April 6th, 2020
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the federal government is deploying approximately 1,000 personnel to New York State, including doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and therapists, to help the state's overwhelmed hospital systems. The first 325 personnel will be deployed to the New York City hospital system today. Governor Cuomo also indicated the likely conversion of the USNS Comfort and the temporary hospital at the Javits Center to be used to treat covid-19 patients to lessen the burden on NYC hospitals.
"The operational challenge facing our health care system at the apex of the curve is impossible - we are asking our hospitals to do more than ever before with less equipment, supplies and staff, but we don't have any other options," Governor Cuomo said. "We are continuing to operate on a surge and flex system where all our hospitals across the state are working together as one and sharing resources, and we are receiving help from other states, businesses and the federal government to boost our system's capacity, including 1,000 federal personnel to work in our most stressed hospitals. I know how much we are asking of our health care workers on the frontline, and I thank them for everything they are doing because they are true heroes."
Cuomo further stated he was extending his so-called “New York on PAUSE” executive order through April 29 in a drastic bid to slow the spread of the virus, meaning hundreds of thousands of non-essential workers will remain unemployed for at least another three and a half weeks. The limited shutdown, which also requires all schools to stay closed, began March 22.
Governor Cuomo also announced the creation of the First Responders Fund to assist COVID-19 health care workers and first responders with expenses and costs, including child care. The State Department of Health is accepting donations for the fund, and Blackstone is making an anchor $10 million contribution to the fund. Donations can be made electronically at https://www.healthresearch.org/donation-form/ or by check sent to below address. Donors should specify the donation is for "COVID-19 NYS Emergency Response."
Health Research, Inc.
Menands, NY 12204
Finally, the Governor confirmed 8,327 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 122,031 confirmed cases in New York State.
Legislative & Executive Changes
Governor Murphy is signing an Executive Order that will allow retired employees to return to work however they can, without affecting their pension status.
Jersey City Councilman Mike Yun passed away, from complications due to Coronavirus.
Department of Health Updates
Due to social distancing, the growth rate of Covid-19 has begun to slow in NJ. At the end of March it was growing 24% day after day. This past week it has been growing at half that pace - 12% day after day.
On behalf of the Division of Medicinal Marijuana, DOH Commissioner Persichilli addressed several issues related to Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs). Dispensaries are now allowed to implement curb-side pickup and have also reduced caregiver fees. ATCs have streamlined the employee on-boarding process to handle increased demand and are exploring additional regulatory solutions.
The DOH is projecting a 50% increase in need for medical staff beyond non-epidemic staff levels. Volunteers will be triaged based on their geographic location and once their certification has been confirmed through the Department of Community Affairs. Currently over 17k have volunteered from across the county to help NJ.
President Trump has approved the USNS Comfort to house non-COVID NJ patients. Governor Murphy was joined today by Senator Cory Booker, who discussed details of the CARES Act and plans for Phase Four of the federal legislative response to the Coronavirus. FEMA will continue its partnership with North Jersey testing sights through May 31st.