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Cuomo Seeking $40 Million For Coronavirus Fight, MA And CT Outline Efforts

File photo: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Officials from New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut on Wednesday outlined what their states are doing to prepare for a potential coronavirus pandemic in the region. Governor Andrew Cuomo is asking the New York state legislature for $40 million in emergency spending to help the state combat the coronavirus. 

The governor says there have been no confirmed cases of the corona virus in New York so far. 27 people have been tested, and 26 of those results have been negative. One case is still pending. Cuomo says no one should be surprised, though, if it happens.

“It is highly probable that you will see a continuing spread of this virus,” Cuomo said. “It’s highly probable that we will have people in New York state that will test positive.”

Cuomo says the state health department was briefed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and will be meeting with local health department in the coming weeks to establish protocol for possible quarantines, at people’s homes, or, if they are flying into the airport and not from New York, at hotel settings. The state health department has also set up a coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 and posted information on its website.

And he says the legislature has already told him they will have no problem approving the emergency spending bill.

The Greater New York Hospital Association’s Ken Raske says hospitals have been preparing for weeks, and stocking up on protective gear, like masks and gloves. He says most of those items are made in China, so they expect disruptions in the supply chain. State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says the state has stockpiled millions of masks, and he advises the public, don’t buy the masks. He says save them for the hospitals and for people who are actually sick.

The governor says during his tenure, the state has gone through a number of public health crisis successfully, he says there’s no need for “undue fear.”  

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner Doctor Monica Bharel said Wednesday there are 231 self-quarantine COVID-19 cases in the state. All are being monitored by health officials and are confined to their homes, after traveling to China. She says there has only been one confirmed case in Massachusetts and the individual is in isolation.

“Looking at COVID-19 a couple of things that we do know is that in general most of the cases have been mild," Bharel said. "A study did look at the over 75,000 cases that occurred in China and found that over 80% of them had mild symptoms. So that’s the good news. Most people who get sick from this have very mild symptoms similar to a cold.”

The Massachusetts health department is also providing updates on the virus on its website.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said Wednesday there are no confirmed cases in his state, but state health officials are working with local and federal counterparts to prepare for a potential pandemic.

"We're moving into the unknown a little bit," Lamont said. "This thing is moving really, really fast. I want you to feel confident that we're doing everything we can, that we've been on this for a while, paying attention." 

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