AUDIO & RUSH TRANSCRIPT: FIVE MONTHS SINCE FIRST CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASE IN NEW YORK, GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES HIGHEST NUMBER OF TESTS EVER CONDUCTED IN THE STATE
82,737 Tests Conducted Yesterday, 0.91 Percent Were Positive
SLA and State Police Task Force Found New Violations of State Requirements at 41 Establishments
4 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday
Confirms 753 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State – Bringing Statewide Total to 415,767; New Cases in 46 Counties
Governor Cuomo: “Today we hit a record number of tests done on a single day, 82,737. That is the most tests every conducted in a single day in this state. Of those 82,000 tests, .91 positive, 753 tests, great news.”
Cuomo: “This state has a task force that’s been working. New York State Police and the SLA. Last night there were 41 establishments that were given violations, 2 in the Bronx, 1 in Brooklyn, 5 in Queens, 1 in Staten Island, 3 in Nassau, 2 in Suffolk, 27 in Manhattan. Twenty-seven in Manhattan. We need the NYPD to step up and do enforcement. The SLA did 7 more suspensions yesterday, 3 in Manhattan, 3 in Queens, 1 in Staten Island.”
Earlier today, five months since the first confirmed COVID-19 case in New York, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State conducted 82,737 COVID-19 tests yesterday — the highest number of tests ever conducted in a single day in the state. 0.91 percent of those test results were positive. The governor also updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at .
A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:
Good morning, everyone. Thanks for being with us. I’m joined by Melissa DeRosa and Rob Mujica, Budget Director and that’s it. Saturday staff, short staffed. What day is today? Today is Saturday. Today is day 154. Today is August 1. Today is five months since we had our first case. Five months.
Today we hit a record number of tests done on a single day, 82,737. That is the most tests every conducted in a single day in this state. Of those 82,000 tests, .91 positive, 753 tests, great news. Four New Yorkers passed away yesterday. They are in our thoughts and prayers but compared to where we were relatively it’s great news. 581 New Yorkers hospitalized. That’s good news. 147 ICU patients, 72 intubations. That’s all great news.
We’re in the stage where we are protecting our progress to threats, quarantine, which continues from other states with high infection rates and compliance in New York, especially young people, especially bars and restaurants. Once again local governments have to step up. Some are doing better than others.
This state has a task force that’s been working. New York State Police and the SLA. Last night there were 41 establishments that were given violations, 2 in the Bronx, 1 in Brooklyn, 5 in Queens, 1 in Staten Island, 3 in Nassau, 2 in Suffolk, 27 in Manhattan. Twenty-seven in Manhattan. We need the NYPD to step up and do enforcement. The SLA did 7 more suspensions yesterday, 3 in Manhattan, 3 in Queens, 1 in Staten Island.
There was an alarming development in Georgia that we just want to bring to your attention. A sleepaway camp for children – 76 percent of the campers and the staffers at the camp tested positive for COVID. That was about half the camp, less than two weeks after the camp opened. So, we made a decision here about camps, we said there was a great risk, I feel good about that. But we’re talking about reopening schools and young people, and the possibility of infection. So, these are real circumstances that have to be considered.
The point I want to make on schools, the school districts were supposed to put in their plans yesterday on alternatives or how they would reopen. We’re going to watch the overall infection before we make a decision. We’re going to make a decision this week, an initial decision. If at this point, schools should plan on reopening and then we’ll watch to see what happens with the infection rate. But one of the big variables here is going to be the parents’ comfort level. You know, the discussion basically assumes if the schools opened all the parents will send their children back to school; that is not the case. I am talking to parents all across the state. I’m getting deluged with phone calls from parents who are concerned, and they should be concerned. You hear about the Georgia camp, you get concerned. You hear about the Kawasaki-like syndrome, you get concerned. You hear scientists and health officials who say they don’t know the long-term consequences for a child who has antibodies, you get concerned.
