, we are Americans. That's what comes first and in a time of crisis we've always been Americans."

Earlier today, Cuomo announced horseracing tracks across the state and Watkins Glen International Racetrack will be allowed to open without fans as of June 1st. The state will issue guidance on how they can open safely reopen in the coming week.

May 9, 2020 - 3:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release:

  • State is partnering with Northwell Health to establish 24 temporary testing sites at churches in predominately minority communities;
  • Results of state's diagnostic and antibody surveys and comprehensive survey of newly admitted patients hospitalized for COVID-19 found communities of color are most impacted by COVID-19;
  • Preliminary results of antibody testing survey of more than 1,300 transit workers in the NYC Region show 14.2 percent have COVID-19 antibodies;
  • Confirms 2,715 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 333,122; new cases in 48 counties.

Governor Cuomo: "Today we're launching a new initiative, again to address exactly this which is to expand access to testing in low-income communities and communities of color. We're partnering with Northwell Health which is the largest health system in New York and they're going to set up 24 additional testing sites at churches in predominantly minority communities."

Cuomo: "This is a different kind of partnership, it's creative, but it's necessary. We're working with both churches individually and association of churches and Northwell. Northwell will provide the testing in churches in lower-income communities and communities of color. The churches will help us outreach to the community to get people to come in and explain why it's important that people come in and get tested when you put the church-based sites together with the drive-thru sites, together with the walk-in testing sites, and our sites at public housing, the coverage will be extensive."

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo today announced the launch of a new initiative to expand access to testing in low-income communities and communities of color. The state is partnering with Northwell Health to establish an initial 24 temporary testing sites at churches in predominately minority communities in Downstate New York to build on the state's network of Downstate testing sites.

The results of the state's diagnostic testing and antibody testing surveys show that low-income and minority communities are suffering the most from COVID-19. The largest statewide antibody testing survey of 15,000 New Yorkers found a greater infection rate in communities of color.

Additionally, the state's comprehensive survey of all newly admitted patients hospitalized for COVID-19 found communities of color are most impacted and of the 21 zip codes with the newest COVID-19 hospitalizations, 20 have greater than average black and/or Latino populations. A deeper look into two of the most impacted communities in the survey, in Brooklyn and the Bronx, found communities of color are also lower-income and have a greater percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations and infections than New York City overall.

Today's testing expansion initiative builds on previous state actions to address inequalities and deliver for those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, the state has partnered with Ready Responders to bring healthcare services, including COVID-19 diagnostic testing, to residents of public housing in New York City and delivered one million cloth masks and 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to public housing.

The Governor also announced the preliminary results of the state's antibody testing survey of more than 1,300 transit workers in the New York City region show 14.2 percent have COVID-19 antibodies, compared to 19.9 percent of the general population in New York City.

May 4, 2020 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Andrew Cuomo.

Press release:

  • State will monitor four core factors to determine if a region can reopen: number of new infections, health care capacity, diagnostic testing capacity and contact tracing capacity.
  • Outlines new safety precautions each business must put in place upon reopening.
  • More than one million New Yorkers have been tested for COVID-19 to date.
  • New York's National Guard has made nearly 300,000 testing kits to collect samples.
  • Announces special enrollment through the marketplace will remain open through June 15, 2020.
  • Confirms 2,538 additional coronavirus cases in New York State -- bringing statewide total to 318,953; new cases in 45 counties.
  • Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined additional guidelines for when regions can reopen.

The state will monitor four core factors to determine if a region can reopen:

  1. New Infections: Based on guidelines from the CDC, regions must have at least 14 days of decline in total net hospitalizations and deaths on a three-day rolling average. In regions with few COVID cases, the region cannot exceed 15 net new total hospitalizations or five new deaths on a three-day rolling average. In order to monitor the potential spread of infection in a region, a region must have fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per 100,000 residents per day.
  2. Health Care Capacity: Every region must have the health care capacity to handle a potential surge in cases. Regions must have at least 30 percent total hospital and ICU beds available. This is coupled with the new requirement that hospitals have at least 90 days of personal protective equipment stockpiled.
  3. Diagnostic Testing Capacity: Each region must have the capacity to conduct 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month. The state is rapidly expanding capacity statewide to help all regions meet this threshold.
  4. Contact Tracing Capacity: Regions must have a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents, and additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in the region. The state is currently building an army of contact tracers with Mayor Bloomberg to meet the needs of each region statewide.

Governor Cuomo also outlined which industries and businesses can open in each phase of the state's reopening plan. Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered "less essential" or those that present a higher risk of infection spread.

Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.

The Governor also outlined new safety precautions that each business must put in place upon reopening to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. Businesses will be required to:

  • Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace;
  • Enact social distancing protocols;
  • Restrict nonessential travel for employees;
  • Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others;
  • Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards;
  • Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace;
  • Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and
  • Develop liability processes.

The Governor also announced that more than one million New Yorkers have already been tested for COVID-19 to date.

The Governor also announced New York's National Guard has made nearly 300,000 testing kits to collect samples, 60,000 of which are being sent to labs and hospitals across New York State.

The Governor also announced the special enrollment period through the NY State of Health Health Plan Marketplace will remain open through June 15, 2020.

"While we continue to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we can begin to focus on reopening, but we have to be careful and use the information we've learned so we don't erase the strides we've already made," Governor Cuomo said. "Reopening is not going to happen statewide all at once -- New York has diverse regions and those regions have different circumstances, so rather than wait for the whole state to be ready to reopen we are going to analyze the situation on a regional basis.

"We will measure whether a region can reopen based on four factors -- the number of new infections, health care capacity, diagnostic testing and contact tracing -- and we will continue to monitor these factors throughout the reopening process to prevent a second wave of the virus and protect the health and safety New Yorkers."

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