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Cuomo Says COVID-19 Testing Will Increase in NY, Identified Cases Likely to Spike

Cuomo Says COVID-19 Testing Will Increase in NY, Identified Cases Likely to Spike
by Dan Clark • Published on March 13, 2020 • 0 Comments
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters on Friday, March 13, 2020.
Credit: Cuomo’s Flickr account
The number of individuals who’ve tested positive for the novel coronavirus in New York is expected to spike next week after several private labs were set to start testing for the disease later Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
As Cuomo has said in recent days, health officials in New York expect several more cases will emerge with additional testing, which was previously stunted by the federal government.
Before Friday, New York had only tested 2,314 people for the coronavirus, or COVID-19. Cuomo said that, starting next week, labs in New York state should be able to test 6,000 people every day for the disease, making it likely that officials will record a jump in the number of cases.
As of Friday afternoon, 421 people had tested positive for the coronavirus in New York state, with 50 of those individuals hospitalized.
Schools in New York have continued to close because of the outbreak, but Cuomo said Friday that those decisions have been made at the local level, rather than the state. Cuomo said, as of now, the state doesn’t plan to force any schools to close.
New York already has a preliminary rule that, if someone at a school tests positive for COVID-19, the facility has to be closed for at least 24 hours until administrators decide what to do next. Cuomo said the state doesn’t plan to go further than that, as of now.
Cuomo said, to help with concerns from school officials, New York state will waive a requirement that schools have classes for at least 180 days each academic year. That requirement is linked to funding for schools, which won’t have to worry about the rule for now.
New York state is also planning to waive the required seven-day waiting period for individuals to receive unemployment benefits if they’re laid off as a result of the outbreak. Businesses have already started to grapple with less traffic and, consequently, fewer customers.
It’s still unclear how New York will address the upcoming elections, given that the outbreak is projected to continue for several weeks, or months. New York’s presidential primary is in April, and the state’s federal primary is in June.
Cuomo told reporters at the state capitol Friday that they’ll have to “figure that one out,” but didn’t say what options were being weighed.
The state court system in New York, meanwhile, is also beginning to respond to the disease.
Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks sent a notice to judges and court personnel on Friday that, starting Monday, all jury trials, both civil and criminal, will be postponed until further notice, unless they’ve already started.
The state Legislature is set to come back to Albany on Monday to continue its response to the outbreak, and begin negotiations on the state budget. Cuomo said Thursday that the budget, which is due at the end of March, will not be delayed.