New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Hochul gets early boost as NY gubernatorial race takes shape EMILY's List announces early endorsement of Hochul MORE (D) announced Saturday that he will expand his state’s coronavirus testing capacity to help cover first responders, health care workers and essential employees.
Cuomo, whose state is the epicenter of the U.S. COVID-19 pandemic, said he hopes to provide tests for 40,000 people each day and will sign an executive order to permit independent pharmacists to conduct diagnostic testing. The move will tap into a network of more than 5,000 pharmacies, Cuomo told reporters.
The boost would double the number of tests the Empire State performs each day from 20,000. It is currently averaging about 6,000 new confirmed cases daily.
New York is already performing coronavirus tests for front-line workers at Bellevue Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital, Montefiore and SUNY Downstate Health Sciences. Tests for transit workers and state and city police will commence next week.
Albany will work with the federal government to boost testing. New York will monitor the labs manufacturing the tests, and Washington will ensure the labs remain well stocked with supplies.
New York is the hardest-hit state in the U.S., having more than 282,000 confirmed cases and 22,000 deaths.
However, Cuomo said Saturday there have been promising signs as hospitalizations in New York continue to decline.
"We are back where we were 21 days ago," Cuomo said at a press briefing. "Twenty one days of hell, but we’re back to where we were. ... We want to know how fast that decline continues and how low that decline gets."