- By New York State Governor's Office
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and members of NY's COVID-19 task force departed Monday for Savannah, Georgia to help the city in the fight against COVID-19 as it experiences a surge in positive cases and hospitalizations. In Savannah, the Governor will host a roundtable meeting with the New York State delegation, Savannah Mayor Van R. Johnson and the Savannah health care team to discuss best practices to fight the pandemic, including how to set up testing and contact tracing operations. Governor Cuomo will return to Albany this evening.
"When we were at our worst point with this virus in New York we have volunteers from all across the country come to help fight this dreaded disease, and now that we are past our apex we are ready to help any city or state with whatever they need," Governor Cuomo said. "Our federal government is still in denial about this virus and five months later this country is still totally unprepared to deal with this - I've been talking to other states and mayors and governors and they still don't have testing, tracing programs or PPE. We're going to meet with Mayor Van Johnson and his team today in Savannah, Georgia, we'll tell them about what we did, we will help them with testing and tracing programs, we're going to bring thousands of pieces of PPE and whatever they need from us they're going to get."
Cuomo announced that New York State will establish two testing sites in COVID-19 Hotspots in Savannah, Georgia. The sites, located in Temple of Glory Community Church and Kingdom Life Christian Fellowship, will provide up to 500 tests per day. Both sites are located in highly-impacted minority communities. The governor made today's announcement with Savannah Mayor Van R. Johnson, II.
"When New York State fought what was, at the time, the nation's worst COVID-19 spike, states throughout the country generously provided badly-needed supplies, resources and personnel, and we promised that as the virus continued to spread, we'd return the favor," Cuomo said. "That time is here now, and as part of New York State's ongoing commitment to helping cities and states throughout the nation, we're glad to be able to provide two testing sites for highly-impacted minority communities in the great city of Savannah, and I thank our hospital partners for providing the expertise to so quickly make this vision a reality."
Members of the New York Delegation include:
- Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor
- Robert Mujica, State Budget Director
- Jim Malatras, SUNY Empire State College President
- Gareth Rhodes, Deputy Superintendent & Special Counsel at NYS Department of Financial Services, Member of COVID-19 Task Force
- Larry Schwartz, Former Secretary to the Governor, Member of COVID-19 Task Force
- Lisa Pino, Executive Deputy Commissioner at NYS Department of Health
- Edgar Santana, Director of Downstate Regional Affairs
"Savannah has resolved to follow the science in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, our steadfastness remains today with this exciting new partnership with New York State, which will expand testing capacity and PPE supplies in our community," said Mayor Van R. Johnson, II. "I'm grateful to Governor Cuomo and his team for graciously partnering to help us fight back against this devastating virus."
The sites were created with expertise and resources from SOMOS Community Care and Northwell Health. New York State will also provide the following supplies:
- 124,000 Surgical Masks (50 cases)
- 7,500 VTM Test Kits
- 7,500 Gowns
- 11,500 Gloves
- 7,500 N95 Masks
- 7,500 Face Shields
- 2.5 Pallets of Styrofoam Coolers
- 1,250 Gallons of Hand Sanitizer
Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Chairman and Founder of SOMOS Community Care, said, "We are proud to stand with Governor Cuomo to continue the effort to increase access to testing, especially in vulnerable communities across the country. Our experience catering to the unique needs of diverse populations in New York City will be an asset to Savannah's efforts, and we look forward to our partnership with Mayor Johnson as we continue to fight this deadly disease."
Prior to the announcement, Cuomo and the New York State team shared New York's best practices with Mayor Johnson and the Savannah health care team in a meeting, and the work between the two teams will continue.
New York has created and implemented a comprehensive strategy to stop the spread and save lives, and the state government shares the strategy with other cities and states around the country. The strategy includes:
- Hospital Capacity
- PPE and Medical Equipment
- Regional Coordination (with neighboring states)
- Masks and Social Distancing
- Phased, Data-Driven Reopening
The Savannah testing sites add to New York State's commitment to helping other cities and states fight COVID-19 across the country. Last Thursday, Cuomo announced that New York State has established two church testing sites in COVID-19 hotspots in Houston, Texas. On July 13, Cuomo announced New York State will send testing and contract tracing teams to Atlanta, Georgia. On July 10, Cuomo announced New York State would send the COVID-19 medication Remdesivir to Florida as the state struggles with a resurgence of cases.