COVID-19 Update April 29, 2020

New York State COVID-19 Stats

NYSDOH COVID-19 Tracker – NY.gov

Deaths: Individual NYS Nursing Homes


Gov. Cuomo Press Conference: What You Need to Know

LAST UPDATED: APRIL 29, 2020 AT 2:45PM

  • Schools and nonessential businesses will stay closed through May 15th.
  • Governor Cuomo issued executive orders 17 and 202.18 requiring all people in New York to wear masks or face coverings in public, including when taking public or private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles.
  • Governor Cuomo outlined a phased plan to re-open New York starting with construction and manufacturing, implemented in phases based on regional analysis and determinations.
  • 35 counties without a significant risk of a COVID-19 surge in the near term have been approved to resume elective outpatient treatments.
  • Preliminary Phase II results of Antibody Testing Study show 14.9% of the population have COVID-19 antibodies. Find more information and FAQs on antibody testing.
  • New York State is expanding diagnostic testing criteria to allow all FDNY and NYPD officers, first responders, health care workers, transit workers and essential employees to be tested for COVID-19 even if they are not symptomatic.
  • Preliminary results of the FDNY and NYPD antibody testing survey show 17.1% of FDNY officers and EMTs have COVID-19 antibodies, and 10.5% of NYPD officers have COVID-19 antibodies.
  • 1,000 transit workers will be tested for antibodies to further determine the spread of infections among frontline workers.
  • New York State is now conducting 30,000 diagnostic tests for COVID-19 per day.
  • The MTA has been directed to issue a full plan by April 30th, on how it will clean and disinfect trains in response to reported deteriorations of conditions in subways.
  • New Yorkers without health insurance can apply through NY State of Health through May 15, 2020; must apply within 60 days of losing coverage.
  • New Yorkers can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling.
  • Testing is free for all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider.

Gov. Announces 35 NY Counties That Can Resume Outpatient Treatment
Governor Cuomo today announced the 35 counties have been approved to resume elective outpatient treatment, as a follow up to his previous announcement that the state will allow elective outpatient treatments to resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near term.

These counties include: Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chenango, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Putnam, Saratoga, Schoharie, Schuyler, St. Lawrence,  Steuben, Sullivan, Tompkins, Ulster, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.


Dr. Fauci Touts Clinical Trial of COVID drug as “Quite Good News”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said results from a COVID-19 clinical trial of a drug for treating the disease showed “quite good news.” Data from a study of remdesivir showed patients recovered quicker when taking the drug, Fauci told reporters at the White House Wednesday, alongside President Trump and Vice President Pence. Remdesivir patients saw a 31 percent improvement over placebo patients, Fauci said.

Although a 31 percent improvement does not seem like a knockout 100 percent, it is a very important proof of concept,” Fauci said. “What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.”

He added the drug will be “the standard of care.”Remdesivir patients also saw an 8 percent mortality rate, which is slightly lower, but not statistically significant, from the 11.6 percent mortality rate of placebo patients, Fauci said. The drug’s impact on the COVID-19 mortality rate needs further analysis, he said.

The clinical trial, which began in February, evaluated the safety and efficacy of remdesivir, an experimental drug developed by Gilead Sciences, in 1,063 hospitalized adults with COVID-19. The trial was the first in the U.S. to evaluate an experimental treatment for COVID-19.

“We think it’s really opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating [COVID-19],” Fauci said of the results. He said he can “guarantee” the drug will improve as more people, companies and investigators get involved. The study has not yet been published or peer reviewed.

Scientists have had high hopes for remdesivir as a potential COVID-19 treatment. The drug originally developed as a potential treatment for Ebola but was found to be ineffective.

However, the drug has shown promise against coronaviruses in experiments.

Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner under President Trump, said on CNBC Wednesday he thinks the drug is probably not a “home run” treatment for COVID-19, but it could help people avoid worse outcomes. The Hill

Updated at 1:30 p.m.


