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New York to invest undisclosed amount in 20 companies making personal protective equipment

Emergency room doctors and nurses wear personal protective equipment while manning desks due to COVID-19 concerns at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Monday, April 20, 2020, in Yonkers, N.Y.

(The Center Square) – Wary of being caught off guard a second time by the COVID-19 crisis, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the state will invest in 20 companies that will make personal protective equipment and other supplies health facilities may need if cases of the coronavirus spike again.

So far, the state continues to be spared from the increase in cases many other states are seeing. On Sunday, only about 1 percent of the tests results reported returned positive. Still, as New York City remains a destination for travelers, Cuomo said an increase may be inevitable, and that’s why the state keeps taking proactive measures.

Clothing manufacturers in Manhattan now make medical gowns, and others are making masks, gloves and testing vials that the state will use if the need arises.

The level of investment was not disclosed.

Cuomo said that when the state was looking for supplies when the spike hit in the spring, New York officials paid a substantial premium for the equipment health providers needed. An N95 respirator that typically cost 70 cents ended up costing the state 10 times as much.

“It’s not just a necessity, it’s also an economic reality that price gouging happens,” the governor said. “And we don’t want to be subject to either.”

The governor added that the state will continue to keep up with enforcement of reopening guidelines, especially in localities that aren’t doing a sufficient job. After state officials wrote up more than 100 citations on Friday and Saturday, they issued another 27 on Sunday across New York City.

The issue of people congregating in bars isn’t just a New York issue, it’s a national one, and Cuomo noted that several outbreaks were caused by states allowing bars and indoor dining to open liberally.

He also said he understands the establishments’ dilemma, but the law must be enforced.

On Sunday, the governor mentioned that some of the weekend offenders could lose their license this week.

“We accomplish nothing if we have to roll back some rules and regulations on bars and restaurants,” Cuomo said. “Most of the bars and restaurants really have been great. It’s always the same. It’s a handful of bad actors who ruin it for everyone.”

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