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New York Again Reaches Highest Ever Daily Death Toll, But Hospital Rates Continue To Stabilize

Mary Altaffer
A medic of the Elmhurst Hospital Center medical team reacts after stepping outside of the emergency room, Saturday in Queens, N.Y.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the highest daily death toll yet, saying on Wednesday 799 New Yorkers died of the coronavirus.

“You’re talking about 799 lives,” said Cuomo, who says he has to bring in additional funeral directors to deal with all of the dead.

“If you ever told me as governor, I’d have to take these actions, I couldn’t even contemplate,” Cuomo said.

The trend of fewer people being admitted to hospitals with the virus continues downward, with 200 people being admitted Wednesday. Cuomo says that’s the lowest number since the “nightmare” began.

But he says it’s not time to ease any of the restrictions on businesses, schools and public gatherings. He says the social distancing is likely the reason why the numbers are starting to go down.

The governor says changes will be made later Thursday to the state’s unemployment website and phone system, in hopes of ending what Cuomo admits is the “infuriating” instances where jobless New Yorkers are faced with long wait times or constant busy signals when they try to file for unemployment. His chief of staff, Melissa DeRosa, says the system will be shutting down between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday to reboot what is hoped will be a better system.

“It’s streamlined, there are fewer questions,” said DeRosa, who said the new system will require one of the 1,000 people now at the call centers to call back the applicant within 72 hours if any additional information is needed.  

DeRosa says over 800,000 New Yorkers have filed claims for unemployment, and around 600,000 have been processed.

Once someone is successfully signed up for unemployment, the benefits will be paid retroactively to the day when the person lost their job.

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.
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