Mayor Johnson, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announce partnership to combat COVID-19 in Savannah

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Savannah Mayor Van Johnson during a news conference on...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Savannah Mayor Van Johnson during a news conference on Monday in Savannah.(WTOC)
Updated: Jul. 20, 2020 at 5:47 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah has a new partner in the fight against COVID-19; the state of New York.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo offered to help and brought experts with him to the Hostess City on Monday.

Gov. Cuomo spoke candidly about the pandemic saying we can turn these numbers around if we wear the masks as recommended by the IHME, one of the leading models for tracking COVID-19 that the White House uses.

Mayor Johnson said during Monday’s news conference that the round table discussion they had was about testing, contact tracing and training.

It’s the expertise, methodology and resources New York’s leader said they’re bringing to the table to help Savannah battle COVID-19. Governor Cuomo said in addition to thousands of pieces of PPE, he’s connecting Savannah with health care workers with SOMOS Community Care.

“Love is an action word,” said Mayor Johnson. “You can tell folks you love them all day long, so we’re looking at ‘New York loves Savannah.‘” Mayor Johnson added, “We’re just so appreciative of showing and practicing what you preach.”

Governor Cuomo listed the supplies the City of Savannah would receive through the partnership. They include:

  • 124,000 face masks
  • 7,500 test kits
  • 7,500 gowns
  • 1,200 gallons of hand sanitizer
  • 7,500 N95 masks
  • 7,500 face shields

“We are planning on opening two sites, two testing sites with the city, and those are underway,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Those will be at Kingdom Life Christian Fellowship on Montgomery Cross Road, and Temple of Glory Community Church on Stiles Avenue. Two areas identified as COVID-19 hotspots by the City of Savannah.

“When we join forces with churches, right, with leaders in the community, religious leaders, it’s a very powerful statement. So, the idea that we are collaborating with churches here in Savannah I think is a cultural statement that is incredibly important,” SOMOS U.S. co-founder Henry Munoz said.

#WATCH: Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York are announcing a partnership to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Posted by WTOC-TV on Monday, July 20, 2020

Leading the two testing sites, which start Tuesday and will remain open until they’re no longer needed will be SOMOS Dr. Luisa Perez.

“We have the ability to go in many places where we can be pulled and help just like everybody has helped New York in the past. We feel the sense of responsibility because we know and we handle the data and know more or less what the protocols are to be able to share so we can all survive and take care of this pandemic,” Dr. Perez said.

The SOMOS leaders say the data gathered at the testing sites will be shared with the Coastal Health District. They say blood test turnaround will be about two days, five to seven for the nasal swab.

Governor Cuomo also said they’ll be sharing software that helps train contract tracers in the community, a big part he says in the battle against COVID-19.

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