Gov. Cuomo's Saturday evening update: Temporary hospital at SBU, mental health pros needed, 500,000 N95 masks coming to LI, DMV moves to online only, and more

Stony Brook University, one of four initial sites the state has identified with the Army Corps of Engineers to build temporary hospitals.

(OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo provided an update Saturday night about major developments today in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Among his updates to email subscribers, Cuomo said Stony Brook University will have a temporary hospital constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers. He urged health professionals to volunteer, announced a half-million N95 masks are headed to Long Island, and said the Department of Motor Vehicles is closed for all in-office visits. 

Here is the Governor's full update.

I want to take a moment to thank all the New Yorkers on the front lines of the Coronavirus pandemic: the health care workers, the firefighters, the police officers, the public transit workers, the childcare workers, the grocers, the pharmacists, the farmers and so many others. They are all heroes and we owe them our deepest gratitude. They're stepping up for all of us, so when you see them, thank them. 

Here's what else you need to know tonight:

1. We have identified four initial sites in New York State for locating temporary hospitals in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers. The four sites are the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury and the Westchester Convention Center. The Army Corps is expected to immediately begin work to construct the temporary hospitals. I also requested that FEMA designate four field hospitals with 250 beds each for the state.

2. Mental health is a vital part of public health. To that end, I am calling on psychologists, therapists and other mental health professionals to pitch in and volunteer their services to help with New York's Coronavirus response. To sign up, visit health.ny.gov/assistance.

3. The State has identified 2 million N95 masks for purchase and will send 1 million to New York City and 500,000 to Long Island. New York apparel manufacturers are converting their operations to begin manufacturing masks and other medical equipment. Also, the state purchased 6,000 additional critically needed ventilators. We are literally scouring the globe looking for medical supplies. I put out a plea yesterday asking for help and we've been on the phone with all sorts of companies who are really doing great work — I want to thank them all.

4. The Department of Motor Vehicles is closed for all in-office visits. Today, I signed an Executive Order to temporarily close DMV offices and shift the DMV to online transactions. License and permit expirations will be extended, so if your driver's license is about to expire — don't worry.

5. Young people: Please stay home. There is significant non-compliance of social distancing rules, especially in parks. I went down to Prospect Park in Brooklyn today to see the situation myself. This is a public health issue. Younger people aren't invincible: In fact, 54% of New York State Coronavirus cases are ages 18-49. You shouldn't be endangering your own health, and you certainly have no right to endanger someone else's.

6. Drug therapy trials are on the horizon. NY Health Commissioner Dr. Zucker has recommended trials for new drug therapy to help combat COVID-19. The FDA is acquiring 10,000 doses of Hydroxychloroquine and Zithromax for New York State to use on a trial basis. 

Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": Morning show host Kelly Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos, donated $1 million to help my office purchase additional ventilators and to support WIN, the largest provider of shelter for New York City's homeless families. I can't thank them enough for their generosity.  

Ever Upward,

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo


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