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Cuomo signs $40M emergency-management authorization for coronavirus response

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday held a briefing about New York’s response to the coronavirus situation and signed a bill authorizing $40 million for the state’s response efforts. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo/Cuomo flickr)

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed into law a $40 million emergency-management authorization for New York’s novel coronavirus response.

The funding will allow the state to hire additional staff and procure equipment and “any other resources necessary to respond to the evolving situation,” Cuomo’s office said in a Tuesday announcement.

Cuomo signed the bill during a coronavirus briefing held Tuesday morning.


At the same time, Cuomo also announced a second confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in New York — a 50-year old man in Westchester who is hospitalized and in serious condition. The first case, which Cuomo announced Sunday night, is a woman in her late 30s, who contracted the virus while traveling abroad in Iran, and is currently isolated in her home in New York City.

Cuomo also used the Tuesday morning briefing to announce that he will amend his paid sick-leave budget proposal to “specifically protect from termination” people who are required to stay home from work because they are being isolated or quarantined as a result of the novel coronavirus.

The governor also announced SUNY institutions will have students who are in study abroad programs in countries with high prevalence of novel coronavirus come home and will review all study abroad programs ahead of potential expanded travel restrictions by the federal government.

Wadsworth Center involvement

Cuomo on Monday announced the Wadsworth Center in Albany — the research-intensive public health laboratory housed within the New York State Department of Health (DOH) — is partnering with hospitals to expand surge testing capacity to 1,000 tests per day statewide for the novel coronavirus.

The Wadsworth Center will provide these hospitals with instructions on how to replicate the state’s test, as well as help them purchase some of the equipment necessary to develop and validate the test.

The governor also announced the state will institute a new cleaning protocol at schools and in the public-transportation system to help stop any potential spread of the virus.

These announcements follow the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval over the weekend for the Wadsworth Center to begin tests for the novel coronavirus — the first non-CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) test that has been given approval by the FDA. The first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in New York, the New York City woman in her 30s, was done through the state’s Wadsworth testing lab.

On Saturday, New York State received notification that the FDA-approved Wadsworth lab’s emergency use application — EUA — request to begin novel coronavirus testing using the test that the state developed and validated at the Wadsworth Center. This test will allow the state to perform testing more rapidly than sending to the CDC and to respond expeditiously when and if there is a positive case in the state. Upon receipt of lab specimens, the Wadsworth Center can complete testing within three to five hours.

The Wadsworth Center began testing on Saturday evening. Wadsworth’s current testing capacity is as many as 200 tests per day, and the state DOH will work to expand capacity through expanded lab hours and the hiring additional staff.

The approval comes at a critical time as the CDC and the DOH have expanded testing criteria to include travel from other countries — specifically Italy, South Korea and Iran — and others without travel history where individuals are hospitalized with respiratory symptoms with no other explanation.

No vaccine is currently available for the novel coronavirus, but “everyday preventive actions can help stop the spread” of this and other respiratory viruses. Those actions include washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

They also include avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; and staying home when you are sick.

Contact Reinhardt at


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