ALBANY - A call put out last week for retired nurses to come back to help with the expected coronavirus surge has netted 30,000 responses to date, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
The call also included for qualified medical and nursing school students to come forward and despite the 30,000 response, more are needed, Cuomo said.
Cuomo also revealed some success in finding needed masks, gloves, gowns and face shields, the personal protective equipment that keeps doctors and nurses safe.
The state is working to distribute the supplies around the state, Cuomo said. for N-95 masks, the state has found nearly 340,000 and is sending about 34,000 to Long Island, 17,000 to Westchester County, 170,000 to New York City and 119,000 to the rest of the state.
The finds take care of those needs for now, but Cuomo stressed he still can't guarantee their availability next week or the week after as cases of COVID-19 are expected to surge.
Meanwhile, total confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state have now topped 20,000 and stood Monday morning at 20,875. That number represented a 5,707 increase from Sunday.
Albany County, the only local county on the statewide top 10 list of positive cases, stood at 127, according to the state count, an increase of four over Sunday.
The total number of tests conducted stood Monday morning at more than 78,000, at 78,289. That represents an increase in the number of tests of 16,739 in a single day.
A total of 2,742 tests have been administered in Albany County, an increase of 197 from the previous day. Saratoga County, the only other local county in the top 10 list of testing, has administered 1,202, up 164.
Across the state, 157 people have now died from the virus, Cuomo said, while 463 have died nationwide.
Of those found infected, the hospitalization rate stood at 13 percent, or 2,635. Of those hospitalized, 621 required ICU beds. Cuomo reiterated that the ICU need is the critical component as they require ventilators that are in short supply.
New York's testing program is now testing people at a greater rate per capita than South Korea, a country that has received praise for its testing program, Cuomo said.
He noted that since March 13, when the FDA gave New York authority to do COVID-19 testing at all of its labs, the state has gone from 1,000 tests a day to now more than 16,000.
Finding those who are positive and then isolating them remains crucial to stopping the spread, Cuomo said.
Cuomo also continued his efforts to increase hospital capacity. He is ordering hospitals to increase capacity by 50 percent, with the goal of doing it by 100 percent to meet the expected need.
The state has set up a website where qualified health professionals can sign up to help: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/get-involved-how-you-can-help