Cuomo Calls on Feds to Shoulder Part of Coronavirus Cost
by Dan Clark • Published on March 2, 2020 • 0 Comments
Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing on the novel coronavirus.
Credit: Cuomo’s Flickr account
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he expects the federal government to shoulder at least some of the cost of preparing for, and containing, the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, which has now tested positive for the first time in New York.
A woman who tested positive for the disease has now been self-quarantined in her apartment in Manhattan, Cuomo said, but more cases are likely to come in New York.
“There is no doubt there will be more cases where we find people who test positive,” Cuomo said. “We said early on, it wasn’t a question of if, but when.”
That’s going to cost money, some of which should be offered by the federal government, Cuomo said during a press briefing Monday morning.
“This is a significant financial burden. We have no issues with the administration, the management and doing the job,” Cuomo said. “The financial consequences are highly relevant, but at a minimum we would expect the federal government to help with that.”
New York state is expected to spend $40 million to prepare for a possible outbreak of the disease, Cuomo said last week. The state Legislature is expected to approve the emergency appropriation at some point this week.
The woman who tested positive over the weekend was traveling abroad to Iran, where she’s suspected to have caught the disease. She’s a 39-year-old health care worker, Cuomo said. She was also traveling with her husband, who Cuomo said is likely to also test positive.
Cuomo said the woman likely wasn’t contagious when she was on the plane back from Iran, or when she was in the car from the airport, but that the state would be contacting travelers that may have had contact with her.
“Out of an abundance of caution we’ll be contacting the people on the flight with her from Iran to New York and the driver from that car service,” Cuomo said.
She was tested for the disease at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan after New York state, over the weekend, was granted permission to start performing its own tests for COVID-19. That was previously exclusive to the federal government.
Cuomo said the state has been working with health care networks around the state to prepare for more testing statewide. The goal, he said, is to have the capacity to perform 1,000 tests for the disease statewide by next week.
“Once you can test and find a person that’s positive you can contain that person so they don’t infect additional people,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo held the press briefing with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said both the city and the state are prepared for a situation where the disease spreads in New York. Hospitals have already set aside beds, de Blasio said.
“If, God forbid, it spreads, the fact that we have 1,200 beds ready at this moment should be reassuring,” de Blasio said.
Close to 89,000 cases of COVI-19 have been reported globally, according to the World Health Organization. Most of those cases have been reported from China. A small number have been reported from the U.S., where there have been two deaths.