NY, NJ, CT To Assemble COVID-19 'Tracing Army' To Isolate Hotspots


New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are banding together with federal help to test, trace and isolate COVID-19 outbreaks in the Tri-State area.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday morning that he and President Trump came to an agreement in principle, regarding how to scale testing for the novel coronavirus on the state level.

Cuomo says the federal government will work to secure the foreign supply chain of materials for states to test more people for the pandemic virus. The White House will also support a bailout for state governments, which are nearly all operating at deficits due to the coronavirus crisis.

From there, it will be up to states to administer tests and then enlist what Cuomo called an "army" of tracers to locate COVID hotspots.

"Once you do all those tests, every positive you have to go back and trace [people who came into contact with the infected person]," he said. "The tracing is a very big, big deal."

Because there is so much cross-pollination between the three states in the greater New York City area, governors Ned Lamont, Phil Murphy and Cuomo have agreed to combine resources so tracers are not handicapped by intrastate jurisdictions.

Acknowledging that the tracing initiative is unprecedented, Cuomo said it's the only choice the states have to get back up and running — the consequences are life and death.

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has agreed to help lead the program. Cuomo noted Bloomberg's personal experience in both the public and private sectors, as well as his relationship with the medical school at Johns Hopkins University.

Bloomberg has contributed $10 million to kick off the program. He is utilizing his companies to design technology for the tracing effort and to train the people who will be using it.

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