So, it’s not flicking a switch; it’s like all of these decisions, it’s more complicated than we often think. You can say, “Okay, school reopens.” If the parents are not comfortable, the children will not be sent. You have some school districts in parts of this state that are seeing record numbers of enrollees. Some of the school districts, on the east side of Long Island, are seeing an exponential number of enrollees. Parents are taking this decision very seriously, and the reason we need the school districts to put in their plans is because the parents need to review the plan, understand the plan, and they have to have confidence in the plan. If they don’t have confidence in the plan, I don’t care what the school district says. They are not sending their kids back. Now, there will be some parents who don’t have a choice but to send their child back because they don’t have alternative childcare, et cetera, but there are going to be many parents who if they think their child might be subjected to failure they are just not going to do it. That was the point of this pre-opening period. The school district puts in their plan, the parents get to the review it, the parents ask questions, the parents get to provoke the discussion. The parents then feel comfortable. Okay, now you can reopen. This is not a dictatorial decision by the school district. This is a cooperative decision where it is the parents’ choice. It is not the school district’s choice. It is the parents’ choice to send their child. So, this is supposed to be more of a dialogue that we are having now and that is why these plans are important. I am disappointed that New York City didn’t have their plan on time because that is one of the main districts where there is a lot of discussion and dialogue, and until there is a plan people are not going to feel that there is an informed dialogue. And to have that whole process, have that discussion, get it done in two weeks is going to be hard, and if parents are not comfortable and confident I am telling you they are not going to send their child. So you will open a school, you will have partial attendance which will serve no one.
My two cents on the plans, the concepts are not enough. I understand the concept of remote learning. We have a lot of experience with the concept of the remote learning and the experience that we went through. Remote learning, if not done well, can be a vehicle of division. Remote learning tends to work better in the wealthier school districts and tends to work less well in the poorer school districts. It tends to work better in wealthier homes and less well in poorer homes. The measures to correct that are vital to any reopening plan, and it is not just understanding the question – it is having a complete answer. I have had a number of conversations with school districts. Yes, we understand remote learning. Yes, we understand the challenges. Yes, but how are you going to meet them specifically? Where is the personnel? Where is the equipment? How are you going to do this?
All through this COVID crisis there are no conceptual discussions anymore. The conceptual discussions would have caused problems all across this country. Conceptually, we understand reopening. We’ll have to do testing and tracing. Yeah, but if you didn’t actually know how to do testing and tracing and you didn’t operationally implement it, now you have Florida and Texas and Arizona, et cetera. If you didn’t know how to do an emergency response legislation, then you wound up with this hodge podge approach that some states have now. The devil is in the details and parents are going to want to hear the details.
The second place, besides remote learning, is on testing. How are you going to test the students? How many are you going to test per day? How long will it take to turn around the tests? Where are you going to get that testing capacity? That has to all be in addition to what they are doing today. If a locality today is doing 20,000 tests, okay, how many are you going to do on the first day of school? Oh, we’re going to do 10,000 in the schools. Oh, so you will have an additional 10,000 tests in capacity? Yes. How? And if you have an additional 10,000 capacity, why aren’t you using it now? What will the turn arounds be on those tests? We know the turnaround times are going up with these national labs.
Those are the vital questions and those are the questions the parents are going to ask. These are very informed parents. I made it my business to inform the people of this state with exhaustive briefings every day. They know the questions. They’re going to ask the questions and if we don’t have answers for them, then they’re going to conclude that we haven’t thought through the plan and they’re not going to send a child.
Remote learning is more of a policy, societal issue for me. The testing question is going to be the question that every parent asks. So let’s ask it today before we get further down the road and find out we don’t have the answer. Then it’s too late to fix and we lost the confidence of the parents and then we’re going to have a real problem. With that, Rob, Melissa, do you have anything else to add?
Melissa DeRosa: Nope, I’m good.
Rob Mujica: I think I’m good, Governor.