CORONAVIRUS IN NYC: De Blasio says city now faces $9 billion budget deficit, pleads for federal bailout

By 1010 WINS

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the city’s “fiscal situation has gotten worse” as he continued his pleas for a federal bailout.

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The mayor said the city initially projected $7.4 in lost revenue. He said it now projects $9 billion in lost revenue over two fiscal years, with additional lost revenue projected beyond that.

"We are now $9 billion in the hole between the current fiscal year and the one that begins July 1," the mayor said.

He urged the federal government to approve billions in aid for the city so it can keep running. In the meantime, he said the city has asked the state legislature for the ability to borrow $7 billion.

“This week I asked the state of New York for help. I asked the state of New York to give us a fallback, give us a safety net,” de Blasio said. “It’s something we need as a last resort if our federal government isn’t there for us, if we’re going to maintain basic services here in the city.” 

De Blasio said potential cuts made by the city would affect "all agencies" and include furloughs and layoffs.

“There is literally no way that we can solve this problem without federal help or without having to make very, very painful choices that will affect the quality of life in this city, our ability to provide basic services and how many people we’re able to employ to support you in the middle of a pandemic,” de Blasio said.

“In the middle of a moment when we are spending billions of dollars to protect your health and safety—to make sure you're fed, to make sure there’s a roof over your head—this is the very time where we’re not getting the help from the U.S. Senate or the president,” the mayor said.

“We have about four weeks,” de Blasio warned, saying the city has to propose a budget by the end of June.

De Blasio also announced Wednesday that the city is deploying hundreds of “resource navigators” who will supporting people quarantining at home or at hotels with suspected coronavirus.

The mayor said the 200 resource navigators from community-based organizations will provide meals, medications and mental and physical health support for individuals at home.

“They help you safely isolate at home,” de Blasio said. “This is how we help people. This is how we overcome this disease.”

The mayor said the resource navigators will check in on individuals with daily calls and text messages. The services will be provided for 14 days—the incubation period of the virus.

De Blasio said if people with the virus can’t safely isolate at home, they will be provided hotel rooms for free by the city.

“We are setting up an apparatus that will allow us to support you if you are at home,” de Blasio said. “If you have to be in a hotel, we’ll be able to support you as well.”

The mayor said the city has secured 1,200 rooms and aims to have 3,000 available by the summer. Meals, medications, mental and physical health support and laundry will also be provided for free to people at hotels for 14 days.

“We’re taking about a period of up to 14 days. It’s not forever, but for that period of time, we’re going to make sure you have what you need,” de Blasio said.

The mayor said people without a doctor who are symptomatic can call 844-692-4692 and ask about the COVID Hotel Program.

De Blasio also announced Wednesday that the city is now conducting 27,000 coronavirus tests every day “and growing.”

“We’re well on our way to our goal to getting at least 50,000 tests in the coming weeks and then we’re going to go and surpass that,” the mayor said.

He said 1,700 contact tracers will be online by June 1 and there will be 2,500 tracers by the first half of June. The city aims to eventually have 5,000 to 10,000 tracers tracking the spread of the virus.

The city also hopes to have 180 testing sites up and running by the end of June, the mayor said.

As for daily indicators tracking the virus, de Blasio said the daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19 had dropped to 55 and remains well below the threshold of 200 a day.

De Blasio said there were 431 critical care patients with suspected COVID-19 at public intensive care units. The city hasn’t yet dropped below the threshold of 375 patients that it aims to keep under. “But we are confident that number can continue to go down,” de Blasio said.

Meanwhile, the number of people tested citywide who were positive for COVID-19 was at 8 percent. The city wants to stay below a 15 percent threshold for this third indicator. “That is so good to see,” de Blasio said. “Every day we’re in single digits.”

So far there have been 196,623 coronavirus cases in the city, with 51,287 patents hospitalized since the outbreak began.

There have been 16,565 confirmed deaths and 4,749 “probable” deaths for a combined death toll of 21,314.

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