Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state will invest in private companies to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to scale and accelerate testing capacity. Businesses interested in working with the state to manufacture these rapid tests on a large scale should contact Empire State Development at 212-803-3100 or COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov.
The Governor also announced that the State Department of Health has developed a test to detect antibodies to the COVID-19 infection in an individual’s blood. This test is an important step towards determining whether New Yorkers are developing immunity and when they could potentially return to work or school.
Governor Cuomo also issued a letter to New York’s Congressional Delegation outlining the state’s needs in the next federal COVID-19 legislation. The previous COVID-19 stimulus bills failed to adequately address New York’s revenue losses and included restrictions affecting the state’s Medicaid reforms.
The Governor also announced an agreement with the largest student loan servicers in New York to obtain relief for student loan borrowers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 who contact their private student loan servicer. Available relief includes 90 days of deferred monthly payments, waived late fees, no negative reporting to credit agencies, and enrolling eligible borrowers in available long-term assistance program. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, only provides relief to borrowers whose loans are owned by the federal government. This agreement with the student loan industry provides much-needed relief to these outstanding borrowers whose loans are privately owned.
The New York State Department of Financial Services will issue guidance that reflects and complements the State’s agreement with the private student loan industry and that also directs regulated student loan servicers to quickly and appropriately implement the relief provided by the federal CARES Act for borrowers whose loans are federally owned. New York student loan borrowers should visit DFS’ website for more information about available student loan relief.
The Governor today signed an Executive Order allowing the state to redistribute ventilators and personal protective equipment to hospitals with the highest need. The Executive Order also extends all NYS on Pause functions for an additional two weeks until April 29th and allows medical students that are slated to graduate to begin practicing immediately to help with the state’s surge health care force.
“We’ve been working to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through aggressive actions to reduce density, increase testing and properly equip and staff our hospitals, and we’re also looking at how to restart the economy in a thoughtful and responsible way,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is not a light switch that we can just flick on one day and everything goes back to normal – we have to come up with a smart approach to restart the systems we shut down so abruptly, and testing is going to be one of the key components of that. We are going to continue working to get rapid testing up to scale so we can get people back to work.”
Finally, the Governor confirmed 8,174 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 138,863 confirmed cases in New York State.