Cuomo: New York coronavirus hospitalizations lowest since pandemic began

New daily coronavirus hospitalizations in New York are at their lowest level since the outbreak began, Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoFlorida health officials agreed to receive remdesivir from New York before DeSantis dismissed offer Cuomo says Northeast will likely see rise in COVID-19 cases due to surge in other parts of country Overnight Health Care: Coronavirus deaths rise again amid mounting outbreaks | The Trump-Fauci divide is getting more apparent | New York to deliver remdesivir to Florida after DeSantis dismisses offer for help MORE (D) said Friday.

Cuomo said at his daily briefing that the number of daily deaths is also trending downward, but has been "stubborn on its way down." The state saw 109 deaths on Thursday, 82 of which were in hospitals and 27 were in nursing homes.

New York currently has more diagnostic testing capacity than people coming to get tested, the governor said. The state is launching a pilot program with 52 independent pharmacies to conduct 7,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests per week, Cuomo said.

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Those pharmacies will boost capacity to 750 testing sites across the state, Cuomo said, including some drive-in sites that can conduct 15,000 tests a day but are only conducting 5,000. He said if anyone is experiencing symptoms, they should get a test. 

However, the state is not yet encouraging people who are asymptomatic to get tested. 

Additionally, Cuomo said the state is launching a $100 million small-business loan program to help businesses that did not receive federal relief funding.

Cuomo said it will focus on minority- and women-owned businesses, which have received far less federal aid. The program will also focus on businesses with fewer than 20 employees and less than $3 million in gross revenues.

Small businesses have struggled to gain access to federal funding, especially through emergency loans from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program has been plagued by confusion and allegations of favoritism on both sides of the aisle.

Congress included $349 billion for the PPP in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that was signed into law in late March, with the aim of rescuing small businesses devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns. Congress passed another $310 billion for the program last month.