By Eileen AJ Connelly
AFP via Getty Images
New York’s coronavirus death toll surged to 3,565 Saturday, an increase of 630 in the past 24 hours that’s the “worst yet,” according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who warned that the state has not even hit its apex of cases.
“By the numbers, we’re not yet at the apex,” Cuomo said at a morning briefing, as he announced that the Chinese government will “facilitate” the delivery of 1,000 sorely needed ventilators to New York later in the day.
“We’re not yet ready for the apex either. We’re not yet ready for the high point, we’re still working on the capacity of the system, the more time we have to improve the capacity of the system, the better,” added Cuomo.
Cuomo said the apex of cases in the state is expected within four to eight days.
The total number of people infected in the state rose by a new high of 10,841 to 113,704.
New York City still has the highest number of cases by far, with 63,306, but the numbers on Long Island continue to spike.
The Big Apple is down to 65 percent of the state’s cases, from 75 percent, as Long Island cases have increased. “The shift is undeniable,” the governor said, calling the suburbs the state’s newest hotspot.
In Nassau county, there are now 13,346 cases, up 1,322 from yesterday, and in Suffolk county there are 11,370, an increase of 1,216, Cuomo said. Long Island now accounts for 22 percent of statewide cases, up from 16 percent on March 25.
There are 15,905 people currently hospitalized. Cuomo said two-thirds of hospitalized patients have been discharged, and the total number of hospitalizations dipped yesterday.
The ventilator donations came from the foundations created by billionaire Alibaba founders Jack Tsai and Jack Ma. The Chinese government stepped up to fly the donation to JFK, the governor said.
“It’s a big deal and it’s going to make a significant difference for us,” Cuomo said. Earlier, he said the state had just 500 spare ventilators to deploy between hospitals. He said there will be a conference call with hospitals later Saturday to coordinate equipment deployment. Friday, the governor issued an executive order that allows the state to take ventilators and other equipment from hospitals and institutions around the state and redistribute them where the need is greatest.
A second shipment of 140 ventilators is heading to New York from, the governor said. He called the donation “just astonishing and unexpected” adding, “140 ventilators will make a difference.”
“I want to thank Gov. [Kate] Brown and all of the people in the state of Oregon for their thoughtfulness,” Cuomo said. He noted that Oregon’s apex is projected to be in May, after New York’s cases are expected to peak. “We will return it double-fold because that’s who we are and that’s what we believe.”
“New York needs more ventilators, and we are answering their call for help,” Brown tweeted while Cuomo was speaking. “We’ll be sending 140 ventilators to help NY because Oregon is in a better position right now. We must do all that we can to help those on the front lines of this response.”
A total of 85,000 health care workers have so far answered calls to volunteer to help out in New York, he said, including 22,000 from out of state.