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Cuomo hails hospital ship, says bizzes must cut in-office workforce by 50%

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo announced that the U.S.N.S. Comfort, a 1,000-bed hospital ship, is being deployed to New York Harbor.

Expected to arrive in April, the Comfort has 12 fully equipped operating rooms and will significantly increase New York’s hospital surge capacity. The governor is meeting with leadership of the Army Corp of Engineers today to discuss ways to increase hospital capacity in New York.

In addition, Cuomo issued an executive order directing businesses to start work-from-home policies effective Fri., March 20. Businesses must decrease their in-office workforce by 50 percent.

The order exempts essential service industries, including shipping, warehouses, grocery and food production, pharmacies, media, banks and related financial institutions, plus other businesses critical to the supply chain.

On Monday, the governor ordered nonessential state employees statewide to work from home. He also directed local governments to reduce their overall workforce by 50 percent and allow nonessential employees to work from home.

Meanwhile, an additional 1,008 coronavirus cases were confirmed in New York State, bringing the statewide total to 2,382. There were new cases in 20 counties. New York City, along with Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties all saw the largest spikes.

“We are fighting a war against this pandemic and we know that two of the most effective ways to stop it is by reducing density and increasing our hospital capacity so our healthcare system is not overwhelmed,” Cuomo said. “The deployment of the U.S.N.S. Comfort to New York is an extraordinary but necessary step to help ensure our state has the capacity to handle an influx of patients with COVID-19 and continue our efforts to contain the virus. Partnering with the private sector to require nonessential employees to work from home will also go a long way toward bending the curve. My number one priority is protecting the public health so that a wave of new cases doesn’t crash our hospital system, and we will continue taking any action necessary to achieve that goal.” 

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Confirmed coronavirus cases in New York State as of Wed., March 18: 

Albany County: 36 (13 new)

Allegany County: 2

Broome County: 1

Chenango County: 1 (1 new)

Clinton County: 1

Delaware County: 1

Dutchess County: 20 (4 new)

Erie County: 7

Essex County: 1 (1 new)

Greene County: 2

Hamilton County: 1 (1 new)

Herkimer County: 1

Monroe County: 14  (4 new)

Montgomery County: 2 (1 new)

Nassau County: 183 (52 new)

New York City: 1,339 (695 new)

Onondaga County: 2

Ontario County: 1

Orange County: 32 (17 new)

Putnam County: 2

Rensselaer County: 4 (3 new)

Rockland County: 30 (8 new)

Saratoga County: 14 (5 new)

Schenectady County: 14 (9 new)

Suffolk County: 116 (32 new)

Sullivan County: 1

Tioga County: 1

Tompkins County: 3 (1 new)

Ulster  County: 9 (1 new)

Warren County: 1 (1 new)

Washington County: 1 (1 new)

Westchester County: 538 (158 new)

Wyoming County: 1

Update: As of Thurs., March 19, coronavirus cases had surged in New York City by more than 2,500 — to 3,954 positive cases and 26 fatalities.

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