New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced May 19 a pilot program put in place to slowly bring visitors back to hospitals.
During his daily COVID-19 briefing Tuesday the governor said the Greater New York Hospital Association and Healthcare Association of New York State are implementing a two-week pilot program in 16 hospitals across the state to allow increased visitation for family members and loved ones. As part of the pilot, visits are time-limited and visitors are provided and must wear personal protective equipment. Visitors are also subject to symptom and temperature checks.
This pilot includes several Northwell Health hospitals, including those in Huntington and Plainview, and Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. No East End hospitals are currently on the list. The number of hospitalizations, intubations, new cases, and deaths have all continued their decline.
“It is terrible to have someone in the hospital and then that person is isolated — not being able to see their family and friends,” Cuomo said. “I understand the health reasons for that — we were afraid of the spread, but this is a pilot project to see if we can bring visitors in and do it safely. This is getting visitors back into hospitals with the right precautions, with the right equipment.”
Sports Teams Operate Without Fans
The governor also encouraged sports teams to begin and continue their seasons without fans.
“Some sports franchises can make this work easier than others,” Cuomo said. “It depends on the economics of that sport and how much is determined by selling seats in the arena or the stadium, etc.”
He said the state will work to help make it happen, both for economic and safety reasons.
“When a team plays, even if there’s no one in the stands, it gets broadcast, and that gives people at home entertainment value, something to participate in,” Cuomo said. “Another reason, frankly, is to stay home as opposed to go out — and staying home is good right now. I encourage the sports team, and New York will be a full partner. Anything we could do to make it happen and make it happen safely, we will.”
Call On Feds To Fund Local Government
Cuomo said New York is doing everything it can to maintain operations, but said the state needs federal help.
“Our response has been probably the most demanding in the country, because we have the largest number of cases, but every step of the way New Yorkers have stepped up,” Cuomo said. “As a government, we are doing everything that we can, we have been smart, but we need a federal government that is as smart as the people who elected that federal government, because New York, to move forward, and move forward quickly, we need the federal government as a partner.”
First, he called for the Americans First Law, stating if government bails out corporations they cannot pocket the money and lay off workers. He said the same number of employees a company had pre-pandemic need to be rehired. Second, he said while Washington was quick to fund businesses and corporations, he asked where the funding will be for state and local governments.
“Who do state and local governments fund?” Cuomo asked. “They fund the hospitals, they fund the police, they fund the fire fighters, they fund the school teachers, they fund the food banks. Why was Washington so quick to fund the corporations and the big businesses, but now they have to think about whether or not they want to fund state and local governments? What sense of priority do you have that you see so clearly the need for corporations, but you don’t see the need to continue basic services?”
He said what makes it so offensive to him is seeing commercials praising doctors and first responders, but then seeing the threat of aid being taken away from them.
“They’re the heroes of today — they are, and they should be acknowledged,” Cuomo said. “But they should also be funded. If you don’t fund New York State government, that means I have to cut aid to Northwell, to hospitals, to nurses, to doctors. It means I have to cut aid to local governments that fund police and fire fighters I have to cut funding to schools, teachers — who also have been heroes doing remote learning. It’s about priorities. It’s about values.”