NEW YORK (AP) — New York is focusing more on the testing that will be be needed to restart the economy. New York City started to open new coronavirus testing sites for hard-hit communities Friday, and the state will coordinate testing at hundreds of labs.
Testing also prompted the latest outbreak-related flare-up between the governor and the president.
The latest coronavirus developments in New York:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo argued New York’s efforts to ramp up testing to help restart its outbreak-crippled economy will fall woefully short without federal help, while President Donald Trump said the governors should stop complaining and start working.
Cuomo said he will order the 300 labs and hospitals licensed to perform virus testing to coordinate and prioritize diagnostic testing with the state. Mass testing is widely considered crucial to bring people safely back to work.
The Democratic governor has clashed intermittently with the Republican president over the federal government’s response to the outbreak. And there was a new flare-up Friday after Cuomo implied the federal government was shirking its responsibility to coordinate mass testing with states.
“The federal government cannot wipe its hands of this and say ‘Oh, the states are responsible for testing.’ We cannot do it. We cannot do it without federal help,” he said.
Trump tweeted soon afterward tweeted that Cuomo should spend less time “complaining.”
“Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!” Trump tweeted, noting that the federal government has helped New York with hospital beds and equipment.
Separately, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced five new walk-in testing sites will be open by Monday, with a focus on residents ages 65 and older in areas with high numbers of cases of the COVID-19 virus. The sites will initially offer a total of 2,400 tests a week, but the city aims to double that quickly.
“Everyone’s important,” the Democratic mayor said, but “this is about sharp, clear disparities.”
Separately, five other new testing sites will be available to health care workers who are members of a major union that represents nurses, aides and many others. Those sites, offering a total of 3,500 tests per week, also will be open to other essential workers, including those who work at adult care facilities, and to city residents 65 and older with underlying medical conditions.
De Blasio and Cuomo are starting to focus publicly more on how New York can recover from the outbreak, while warning it is too soon for people to relax their guard.
The number of total hospitalizations has leveled off recently, though about 2,000 people a day with COVID-19 are still entering the hospitals, the governor said.
There were 630 deaths reported Thursday, bringing total of confirmed cases since the outbreak close to 13,000.
New rules requiring New Yorkers to cover their faces in public are going into effect Friday as the state’s residents prepared for at least another month of social distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Under the guidelines announced this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, everyone must wear a mask or face covering when in a public place and unable to maintain appropriate distance from others. Children younger than 2 and people with a medical reason why they can’t tolerate a mask are exempt from the rule, which takes effect at 8 p.m.
Cuomo announced Thursday that the state’s stay-at-home restrictions that have been in place since March 22 will last at least until May 15. He said the extension was made in consultation with officials from other Northeast states and will be reevaluated next month.