New York Stopping Train Service For 4 Hours Each Day For Cleaning
The MTA will clean and disinfect every 24 hours, which will lead to some service interruptions.
In an emergency crisis situation problems compound each other, Gov Andrew Cuomo noted during his COVID-19 briefing on Thursday. One such problem is the conditions on New York City subways have rapidly deteriorated.
He said the MTA stepped up and started disinfecting trains and buses every 72 hours, but he wants them to be cleaned every day.
"Why? Because that's the best way we protect the health of our essential worker," Cuomo said.
Cuomo said the MTA has come up with a plan to clean "trains" every day, which includes stopping service from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. every night on subway trains during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ridership is down 92 percent during these hours, according to Cuomo.
The MTA will provide transportation with buses, for-hire vehicles or "dollar vans" at no cost for essential workers during those hours.
The MTA will also disinfect the LIRR and Metro-North fleet every day, without service disruption, according to Cuomo.
"It is our obligation to do everything we can to keep our essential workers safe. Now, we must clean and disinfect every 24 hours. This is unprecedented, but we must do it," he said.
On Thursday, Cuomo announced the hospitalization rate and intubations are down. The number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations is below 1,000.
He announced 306 Empire State residents died in the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 18,321.
"An optimist would say the numbers are on the decline. A realist would say that's a tremendous amount of grief," Cuomo said.
Cuomo confirmed the state is performing around 30,000 daily tests with a goal of 40,000 per day.
He confirmed 4,681 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. He says the testing/tracing/isolate program is a massive undertaking because you must find out where over 4,000 people went and who they interacted with, each day.
Cuomo believes you need at least 30 tracers for every 100,000 coronavirus cases. Statewide there will need 6,400-17,000 tracers.
"This will require a tracing army," he said. "The problem with tracing is we don't have the scale for it yet. It is an overwhelming scale to an operation that has never been done before."
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who's leading the tracing program appeared during the briefing and said a tracing program is needed once social distancing guidelines are relaxed.
Bloomberg said he will share strategies from the New York State tracing program to other states and around the world.
"We make decisions based on data," Cuomo tweeted during the COVID-19 briefing. "We have the playbook: Test — Trace — Isolate. We are building an army of tracers. We can meet this challenge."