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Cuomo travels to Savannah, Ga., to offer advice on fighting COVID-19

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo boards a plane July 20, 2020, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York for a trip to Savannah, Georgia.

(The Center Square) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo flew to Savannah, Ga., Monday to meet with leaders of the Georgia coastal city and help them with their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trip follows outreach efforts to Atlanta and Houston Cuomo’s administration has made in the past week. The state has also sent supplies to Florida as well. New York is currently one of just 10 states nationwide not experiencing an increase in the infection rate.

While there, he will meet with leaders to help them ramp up testing and contact tracing efforts and advise them on handling hospital capacities that are getting stressed.

“Any place that needs assistance, we will be there,” Cuomo said during a Monday morning briefing at John F. Kennedy International Airport just before his departure. “We are in a position to help where we are now. Our numbers are down low. We have the medical staff, we have the equipment, we have the ventilators, and we have knowledge of how to do this.”

One thing the governor won’t do is self-quarantine for two weeks upon his return. While Georgia is one of 22 states currently on a COVID-19 travel advisory requiring visitors and New York residents to self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival, Cuomo, like others, received an exemption because he’s considered an essential employee.

Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, also pointed out that the quarantine requirement does not apply for anyone “passing through” a state for less than a day.

“But I will take the test when I get back,” Cuomo told reporters.

Cuomo also told reporters that there are people coming to New York because they now consider it a safe state, and for those entering through a New York airport from one of the advisory states, they must provide their contact information to the state or face a $2,000 fine.

However, the governor admitted there’s no mechanism for the state to get that information from people entering New York from one of those states by car, bus or train. Last week, when he announced that New York City would enter phase four of the state’s reopening plan, he noted that the outbreaks elsewhere would eventually lead to one again in New York.

Cuomo again put the Trump Administration on blast, claiming it has mishandled the situation and “pressured” the states to reopen “recklessly,” which led to the outbreaks happening nationwide.

“The only answer is, those other states have to get the virus under control, and the federal government has been incompetent on this situation,” Cuomo said. “The federal government has been in denial on this situation.”

But there’s still more New York can do within its own borders, he said. He once again urged local authorities, namely those in New York City and Long Island, to enforce the state’s COVID-19 orders, especially on outdoor dining and drinking.

He said that if local officials cannot police the crowds that are swarming around some non-compliant establishments then the state may have to roll back the reopening plan and close the bars and restaurants.

At some locations, Cuomo said as many as 700 people were violating the state’s open container laws and COVID-19 regulations.

“We are right on the line because we have that dual threat,” he said. “You have those other states with the virus increasing, that’s pressuring us, and you have these congregations that, by definition, have to be increasing the viral spread. And with both of those pressures pressuring our progress and our status, I’m telling you, it’s math. It’s going to have an effect.”

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