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Homeland Security

New York State

Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic

March 9, 2021

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Good afternoon, guys. Let me welcome Melissa, Dr. Zucker, Rob, Beth on the telephone. I was in Central New York today. We had a good day. Let me give you some statewide numbers. Positivity, 3.9. 75 New Yorkers passed away from COVID. They're in our thoughts and prayers. 4,800 hospitalized, 1,000 in ICU, 675 intubated, that's up six.

By region, number one, not a good thing, Mid-Hudson, 4.29. Long Island, 4.23, so they're very close. New York City, 3.9, North Country, 2.4, Capital Region, 1.9, Western New York, 1.96, wow, just be specific. Capital Region, 1.98, Western New York, 1.96, Finger Lakes, 1.7, Mohawk Valley, 1.5, Central New York, .9, Southern Tier, .7, statewide, 3.16. In New York City, Bronx, 4.8, Staten Island, 4.5, Queens, 4.2, Brooklyn, 4.05, Manhattan, 2.48.

Announcements today, which are a little complicated but they're important, starting tomorrow, March 10, the eligible age group drops from 65 to 60 years old. So anyone 60-plus will now be eligible. Beginning a week from tomorrow, eligibility will expand to public-facing government and public employees, not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to needy New Yorkers, essential in-person public-facing building service workers. That includes public works people, social service people, child service care workers, DMV workers, a lot of the CSEA employees, also election workers, et cetera.

We're also announcing that beginning next Wednesday, March 17, all providers can vaccinate anyone who've eligible to receive the vaccine. That means right now, the local health departments have certain categories they can do, FQHCs have certain categories, hospitals have certain categories. They will all be able to vaccinate everyone except for pharmacies. Pharmacies can only do 60-plus and teachers. Teachers is a federal mandate, part of Joe Biden's wanting to open school. Pharmacies are equipped to check ages, 60-plus, 65-plus, it's a driver's license, they sell cigarettes, et cetera, so they're accustomed to checking age. They're not accustomed to checking work group identification, et cetera. So pharmacies will just do age, 60-plus, and teachers who are also easily identified.

We did a White House call. The White House basically will have a flat allocation for the next two weeks. We had that very large Johnson & Johnson surge last week that we're administering this week. That's why we opened a 24-hour mass vaccination sites, et cetera. There is now a flat two weeks where basically the allocation will stay the same, so our sub-recipients also should expect a flat allocation, because we're not getting more so we don't have more to distribute. Last week of March, and then into April, it should start to increase dramatically. And that's why we will be increasing our production capacity, our distribution capacity, in anticipation of that increase. So we're opening 10 new mass vaccination sites. We're reaching out to houses of worship to partner with us. We still have a racial disparity. I don't think any state is working harder at breaking down that racial disparity, but it still exists. So we'll have houses of worship that can actually be pop-up sites themselves, and we encourage houses of worship to come forward to do that.

We're signing today the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021 with a chapter amendment. The law now basically applies to businesses at 50 employees. We've worked with the legislature, we're going to increase that to 100 plus employees. And there's a further agreement that will further expand the protections to small businesses with 100 or fewer employees and businesses with 500 or fewer that were closed to in-person operations by executive order or Department of Health directive for two or more weeks between May 15th, 2020, and May 1st, 2021. So if you were closed by executive order, this bill will provide relief up to 500 employees.

We had a situation with the Long Island Rail Road with a reduced service due to reduced ridership. That did not work, certainly didn't work well. There are a lot of reports of overcrowded trains. We don't want overcrowded trains, especially during this period of COVID. So I'm calling on the Long Island Rail Road to reverse what they've done, increase service. You don't want crowded trains, crowded platforms, now. I understand the financial constraints. I understand there's a reduced ridership. But it's smarter to have fewer people on a train during this period, even if it's not cost-effective.

Overall, we've done 5,824,000 doses. That's about 94 percent of all the doses that we have. So we're running at a very high rate of what they call throughput, even with the tremendous increase of J&J. The Javits Center, Johnson & Johnson, the Javits Center over the weekend was the number one mass vaccination site in the country. The State Fair was the second largest mass vaccination site yesterday with over 9,000 vaccinations. So, these mass vaccination sites are highly effective, and literally they're doing more vaccines than just about any place in the country. So we're very excited about that progress.

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