New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gives his a press briefing about the coronavirus crisis on April 17, 2020 in Albany, New York.
Matthew Cavanaugh | Getty Images
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that the state is expanding diagnostic coronavirus testing to first responders, health care workers and essential employees and aims to provide tests to 40,000 people each day.
Cuomo will also sign an executive order to allow independent pharmacists to conduct diagnostic testing. This will unlock a network of over 5,000 pharmacies as testing locations, he said.
New York is conducting more tests per capita than anywhere else in the world at roughly 20,000 antibody and diagnostic tests each day. The state is averaging about 6,000 new virus cases every day.
The governor said he plans to expand testing to 40,000 people per day with the help of the federal government as well as expand the criteria for someone to receive a diagnostic test.
The state is conducting antibody testing for frontline health-care workers at four New York City hospitals: Bellevue Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital, Montefiore and SUNY Downstate Health Sciences. Transit workers and state and city police will also receive testing next week.
The governor said he and President Trump decided on a “division of responsibility” regarding the state and federal government role in testing. States will regulate and ensure that labs are functioning while the federal government would ensure manufacturers were sending enough supplies to the labs, Cuomo said.
Deaths from the coronavirus ticked up slightly, the governor said Saturday, with the state recording 437 new deaths in the past 24 hours. The virus has killed at least 16, 599 people in the state, but that number doesn’t include what could be thousands of probable deaths in New York City.
“Call it flat with a sad decline, if you are looking for a silver lining,” Cuomo said. “This is just terrible, terrible horrific news.”