CORONAVIRUS IN NY STATE: 437 new deaths bring toll to over 16,500; state expands testing to first responders, health care workers, essential employees

1010 WINS Newsroom
April 25, 2020 - 11:44 am

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that New York was taking several steps to ramp up testing across the state as another 437 people died from the coronavirus.

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    Cuomo said the number was up from the 422 people who died Thursday.

    The death toll is now 16,599 statewide with 271,590 confirmed cases.

    When it comes to hospitalizations, intubations and other key indicators, Cuomo said, "All the numbers are basically saying the same, that we are on the downside of the mountain."

    Cuomo said the number of hospitalizations statewide—13,524—is now "back where we were 21 days ago."

    "21 days of hell, but we’re back to where we were," Cuomo said.

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    Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office

    The number of new cases Friday—1,184 new cases—also ticked down.

    "Only in this crazy reality would 1,000 new cases be relatively good news," the governor said.

    He said the state is currently conducting about 20,000 tests per day but wants to get that number up to 40,000.

    In a push to increase testing capacity in the state, Cuomo announced he was signing an executive order allowing independent pharmacists to conduct diagnostic coronavirus tests. The tests will be conducted at pharmacies and then sent to labs.

    "You will be able to go into a pharmacy and get a test," Cuomo said. "The pharmacy then sends it to a lab, the lab conducts the test. So the labs conduct, the pharmacy collects."

    The governor said the state is also expanding its diagnostic testing criteria for first responders, health care workers and essential workers.

    “They are our heroes who are risking their health to get us through this crisis,” Cuomo said. “They deserve priority for testing.”

    Next week, the state will begin antibody testing for MTA transit workers, as well as members of the NYPD and state police. 

    Cuomo said the criteria will continue to expand to get more people tested.

    “Hopefully, we'll get to the point where anyone who wants a test, they can get a test,” Cuomo said. “That’s the dream.”

    Cuomo said the state is conducting antibody testing for health care workers at four hospitals Saturday: Bellevue Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital, Montefiore and SUNY Downstate Health Sciences.

    On Friday, Cuomo said he'll make a decision on whether to extend his "NY Pause" order, which is currently in place through May 15, in "about one week."

    "So we give people some notice," Cuomo said.

    The decision will impact when nonessential businesses and schools reopen.

    Cuomo also announced he's issuing an executive order to ensure every New Yorker receive a postage-paid application for an absentee ballot so people can vote from home for the June 23 primary. The polls will remain open, he said.

    "We're saying you have two options: You can go to the polls or you can vote absentee," Cuomo said.

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