Cuomo Orders DOH to Prioritize Testing

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he will issue an Executive Order directing all public and private labs in New York to coordinate with the State Department of Health to prioritize coronavirus diagnostic testing. This action is part of the State’s efforts to ramp up testing, a key component of the Governor’s blueprint to un-Pause New York. The Executive Order will help ensure the 301 laboratories and hospitals in the state that are licensed to perform virology operate in a coordinated fashion to overcome the testing challenges that every state in the nation is now facing.

The Governor also reiterated his call for the federal government to provide unrestricted funding to the states to help stabilize the economy and allow the states to perform reopening functions. The federal government has passed three bills to address this crisis, including the federal CARES Act, all of which contained zero funding to offset drastic state revenue shortfalls.

The Governor also launched an awareness campaign encouraging low-income New Yorkers to claim their Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act. The Act provides $1,200 payments to individuals making below $75,000 and $2,400 payments to married couples making below $150,000. However, taxpayers will only receive their payments automatically if they filed 2018 or 2019 federal tax returns. Because the federal filing threshold is roughly $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples, hundreds of thousands of the lowest income New Yorkers who are not required to file returns will not receive their payments unless they provide their information to the IRS.