Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the results of phase two of the state’s antibody testing survey. The preliminary results show 14.9 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies. The preliminary results of phase one of the state’s antibody testing survey released on April 23rd showed 13.9 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies.
The Governor also announced the state is expanding its antibody testing survey starting today to further determine the spread of infections among frontline workers and first responders. The state is testing today 1,000 New York City Fire Department officers and 1,000 New York City Police Department officers from across all five boroughs, and this week will test 3,000 health care workers and 1,000 transit workers for antibodies.
The Governor also announced the state is opening five new drive-through testing facilities in Monroe, Erie, Broome, Niagara and Oneida Counties. On Saturday, the state expanded diagnostic testing criteria to include all first responders, health care workers and essential employees even if they aren’t symptomatic. These individuals will be able to get tested for COVID-19 at these new drive-through facilities. Residents who would like to be tested at these facilities must make an appointment by calling 888-364-3065.
Amid a large surge in demand at food banks across the state, the Governor also announced the state is providing $25 million from the state’s special public health emergency fund for food banks and providers most impacted by COVID-19. The state is also asking any philanthropies that would like to help the state’s food banks to contact Fran Barrett, Director of Non-Profits at COVIDPhilanthropies@exec.ny.gov.
The Governor also announced the launch of the Nourish New York Initiative to purchase food and products from Upstate farms and direct it to food banks across the state. The state will also be partnering with the state’s dairy producers – Chobani, Dairy Farmers of America, Upstate Niagara, Cabot Cheese and others – to process excess milk into products like yogurt, cheese, sour cream and cream cheese, that will be distributed to food banks and those in need. The Nourish New York Initiative will be led by:
- Kelly Cummings, Director of State Operations and Infrastructure
- Richard Ball, Commissioner of Agriculture
- Rossana Rosado, Secretary of State
- Karim Camara, Executive Director of the Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services
- Fran Barrett, Director of Non-Profits
- Mike Hein, Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
The Governor also announced that two million bottles of NYS Clean hand sanitizer have been distributed across all 62 counties to date. The hand sanitizer has been distributed to hospitals, nursing homes, food banks, food handlers, Red Cross, first responders, schools and colleges, healthcare workers, homeless organizations, law enforcement, unions, transportation systems and faith-based organizations
“If you look back in history, sometimes it takes a crisis to wake people up, and when it comes to re-opening the state we have to use this moment to re-imagine a new New York and be smart and grow from this experience,” Governor Cuomo said. “The NYS on PAUSE regulations are set to expire statewide on May 15th and some regions may be ready to begin re-opening at that time, but we have to be smart about it and make sure each industry and business is putting the necessary precautions in place so the infection rate doesn’t go back up. Antibody and diagnostic testing will be a key component of our phased re-opening because it tells us the people who were infected and have now resolved, as well as the overall infection rate across the state.”
Finally, the Governor confirmed 3,951 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 291,996 confirmed cases in New York State.