Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that President Trump pledged to help New York double its coronavirus testing capacity to 40,000 a day.
The president committed to making the federal government responsible for sourcing the testing materials during the pair’s Oval Office meeting earlier in the day, Cuomo said.
The Empire State, meanwhile, will focus on having laboratories conduct the tests.
“We agreed that a state government should be responsible for managing the actual tests in their own laboratories,” Cuomo said, adding that he wants both diagnostic and antibody testing, with an emphasis on the former.
The governor acknowledged that antibody tests aren’t foolproof and may not mean that a person is now immune from catching the disease again.
Reaching the “very aggressive goal” will take several weeks at best.
“This is an enormous undertaking,” Cuomo said.
The governor said he also spoke with Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about the need to secure more funding for states in the next federal relief package, if there is one.
And the president agreed it was unreasonable to have New York match Federal Emergency Management Agency aid funding by 25 percent, given how hard-hit the state has been, Cuomo said.
“I said to the president there is no way New York can pay that match because we don’t have the funding,” Cuomo said.
“The incongruity, the state that had the most pain and death should get a bill because they endured pain and death, it makes no sense.”
Trump “said he understood and he would work to waive the local match.”
In addition to agreeing to return the USNS Comfort ship — which Cuomo said was no longer needed to treat COVID-19 patients — the state will also stop construction of temporary hospitals in the four boroughs outside of Manhattan.
“We stopped any new construction when we saw the rates starting to stabilize, but I’m not ready to close anything down yet either,” Cuomo said.
Citing the CDC’s warning of another possible outbreak in the fall, Cuomo said: “This is no time to pop the champagne bottles.”
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