Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: CDCALBANY — New York State is expanding its testing for the COVID-19 virus to all 19 million state residents.Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement during a Wednesday press conference in which he said there have already been 4 million tests administered statewide.“You want to manage the COVID Virus, test, trace, masks, social distancing, that’s the formula, hard to do,” Cuomo said.”We now have 750 testing cites across New York State. We are now opening testing to all New Yorkers. We have that much capacity. Go get tested. It doesn’t cost you anything, it doesn’t hurt. take a test and it’s now open to everyone”He said the numbers indicate New York is “doing great.” Tuesday’s results show 879 people hospitalized with the virus, the fourth straight day under 900, he said. There were 11 reported deaths, “just about as low as it has ever been.” He said 56,000 tests were performed Tuesday, with a positive rate of 1.1 percent.“The key to what we are doing is the testing. We just finished four million tests in New York. We only have 19 million people in New York,” New York is doing more tests per capita than any nation on the globe.”Cuomo said the initial approach to the virus was not political or emotional and based on the facts as they were known at the time.“What we have done from day one, we have been smart about what we’ve done with COVID. we didn’t get political, we didn’t get emotional,” he said. “Y have to anticipate the issue coming down the pike and you have to get ahead of it. You have to get ahead of the virus so what we now do is anticipate what could happen.”Sixteen states are now on the state’s quarantine list, a doubling in only a week, Cuomo explained.“Chances are, whatever we do, people from those 16 states are going to make their way here and that’s how we got infected to begin with (from travelers from Europe),” Cuomo explained. “Our infection rate is low, we know.”He said infection rates in Europe are now in decline and that the European Union now has America on a quarantine list, which he called ironic.
Officials in the tourism and hospitality industry said they were pleased that the alternative budget approach proposed by Governor Jim Douglas contains an additional $850,000 to market the state. With the summer tourism season unofficially kicking off over Memorial Day Weekend, Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Bruce Hyde said the money couldn t come at a better time. Tourism is one of the largest industries in our state, and spending on promoting Vermont is an investment in job creation and retention, Hyde said. Our recent economic impact study showed that visitor spending in Vermont supported approximately 37,000 jobs for Vermonters.He noted that there were roughly 60,000 jobs in the hospitality and entertainment sector in Vermont, spread out in literally every county of the state, and visitor spending contributed $206.9 million in tax and fee revenues to state coffers in the General, Education and Transportation Funds. A strong tourism economy is vital to Vermont, and marketing the state as a travel destination benefits us all, said Ed Stahl, executive director of the Stowe Area Association. Lamoille County is very dependant on tourism for total revenue, so we re very encouraged that the Governor is appropriating a total of $1.35 million to promote Vermont. This is an investment that we will see a return on many times over.Kelly Pawlak, general manager of Mount Snow Resort, agreed. The Mount Snow Valley relies heavily on tourism, and the news about additional funding to market Vermont is music to our ears, she said. Vermont has such a strong brand, so this decision will show a quick return on investment. Visitors are looking for affordable and drive-to vacations right now, and Vermont really fits the bill. These additional funds will help showcase all we have to offer. Hyde said that while officials were optimistic about the upcoming summer tourism season, the state would be competing for scarce visitor spending with other states boasting far larger marketing budgets, and that the department planned to make some funding available for local chambers of commerce, with the state and chambers splitting the cost as a 50-50 match. Using the federal stimulus money to boost our tourism sector is just good economic development, Hyde said. The Legislature s plan to spend $500,000 is a good start, but the Governor s proposal of $1.35 million is a significant increase that will really have an impact on bringing visitors and their money to Vermont.Visitors to the Green Mountain State spent more than $1.61 billion for goods and services in 2007, according to a recent study prepared by Economic and Policy Resources (EPR) of Williston that measures the impact of visitor spending on the Vermont economy.The complete report is available online on the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing s industry Web site at www.VermontPartners.org(link is external). www.vermontvacation.com(link is external).Source: Governor’s Office