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Cuomo Confirms First COVID-19 Death in New York as Cases Continue to Climb

Cuomo Confirms First COVID-19 Death in New York as Cases Continue to Climb
by Dan Clark • Published on March 14, 2020 • 0 Comments
Cuomo speaks to reporters in Albany.
Cuomo’s Flickr account.
Cuomo’s full conference call with reporters is embedded at the bottom of this post, or you can listen here.
New York state has reported its first death linked to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, with the disease, so far, testing positive in 524 people in the state as of Saturday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on a conference call.
Cuomo said the person who died after being diagnosed was an 82-year-old woman from New York City, who suffered from emphysema before she contracted the coronavirus.
Cuomo said that the context of the case was important. The woman had an underlying condition that made her more susceptible to the coronavirus, and her age exacerbated that vulnerability. She died in a New York City hospital, he said.
“Is it accurate to say that she passed away and she had the coronavirus? Yes,” Cuomo said. “It’s also accurate to say she had the coronavirus and was 82 years old and had long been suffering with emphysema.”
Cuomo did not give details on which hospital the woman was admitted to before she died, or where she lived in New York City. New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted that she was a resident of Manhattan.
UPDATE: The Journal News in the lower Hudson Valley reported a second death related to the coronavirus later Saturday. Read that story on their website.
New York state is now encouraging people with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to take advantage of telemedicine, rather than visit hospitals or other health care facilities to seek an opinion.
To drive people to use those services, co-payments for the use of telemedicine will be waived until further notice, Cuomo said.
“This is just another encouragement and benefit to do what’s in people’s best interest anyway, which is use telemedicine at this time,” Cuomo said.
State officials haven’t changed their position on school closings, Cuomo said. The state is not requiring schools to close, as of now, but that position could change in the future, he said. For now, the decision to close is being left up to local districts.
“The state may have, in the future, a different position as to what local school districts should do depending on facts and circumstances,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said he’ll be signing an executive order Saturday to waive a requirement that schools remain open for at least 180 days of each academic school year to receive certain funding. That’s intended to ease concerns from districts that were hesitant to close.
A drive-through testing facility for COVID-19 will also be opened on Long Island, Cuomo said. The state is considering the area of Jones Beach, he said.
The state continues to remain concerned about the availability of hospital beds for individuals diagnosed with the coronavirus, Cuomo said. As of now, there are 50,000 beds available, but only about 3,000 in intensive care units around the state.
Of the 524 cases reported in New York Saturday, more than 100 — or about 20% — have required hospitalization, Cuomo said. That’s an increase over the last week.