NEW YORK STATE: COVID-19 CASES JUMP, EXTENDED SCHOOL CLOSING & MORE HOSPITAL BEDS
Coronavirus Cases Continue to Grow
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo confirmed 7,377 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 44,635 confirmed cases in New York State. The total in NYC is 25,398.
Cuomo said tthe increase in the number of cases continues, "We still see that trajectory going up. Those are the dates from March 3 to March 25. Strategy, plan of action, all along - step one, flatten the curve, step two, increase hospital capacity. Flatten the curve, meaning if you do it as well as you can do it hopefully there is no high point of the curve. There is no apex. It's a flatter, lower curve. Why? So the hospital capacity can keep up with it. That's what this is all about - not overwhelming hospital capacity and at the same time increasing the hospital capacity that we have so if it does exceed those numbers, which it will in most probability, that we have the additional capacity to deal with it."
So how do we flattening the curve? These are all measures that the Governor put in place: barring non-essential workers, social distancing, closing bars, closing restaurants. Decisions he made, that he knows are not making people happy, but are necessary. "We are battling a deadly virus. Is there an intrusion on daily life? Yes. Is there an intrusion on movement? Yes. Is there an intrusion on the economy? Yes. But what's on the other side of the scale is literally saving lives and that's not rhetorical. That's not drama. That's fact."
Temporary Emergency Hospitals
Governor Cuomo also announced that the first 1,000-bed temporary hospital is now complete at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. This temporary hospital site is part of the Governor's goal of having a 1,000-plus patient overflow facility in each NYC borough as well as Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties. Governor Cuomo said in his press coference, "FEMA and the Army Corps and the National Guard have been working to put up these emergency hospitals."
The Governor also announces additional sites for temporary hospitals. He said they have identified four new sites for temporary hospitals for construction by the Army Corps of Engineers adding an additional 4,000 beds to the state's capacity. The Governor is asking President Trump to approve these sites immediately so construction can begin. Cuomo, "I want to have one in every borough. I want to have one for the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn. One for Nassau, one for Suffolk, one for Westchester, so everybody knows downstate, which is where the essence of the density is right now, that everyone equally is being helped and is being protected."
These new temporary hospital sites — together with the site at the Javits Center and the temporary hospitals that are being built at locations at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury and the Westchester Convention Center — are part of the Governor's plan to create thousands of new beds to bolster existing hospital capacity, with the goal of being open to patients in early- to mid-April. The state is also preparing college dormitories and hotels across the downstate region, and identifying nursing homes and other facilities to serve as a place for emergency beds.
Extends School Closures Statewide for Additional Two Weeks Until April 15th
The Governor also announced that all schools in New York State must remain closed for an additional two weeks until April 15th to ensure consistency and uniformity across the state in instructional time for this extraordinary school year. Schools will be required to continue child care, meal and distance learning programs, and the state will extend the 180-day waiver to April 15th.
Cuomo said he had to evaluate whether to extend the closures before next week, and it was a simple choice. "I believe the schools should remain closed. I don't do this joyfully but I think when you look at where we are and you look at the number of cases still increasing it only makes sense to keep the schools closed. They have to continue the programs they're doing. They have to continue the childcare, continue the meals, continue the distance learning programs. I'll continue the waiver on what's called 180-day mandate that they have to be in operation, but we're going to close the schools for another two weeks and then will reassess at that point and that is statewide."
Consumers Experiencing Financial Hardship Due to COVID-19 May Defer Paying Life Insurance Premiums for 90 Days
The Governor also announced that for a 90 day period, consumers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer paying life insurance premiums. No late fees will be assessed and no negative data will be reported to credit bureaus during this time, and late payments will be payable over a one-year period. LICONY, or the Life Insurance Council of New York, which represents over 80 percent of the life insurance industry, has agreed to these measures.
Consumers and Small Businesses May Defer Paying Premiums for Property and Casualty Insurance for 60 Days
For a 60 day period, consumers and small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer paying premiums for property and casualty insurance, including auto, homeowners, renters, workers comp, medical malpractice, livery and taxi. No late fees will be assessed and no negative data will be reported to credit bureaus during this time, and late payments will be payable over a one-year period.
New Yorkers Without Health Insurance Should Go to NY State of Health
New Yorkers who are without health insurance should apply now through NY State of Health. If you lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. Because of a loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan or Child Health Plus.