(NEWS10) — Good Morning, Capital Region. It’s Thursday, March 26.
Late Wednesday night, the United States Senate approved a $2 trillion stimulus package. It now heads to the House of Representatives for a vote, which will likely take place Friday.
1. Stimulus Package: So what exactly does the stimulus package entail? While the bill is one of the most expensive and far reaching measures in the history of congress. If passed it would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.
It would give one-time payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under the age of 17. Married couples would receive $2,400.
About 90% of Americans will be able to qualify for a payment.
For a full breakdown of how much money you can expect and when if this bill passes: CLICK HERE.
2. Coronavirus numbers in The Capital Region: The number of confirmed cases in New York State continues to rise. The numbers have been changing rapidly due to the high rate of testing conducted in the state. These are the local numbers as of Thursday morning, according to researchers at John Hopkins University.
Currently, the state has a 12% hospitalization rate down from last week. There are 888 in the ICU with a 3% ICU hospitalization rate.
New York State has a total of 33,033 confirmed cases and 366 deaths as of Thursday morning. 280 of those deaths are in New York City.
For the most up to date numbers, check out the coronavirus tracking map: CLICK HERE
3. Governor Cuomo Updates on New York State: On Wednesday Governor Andrew Cuomo held a briefing and again stressed the need for ventilators and more hospital beds.
- Cuomo said a need for 140,000 hospital beds and 40,000 ICU beds is expected. As of Wednesday morning, there were 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 ICU beds. He said he is expecting an apex in hospital cases in approximately three weeks. The current plan to ensure the state meets the demand is to increase hospital beds by asking hospitals to increase their bed counts by at least 50% and challenging hospitals to increase bed counts by 100%.
- Cuomo also commended the 40,000 people who have signed up to take part in the state’s healthcare surge team. The team will be made up of retired medical professionals or doctors and nurses who aren’t currently practicing in a direct care capacity. The Governor said those who have signed up could be put on possible reserve duty.
Locally several registered nurses and current nursing students have enlisted. Here’s the story of one local nursing student who says now is the time to step up to help: READ MORE.
Additionally, after more than a year worth of calls, letters and picketing to the governor asking for his attention to the matter, the St. Clare’s pensioners received a letter from the Governor. However, it was not a response they had hoped for.
The Governor sent a letter to the former St. Clare’s workers on Monday, asking them to consider signing up for the draft.
CLICK HERE to read the reaction from a former St.Clare’s worker.
4. Downstate visitors urged to self quarantine for two weeks
With the growing number of infections, local community leaders are stepping up and urging visitors from New York City to not travel upstate due to the lack of resources for treating infected patients. Leaders from several counties posted announcements to their websites and Facebook pages to say they have seen an influx of travelers from downstate who appear to be escaping the pandemic.
Rensselaer County executive Steve McLaughlin said he is concerned about already infected people spreading the virus even further. He sent this tweet calling on the Governor to take action:
In Warren County, officials have asked all property owners to remove short-term rental listings from Airbnb, Vrbo and other services to discourage the influx of downstate temporary relocation.
Washington County officials also asked property owners to remove short-term rental listing and urged visitors to not come to Washington County.
5. Updates from Massachusetts and Vermont
- Massachusetts reported four more COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the total in the state to 15. There are more than 1,800 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. Governor Charlie baker announced Wednesday all schools will remain closed until at least May 4th. The closure applies to both public and private schools and non-emergency child care programs. The original re-open date was April 7th. Child care will still be offered for essential workers and the closure does not affect special education schools,
- In Vermont, the death toll rose to eight, as of Thursday morning. There are 123 confirmed cases in the state. Officials said six of the eight deaths were linked to an outbreak at the Burlington Care Facility. Vermont’s House of Representatives passed a COVID-19 relief package that will give more flexibility to the state’s healthcare system.
Other notable news that’s happened…
New York State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan announced he will not be seeking re-election for the upcoming term: READ HIS FULL STATEMENT.
Gun sales are seeing an increase amid pandemic: READ MORE.
The Albany DA donated a ventilator to a hospital in NYC, the ventilator was held in the evidence room for a couple of years in efforts to pursue an arrest in an assault against a 15-year-old in May of 2012. Read his story HERE.
There are still so many great things happening in the Capital Region.
Residents are stepping up to build masks for local area hospitals.
- This Saratoga County man is using his 3D printing knowledge to his advantage and donating as many as he can print.
- And a local, small manufacturer is shifting their focus from clothing to medical supplies amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
And “Feed Albany” a coalition led by a group of Capital Region businesses partnered with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York to provide unemployed food service workers with food items and to deliver prepped food throughout Albany County.
Check out their story on today’s #GivingOn10: