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Cuomo Asking For $40M To Help Combat Coronavirus

Office of N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo
N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Ken Raske, with the Greater New York Hospital Association, during a press conference on Coronavirus in the Red Room at the State Capitol Wednesday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s asking the legislature for $40 million in emergency spending to help the state combat the coronavirus.

The governor says there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in New York so far. Twenty-seven people have been tested, and 26 of those results have been negative. One case is still pending.

Cuomo says no one should be surprised, though, if it happens.

“It is highly probable that you will see a continuing spread of this virus,” Cuomo said. “It’s highly probable that we will have people in New York State that will test positive.”

Cuomo says the state health department was briefed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will be meeting with local health departments in the coming weeks to establish protocol for possible quarantines at people’s homes, or if they are flying into the airport and not from New York, at hotel settings.   

And he says the legislature has already told him they will have no problem approving the emergency spending bill.

The Greater New York Hospital Association’s Ken Raske says hospitals have been preparing for weeks, and stocking up on protective gear like masks and gloves. He says most of those items are made in China, so they expect disruptions in the supply chain. State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says the state has stockpiled millions of masks, and he advises the public not to buy the masks. He says save them for the hospitals and for people who are actually sick.

The governor says during his tenure the state has gone through a number of public health crises successfully. He says there’s no need for “undue fear.”

Read the latest on WSHU’s coronavirus coverage here.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.