MSSNY: Community Doctors Should Be Part of Testing Efforts
The Medical Society of the State of New York applauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to increase Covid-19 testing but said community physicians should be at the forefront. The group expressed concern over a new executive order to allow pharmacies to become collection sites for tests.

“In particular, we are concerned that there has not been any specification for how such test results will be shared with the patient’s primary physician or physicians to help explain to the patient what the results mean … as well as what the patient should do,” said Dr. Art Fougner, president of the medical society, in a statement.

The group also questioned the lack of effort to involve community physicians in any statewide testing program and to help them obtain the supplies and personal protective equipment needed to provide Covid-19 tests.

“Not only are community physicians an integral part of New York’s health care system, but many of them have been—unaware to many—working tirelessly to keep the surge of patients from becoming a tsunami, which would have overwhelmed our hospitals,” Fougner said.

People place trust in community physicians, he said, adding that the medical society is urging Cuomo to enlist them to fully expand the state’s testing capacity, which is critical to reopening businesses. ((April 29 Crain’s New York)


Physician Advocacy Orgs Object to Suspension of Medicare Advance Payment
As reported in Med Page, the AMA and other national physician societies joined MSSNY in expressing strong concerns with the decision of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services to suspend its program to give physicians and hospitals advance Medicare payments to help them keep their practices open in the wake of COVID-19, suggesting that the program is no longer necessary.

The program had provided nearly $500 million in advance payments to New York Part B providers including physicians and $8.3 billion to Part B providers across the country overall.  It also distributed over $90 billion to Part A providers.

According to a press release issued Sunday, “The agency made this announcement following the successful payment of over $100 billion to healthcare providers and suppliers through these programs and in light of the $175 billion recently appropriated for healthcare provider relief payments,”

In a fact sheet update accompanying the announcement, CMS explained that “beginning on April 26, 2020, CMS will not be accepting any new applications for the Advance Payment Program, and CMS will be reevaluating all pending and new applications for Accelerated Payments in light of historical direct payments made available through HHS’s Provider Relief Fund. Significant additional funding will continue to be available to hospitals and other healthcare providers through other programs.” The agency noted that the Department of Health and Human Services has already given $30 billion to providers through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.

While MSSNY, the AMA and other physician groups had previously taken issue with some of the terms of the Advance Payment program, the program was urged to be continued under more favorable terms. MSSNY is urging the New York Congressional delegation to continue the program in the next stimulus bill to be taken up by Congress.


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Targeted Allocation for Treating the Uninsured
For any physicians who may have treated uninsured patients during this COVID-19 Pandemic,  please review the following link for how you may seek financial help from the Targeted Allocation of the CARES ACT.


HHS: FAQs Posted Regarding Second Tranche
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has posted new Frequently Asked Questions regarding the second tranche of disbursement of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. Regarding the second Tranche Please note there is conflicting information about whether a provider who has not previously received money from the first round of funding can apply for this round.  The AMA is trying to clarify this and other questions with HHS.


Gov. Cuomo Orders All NYC Subway Cars Cleaned Every Night
New York Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday ordered that all New York City subway cars be cleaned every night by Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) workers to ensure the safety of essential personnel during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Any essential worker who shows up and gets on a train should know that that train was disinfected the night before,” Cuomo told reporters at his daily coronavirus press briefing.

“Letting them endanger their own life and endanger the lives of others is not helping anyone,” Cuomo said. The governor said that he wants MTA to present to him a plan for the nightly cleanings by Thursday. “It’s realistic. It is essential. How realistic is it? What’s the alternative?” Cuomo said when asked if the state would provide funding to the MTA for the cleaning.

He also commented on reports of the deteriorating state of subway cars during the crisis as the city has allowed homeless people to stay on the cars with their belongings. “No one wants to live their lives on a subway train,” Cuomo said. “We have a higher obligation as a society than to say ‘OK, you can sleep in a subway car.'”

He also announced that starting Wednesday, the state of New York would be offering antibody testing for transit workers to determine if they have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19 and developed the antibodies to fight it. A positive antibody test does not guarantee immunity from the virus, but it does signal that someone may have added protection against the virus moving forward. The Hill 4/29