N.Y.C. to Open Testing Sites in Hard-Hit Communities: Live Updates

Mayor De Blasio announced new testing sites in hard-hit communities.

New York City last week released preliminary data showing that the coronavirus is killing black and Latino New Yorkers at twice the rate that it is killing white New Yorkers.

On Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would open testing centers in an effort to begin to address those disparities.

“We cannot accept this inequality. We have to attack it with every tool we have,” he said.

He said that by the end of next week, the city would open the testing centers in East New York, Brooklyn; Morrisania, Bronx; Harlem, Manhattan; Jamaica, Queens; and Clifton, Staten Island.

Mr. de Blasio said that despite the ongoing hardship, there continued to be encouraging signs in the city’s struggle against the virus. He reminded New Yorkers that the previous week had been expected to be one of the most painful of the outbreak, but that it had delivered some promising signs.

“This was a tough and painful week but it was also a very different week from the one we expected, and thank God for that,” he said. Last Sunday was a moment that we were preparing for the worst and then we started to see some improvement.”

The number of those who needed to be intubated on a daily basis continued to fall, down from between 200 and 300 patients a day to about 70 patients a day, he said. He added that the city had a large enough supply of ventilators to get through the week.

Mr. de Blasio repeated that progress in the fight against the virus was contingent on more testing, something that the city did not have the capability to provide for itself.

“We continue to plead for more testing,” he said. “It still has not come in anywhere near the numbers that we need.”

He said that he was continuing to ask the White House and FEMA for more testing.

“We must have the testing to help us move towards that next phase, where we get out of widespread transmission of coronavirus and move to low-level transmission,” he said.

He said that all city workers who had contact with the public would be required to wear face masks starting Monday.

Governor Cuomo urged caution in the rush to reopen New York’s economy.

Weeks after ordering a shutdown across the state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Saturday said the efforts were beginning to pay off and the curve of new coronavirus cases was continuing to flatten.

But, as the focus began to turn to reopening the state and New York City, Mr. Cuomo emphasized that it would be premature to look too far ahead.

“Reopening is both an economic question and a public health question,” he said. “And I’m unwilling to divorce the two. You can’t ask the people of this state or this country to chose between lives lost and dollars gained.”

A rushed decision, he said, could lead to a resurgence of the outbreak.

“We don’t know if there’s going to be a second wave or not,” he said, urging caution in the rush to get the economy back off the ground.

On Sunday, the governor returned a number of ventilators to the Pathways Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Niskayuna, N.Y., highlighting the reduced need in the New York City area for the devices.

He continued to emphasize the toll the coronavirus was taking.

“Last night we lost hundreds of New Yorkers to this terrible disease,” he said.

Mr. Cuomo thanked the nursing home for its willingness to share unused devices with an area in need, an approach he said could be critical to combating the virus across the country.

New York City said schools were closed for the academic year. The governor pushed back.

After Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo spent Saturday sparring over whether New York City’s public school system would remain closed through the end of June, Mr. de Blasio insisted Sunday that there was no fundamental disagreement between the two political rivals.

“I think the governor has done a very good job in this crisis,” the mayor said, adding that he and Mr. Cuomo speak frequently. He said it was clear that schools should be closed until September.

Asked why he chose to announce the school closure extension on a Saturday morning, Mr. de Blasio said he thought it was “imperative” to inform parents and educators as soon as the final decision was made.

Though Mr. Cuomo’s aides insisted that Mr. de Blasio does not have the legal authority to extend school closures, the mayor said the technicalities were besides the point.

“This is not a legal or jurisdictional question,” he said. “This is a moral question.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the closure on Saturday, seemingly confirming that more than three months of regular schooling for 1.1 million children would be lost because of the coronavirus.

But soon after the mayor ended his news conference, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at his own news briefing said there had been “no decision” on closing schools in the state or city. He described the mayor’s announcement as Mr. de Blasio’s “opinion.”

Mr. Cuomo said the decision to reopen New York schools was his. Mr. de Blasio countered that during a television appearance Saturday night.

“I run the school system,” along with the schools chancellor, Richard A. Carranza, the mayor said, citing mayoral control of city schools. “We are the people charged with protecting our kids, our families,” he said, adding, “This is what we’re going to do.”

The decision to extend the closure would add to an enormous challenge for roughly 1,800 schools across the city’s five boroughs, which have scrambled to adjust to remote learning since they were initially closed on March 16.

New Jersey pleaded for help. Two hundred out-of-state paramedics arrived.

Daunted by the coronavirus pandemic, New Jersey officials last week pleaded for medical professionals from other states to come to their aid.

By Friday morning, 75 ambulances with license plates from places as far as Minnesota and Georgia were starting to line up at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. Nearly 200 paramedics and emergency medical technicians stood ready to help New Jersey’s strained health care system.

“It’s a godsend to have them here,” said John Grembowiec, director of emergency medical services for University Hospital in Newark.

Mr. Grembowiec, whose team helped lead the visiting crews into the city convoy-fashion, emergency lights on, said locals welcomed them with fanfare.

“Neighbors were waving and blowing kisses, cars were beeping their horns and people were shouting, ‘You go! You go!’” Mr. Grembowiec said. “And our people, who are so exhausted, had tears in their eyes because this was the cavalry coming to rescue them.”

Although New Jersey has its own statewide task force that can send reinforcements from one region to another, most of their crews have been overwhelmed by the crisis. On Tuesday, Health Department officials from the state contacted the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which then turned to a nationwide network asking for volunteers, said Mike Bascom, a member of the task force.

Kevin Anderson, an operations supervisor for American Medical Response, which has a FEMA contract, was one of those who picked up the phone.

You might miss a birthday or an anniversary, but the community is the priority,” he said. “We’re accustomed to it.”

As The New York Times follows the spread of the coronavirus across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, we need your help. We want to talk to doctors, nurses, lab technicians, respiratory therapists, emergency services workers, nursing home managers — anyone who can share what they are seeing in the region’s hospitals and other health care centers. Even if you haven’t seen anything yet, we want to connect now so we can stay in touch in the future.

A reporter or editor may contact you. Your information will not be published without your consent.

Reporting was contributed by Jan Hoffman, Edgar Sandoval, Eliza Shapiro and Tracey Tully.

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