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Cuomo: More than $30 million to enhance COVID-19 contact tracing & flu prevention in advance of fall flu season

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Fri, Jul 31st 2020 10:35 am

Funding will increase staff investigating COVID-19 exposures and cases; it will also be available to counties to strengthen flu vaccination rates ahead of flu season

Find full list of awardees here

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced more than $30 million to enhance COVID-19 contact tracing and flu prevention in advance of the fall flu season. The majority of funds, available to counties in the form of grants, will be used to increase local health department staffing capacity for enhanced detection, surveillance and prevention of COVID-19. The governor also announced $2 million in additional immunization funds to expand flu vaccination rates statewide to prevent overwhelming the health care system in the event of a severe flu season.

Funding by county is available here. Erie will receive $1,261,818, while Niagara is getting $543,314.

"As we continue to battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are also preparing for the upcoming fall flu season," Cuomo said. "We are making $30 million in grant funding available to counties to increase their contact tracing – which has worked very well for us – and to expand flu prevention and vaccinations to help ensure counties are ready to provide both flu and COVID-19 testing to residents."

The state contact tracing initiative, in partnership with counties, uses the New York Communicable Disease Management System (CommCare). To ensure consistency throughout the state, counties receiving this funding will be required to use CommCare for all COVID-19 investigation and tracing activities. Awards are based on county populations plus a supplemental award for the percentage of statewide COVID-19 cases in each county.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "New Yorkers have worked hard over the past several months, through these difficult times, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Initiatives like this, that strengthen contact tracing efforts throughout the state, will be the key to maintaining this hard-fought success, by stopping local outbreaks before they get out of control. With the possibility of COVID-19 cases resurging in the fall and winter, I encourage everyone stay healthy by getting a flu shot this year and to be prepared to receive a COVID-19 vaccination when one becomes available."

This funding has been made available through a CDC-sponsored cooperative agreement for epidemiology and laboratory capacity for infectious diseases.

In addition to contact tracing funding, the governor announced $2 million provided by the CDC to be distributed to local health departments throughout the state in advance of the flu season to make sure everyone gets their flu shot.

A press release said, “The spring 2020 COVID-19 emergency strained NYS' health care system; a severe influenza season combined with another wave of COVID-19 could easily overwhelm it. Influenza is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, responsible for preventable health care visits, hospitalizations and deaths. Over 22,000 New Yorkers were hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza during the 2019-2020 influenza season.”

New York Hits New Lows for COVID-19 Hospitalizations, ICU Patients & Intubations

The governor updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other data points are available at forward.ny.gov.

"New York state continues to closely monitor the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the nation and, as that situation worsens, we're taking every action we can here at home to slow the spread and save lives," Cuomo said. "While yesterday's numbers show New York is continuing on the right trajectory, we cannot get complacent. With much of the rest of the country surging, we are still vulnerable and have to continue to wear masks, socially distance and be ‘New York Tough.’ We will get through this, together."

The governor also announced the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited and observed 835 establishments across New York City and Long Island, and found violations at 41 establishments (5%).

Thursday’s data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient hospitalization – 586 (down 33)
  • Patients newly admitted – 83
  • Hospital counties – 29
  • Number ICU – 142 (down 12)
  • Number ICU with intubation – 72 (down 4)
  • Total Discharges – 72,973 (up 73)
  • Deaths – 13
  • Total deaths – 25,145

Of the 73,546 test results reported to New York, 777 (1.06%) were positive. Each region's percentage of positive test results reported over the past three days is as follows:

 

REGION

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

Capital Region

1.2%

1.8%

2.1%

Central New York

0.9%

0.8%

1.1%

Finger Lakes

0.4%

0.6%

0.6%

Long Island

1.1%

1.1%

1.2%

Mid-Hudson

1.1%

1.3%

1.3%

Mohawk Valley

2.0%

1.8%

0.9%

New York City

0.9%

1.1%

1.0%

North Country

0.6%

0.3%

0.3%

Southern Tier

0.6%

1.3%

0.7%

Western New York

0.9%

1.6%

0.5%

 

The governor also confirmed 777 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 414,370.

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