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Cuomo Unveils Plan For 7-State Regional Coalition For Purchasing Medical, Protective Equipment

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It has been a little more than two monhs since New York closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Only 64 days. Feels like a lifetime," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the total hospitalization rate was below 10,000 -- 9,786, to be exact -- the first time since mid-March that has been the case. The number of intubations was also down.

There were 799 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed, and 280 additional deaths.

"The overall direction is good, even though it is very painful," Cuomo said.


Cuomo said two months into the pandemic it's time to "learn the lessons" thus far.

He cited a Centers for Disease Control report that suggested that there are different strains of the virus -- a strain on the West Coast which came from China and a strain on the East Coast which came from Europe.

"That's an important fact to know and study," Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the virus traveled from China to Europe, spread in Europe, and then those travelers came to New York and the East Coast.

WATCH: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gives Coronavirus Briefing

"Nobody was watching Italy and Europe at the time. Nobody was even thinking about it," Cuomo said.

The lesson there is that an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere, the governor said.

Another lesson learned concerned the hospital and health care system.

"In the middle of this outbreak, we had to go back and do what we called a 'surge and flex' management system, where we said to all 176 private hospitals, 'We have to work together and we have to manage this system as one,'" Cuomo said. "We did this all basically on the fly. We put together a de facto public health system. But, it was a lot to do on the fly, and we need to institutionalize these lessons."

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Cuomo also pointed to the need for personal protective equipment. He said that the state will be implementing a rule that every hospital must have a 90-day supply of PPE going forward.

He pointed to states competing with one another to purchase equipment and driving up prices, saying that made no sense and needs to be addressed.

Cuomo announced that New York is joining a regional coalition of seven Northeastern states to make those purchases as a block, which he believes will help lower the prices and enable the states to actually close the deals.

Also participating in the coalition are New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.

"The notion of coordinating together as a region makes enormous sense. So sign us up. Sign New Jersey up," said N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy. "Not only should we not have to be scouring the world for this, it ought to be made in the USA. Even better yet, made in our states."

"With global supply chains continuing to experience a major disruption due to the pandemic, combining the efforts of our states into a regional purchasing initiative will help our states obtain needed PPE and other medical equipment without competing against each other. I've long been advocating for the federal government to get involved because pitting all 50 states against each other to compete for these supplies has never made any sense. Partnering with our neighbors helps make our purchasing power stronger and more dependable," said Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont.

Cuomo said the move may create an entirely new industry in the region.

PHOTO GALLERY: Coronavirus Shutdown 30 Days In

He urged New Yorkers to continue to wear masks.

"We all are a very thankful to our health care workers," Cuomo said. "But if you really want to say thank you, make their life easier."

He called not wearing a mask "disrespectful."

Cuomo said plans to reopen the state will be driven by data. He was asked what his gut is telling him about the progress the state is making.

"My gut says the weather is going to warm," Cuomo said. "We are not out of the woods. Numbers are going down but… you go back to your old behavior, that number goes right back up."

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