NEW YORK — In his press briefing Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo says that looking at statistics, we may see a slowing down of hospitalizations, but we don't yet know if numbers will continue to fall or if there will be a second wave of the virus, potentially in the fall.
Cuomo said that protecting nursing homes is the state's number one priority right now.
Under current laws and regulations, nursing homes must:
- Require PPE as well as temperature checks for staff.
- Isolate COVID-19 residents in quarantine.
- Seperate staff, transfer COVID-19 residents within a facility, to a another long-term care facility, or to another non-certified location.
- Notify all residents and their family members within 24 hours if any residents test positive for COVID-19 or any resident suffers a COVID-19 related death.
- Readmit COVID-19 positive residents only if they have the ability to provide the adequate level of care under Department of Health (DOH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
The DOH and Attorney General will be investigating violations of the laws that apply to nursing homes.
Cuomo said that testing is important in order to also trace and isolate the infected, as well as inform the reopening strategy. Antibody testing will also allow people to donate convalescent plasma.
Cuomo added that it will be important for the state to test the African American and Latino communities to better understand health disparities.
The governor also released the preliminary results of the New York State Antibody Study. The governor says that the phase one tests were collected over two days in 19 counties and 40 localities across the state. The tests were done at grocery stores and other box stores where people were openly going out into the public.
Out of the 3,000 tests, 13.9% tested positive for antibodies, meaning that at some point they were infected with COVID-19 and have developed the antibodies to fight it.
As far as weighted results by region, Long Island made up 14.4% of the total tests, and 16.7%of people in that region had the antibodies. New York City made up 43% of the total tests, and 21.2% of people in that region had the antibodies. Westchester/Rockland made up 9.8% of the total tests, and 11.7% of people in that region had the antibodies.
People tested throughout the rest of the state accounted for 32.8% of the tests completed, and 3.6% of people had the antibodies.
The governor said that the data from the antibody testing supports the state's current regional analysis and decision-making in a coordinated framework.
The state says that if the infection rate is 13.9%, the death rate may be lower than some estimates. Based on the suggested infection rate, that means 2.7 people would be infected statewide.
That would mean approximately 15,500 total fatalities, with the death rate approximately 0.5% of people infected. However, this is only based on preliminary data and would not include in-home deaths.
Cuomo added that he believes Senator Mitch McConnell's statement in favor of state bankruptcy makes no sense, and expressed concern that federal funding should be going to local governments.
263 people housed in prisons tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional 1,397 people in prisons have been quarantined.
"Enough tests are not available anywhere," Cuomo said, adding that more tests are needed in prisons, nursing homes, and throughout the state.