Coronavirus cases soar past 30,000 across New York  

Associated Press Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a media conference Tuesday in front of a stack of medical supplies at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which will house a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

ALBANY — The number of New Yorkers who have been infected by the COVID-19 virus grew to 30,811 Wednesday, with 3,805 of them admitted to hospitals, according to the latest state data.

The infection total rose after an additional 5,146 confirmed cases were reported over the past day.

New York hospitals now have 888 virus-positive patients being treated in intensive care units.

An estimated 12 percent of those who have tested positive are being treated at hospitals.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimated 80 percent of those who have tested positive will "self resolve," meaning their conditions will improve while resting at home.

Cuomo said there are indications social distancing measures are helping to slow the spread.

"The arrows are headed in the right direction," the governor said, citing data the spread has slowed in Westchester County, the state's first hotbed for the contagion.

"We have dramatically slowed what was an exponential rate of increase,” the governor said, adding: “That was the hottest cluster in the United States of America. We closed the schools, we closed gatherings, we brought in testing. We have dramatically slowed the increase.”

However, he acknowledged, current projections suggest infections will increase across the state.

"We're still on the way up the mountain," he said.

On Tuesday, Cuomo projected New York would experience its peak of coronavirus infections in 14 to 21 days. He revised that estimate Wednesday to predict the apex will arrive in about 21 days.

So far, 285 people have died in New York from COVID-19, he said.

Cuomo again noted New York — the nation's epicenter of the contagion — has a desperate need for more ventilators.

The number of New Yorkers who have been tested for coronavirus is now 103,479.

The brunt of the infection has landed in the downstate region. The number of people who have tested positive for the virus in New York City reached 17,856, more than half of the state total. Two Long Island counties, Nassau and Suffolk accounted for 416 and 380 cases, respectively.

The county with the largest cluster outside New York City remained Westchester.

On Monday, one upstate firearms manufacturer, Remington Arms in the Herkimer County city of Ilion, advised both the Trump administration and Cuomo administration that its manufacturing facility could be used in the production of hospital supplies.

“We would be honored to donate our facility to the production of ventilators, surgical masks, hospital beds or any other products mission-critical to the war on coronavirus,” Ken D’Arcy, Remington's chief executive officer, said in letters to Trump and Cuomo. “These products as you know are essential to winning this new kind of war and Remington stands ready to enlist in wartime production.”

Addressing what he called misinformation embraced by teenagers and young adults, Cuomo pointed out they are not immune to the virus.

"You may think you're a superhero," he said. "You can catch it and you can transfer it."

With many businesses closed, the manager of the state's electricity grid, the New York Independent System Operator, said the data it collects shows energy consumption has dropped by two to three percent below typical usage for the time of year.

Though overall power use has declined, some New Yorkers have been consuming more energy in their homes, the grid operator noted.

The challenge for state officials bracing the hospital system for a surge in admissions remained the inadequate supply of ventilators for intensive care patients.

Cuomo said New York needs about 30,000 additional ventilators. He acknowledged the state has acquired 4,000 ventilators this week from the federal government while procuring an additional 7,000 of the devices through its own efforts.

In response to the state's call for medical professionals to assist in the effort to beef up the health care's ability to respond to the needs, an estimated 40,000 people, many of them nurses, have signaled they stand ready to volunteer, the governor said.

Cuomo said the nation would benefit from a "rolling deployment" of health care equipment and other resources, targeting the regions hit by the contagion.

"We need help from the country right now," he said, vowing New York "will repay it with dividends."

To assist those coping with anxiety and emotional trauma as a result of the pandemic, 6,175 mental health counselors have signed up to provide guidance to New Yorkers. The state has set up an emotional support helpline to field calls from people seeking assistance. The phone number is 1-844-863-9314.

Because of the downstate region's cluster of COVID-19 cases, federal officials are urging people who leave New York City to put themselves in self-quarantine for 14 days and avoid getting close to other persons when they get to their destinations.

Joe Mahoney covers the New York Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites. Reach him at jmahoney@cnhi.com

Recommended for you