Monday, May 18, 2020

MAYOR DE BLASIO on COVID-19 - May 18, 2020


Mayor Bill de Blasio: Now as of this very day for the first time, the Made in New York City test kits are in use at Health + Hospitals community testing sites, and this is beginning today. By the end of the week, more than 60,000 of these test kits will have been delivered and be in use. And then we're ramping up from there. The production process is speeding up every week. So last week, 28,000 kits produced this week, 33,000. In the week of May 25th, 50,000. The week of May, excuse me, the week of June 1st over 60,000 of these test kits will be produced each week in New York City. That is more than the original projection of what could be produced weekly. And we'll keep going as far as we have to go to make sure that every New Yorker who needs a test gets one. And remember, this is not just about the test kits that are being produced right now for all of you to use now. This is about building capacity in New York City to produce whatever we need in the future to fight this pandemic and anything else that's thrown at us. This is about building the capacity to produce right here and to protect ourselves.
Now, constant growth from this point on, so more testing sites. We have the kits. Now, we need more sites. Two more Health + Hospitals test sites open today in communities in the city. One in Washington Heights, one in Midwood. That brings us to 25 total Health + Hospitals sites on top of that five One Medical sites. That’s the private provider working with Local 1199 SEIU. And as I announced yesterday, 123 CityMD urgent care sites now all providing testing to New Yorkers. Added up, over 150 test sites now in this city. Remember just a few weeks ago we didn't have grassroots testing. We were fighting just to keep our hospitals going. Now over 150 sites and that will keep growing steadily. To find a place where you can get tested, go online, nyc.gov/covidtest. Everything I referred to here, these kits, again this is the diagnostic testing, diagnostic testing, or otherwise referred to as PCR testing. This is to tell you if right now you have the coronavirus, the other kind of testing is important too, the antibody testing, which helps you understand if you've been exposed previously to the coronavirus and obviously proves your ability to fight your way through it.
So, in the coming weeks, two big initiatives that are starting now and they'll build out – 140,000 antibody tests will be provided to first responders and health care workers, and then 140,000 for everyday New Yorkers on top of that, combined well over a quarter-million antibody tests. This morning our antibody testing program for our first responders and health care workers began and it will run for about four weeks. This is in coordination with the federal government and I want to thank everyone at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control who came to us with this proposal. We worked together in partnership. They are covering all the appropriate costs. So, this is something that's being provided for free to first responders and health care workers and not being charged to the City of New York either. So that's a very good thing. Again, every individual gets the results, that's good. But on top of it, it will help us understand what's happening with the disease more broadly. So, it's part of a bigger study to help us learn how to fight this disease better. So, 140,000 of our heroes will get tested. It's voluntary, it's up to each of you, first responders, health care workers. If you want it, it's there for you. Now it will start with FDNY, with EMTs, paramedics, firefighters, the whole FDNY family. Anyone is welcome to participate. Testers will go to your work sites. Same with the OCME staff, Medical Examiner's Office. Those will be the first agencies reached. You can sign up to get your test right away and then we're going to reach more and more of our first responders and health care agencies over the coming weeks. To sign up, you go to firstserosurveynyc.com – yes, it's a mouthful. Firstsero – S-E-R-O – surveynyc.com or text TESTNYC to 783-78. So, we're really happy that that's up and running. That's going to give a lot of good information to individuals who have served us so well and also help us all to fight this disease.
First of all, important what they are calling this new reality. CDC is now calling it multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children – MIS-C. So, we will from this point on refer to it also as MIS-C for consistency with the federal government. The CDC has confirmed a link to COVID-19. So, this is important. We've assumed it, but they have done additional research to 100 percent confirm it and they've released a standard national definition so that the whole country, doctors, scientists all over the country can share information, common definition, and we can all work together to understand how to fight this back. Now, again, we'll call it MIS-C. 
So, it begins with – since it is linked to COVID-19 you've got the immediate point that everything else we do to fight the coronavirus we need to do to fight MIS-C. So, that means the hygiene, the washing hands, the hand sanitizer, the coughing into your elbow when you cough or sneeze, all the basics, using the face covering, staying home to maximum extent possible, social distancing. All of this helps make sure our children are not exposed to this disease. And that's the best way to avoid this challenge because it keeps COVID out of the equation. Now, the symptoms – we've talked about several of them, but I want to add because the CDC research and definition has added additional symptoms to the equation. Persistent fever, irritability or sluggishness, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, rash, conjunctivitis, which is shown as red or pink eyes, enlarged lymph node gland in the neck, red cracked lips or red tongue, and swollen hands and feet. So, that's a lot to be aware of. Any of those symptoms you see in your child, call your health care provider, check in immediately. If you see multiple symptoms, especially important to get to your doctor, your health care provider immediately. If you don't have one, call 3-1-1 and you will be connected to a Health + Hospitals clinician immediately.
Now, right now, the number of children affected – the previous definition we use was 145. Under that definition, we've confirmed 145 kids affected, 67 of those cases tested positive for COVID-19 or had antibodies. And we did lose one child – and, again, our goal is to never lose another. We'll have updated numbers with this new definition, the MISC definition, shortly. But the bottom line is, the additional news, the additional information from the CDC allows us to hone our approach more. But the same bottom line, look for these symptoms in your child, act quickly if you see them. If they get to health care quickly, children can be brought through this safely. And that's what we all need to do together.
Okay. We're go into our daily indicators now. And, again, we've had – overall trend, fantastic, but a lot of days are mixed bags. We've got a mixed bag day today. It's a good day on one indicator, mixed on the others. We still keep making progress overall, but I want to inspire everyone, go deeper. The faster we can get through these indicators, the more thoroughly we can consolidate our success, the more chance of starting to relax restrictions. So, we’ve all got to stick with it here. So, indicator one daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, that is down. And this is a great one – down from 77 to 48 – that's amazing. Now, under 50 people admitted to the hospital in a day for COVID-19, that's a really wonderful sign. But the number of people in ICUs across our public hospitals for suspected COVID-19, that went up just a little from 469 to 475 – so, it's not a huge increase, and I keep that in mind, but it's still an increase, we need to keep going down. And then the percentage of people tested positive for COVID-19, unchanged – 11 percent. Again, overall good news, because of the overall direction. Great news on the number of people going into the hospitals, but we need to create that steady progress to get to the next stage.

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