Governor Cuomo says the state is ramping up its capacity to conduct antibody testing, which is a key component of any plan that could potentially reopen the economy.
New York is currently on track to conduct 1,000 tests per day by Friday and 2,000 per day by next week. In order to bring mass testing to scale, the Governor offered a full partnership with the federal government to conduct this important work.
“The data has shown that what we do today will determine the infection rate two or three days from now, so we must continue to do what we are doing even though it is difficult –because it is working,” Governor Cuomo said. “The key to reopening is going to be testing. New York State has been very aggressive on testing, and our state lab is now developing an antibody test which is fast and non-invasive. The State Department of Health can currently do 300 tests a day and by next Friday, they will be able to do 1,000 tests and 2,000 tests the following week. That’s great, sounds like a lot, but 2,000 tests are still a drop in the bucket, and I’m proud of how New York has advanced on testing.”
In the meantime, Cuomo says New York, Connecticut and New Jersey will create a regional testing partnership to bring mass testing to scale for residents in these states.
The governor also issued an order directing employers to provide masks to workers who interact with the public, something that’s already proving difficult for some to do.
Price Chopper President and CEO Scott Grimmett sent a letter to six governors on Friday asking for help securing consistent supplies of PPEs and, most importantly, face masks to help protect the chain’s approximately 20,000 employees and all grocery workers.
The company operates 133 Price Chopper and Market 32 grocery stores in New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Governor Cuomo also announced an additional $200 million in emergency food assistance will be available for more than 700,000 low-income households enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Those enrolled in SNAP and not yet receiving the maximum benefit will receive an additional payment to bring them up to this amount in March and April. The supplemental benefits will be issued in April and delivered directly to recipients’ existing Electronic Benefit Transfer accounts.
Households eligible for the supplement that live in counties outside of New York City will begin receiving the supplemental emergency benefit starting on April 13, and all eligible households will have received it by April 24.
Free legal assistance
Cuomo has also announced a new partnership with the New York State Court System to create a pro bono network of volunteer lawyers to provide New Yorkers with free legal assistance.
Volunteers will begin to receive training and start offering assistance next week. Lawyers interested in volunteering can sign up at www.nysba.org/covidvolunteer.