SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Sen. Chuck Schumer was scheduled to conclude his annual tour of all 62 counties in New York state Sunday, marking the 23rd year in a row the Democrat has visited all corners of the state.
Schumer said he was winding up the year-long tour with trips to Schenectady and Wyoming counties on Sunday. He called it the most consequential tour of his career as people continue to suffer from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour also was Schumer’s first as U.S. Senate majority leader.
Schumer said while COVID-19 relief and other legislation he supported has brought billions of dollars to New York residents, economic concerns remain paramount.
“Last year, no one knew what the heck was going to happen, and the whole thrust was vaccines and getting them out,” he said. “This year it was more about businesses getting help to get them back on their feet. Last year was, ‘Throw us a life preserver so we don’t drown.’ This year it’s, ‘Help us so we can keep going.’”
In a visit to Wyoming County Community Hospital in Warsaw Sunday, Schumer launched a new two-part plan to help hospitals in the region get the funding they need to adequately combat this latest wave.
This comes as Wyoming County health officials declared a statre of emergency last week.
Schumer is calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to take into account the recent spike in COVID cases in the county when it comes to sending a new round of funding to hospitals through the American Rescue Plan.
The second part of his plan is advocating HHS to release the newest round of funding sooner rather than later so hospitals in Western New York get the funding they need as infection rates continue to climb.
Schumer says as of the latest COVID data released on Friday, both Wyoming and Orleans counties are tied with the highest daily average number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 at 103. The next highest county is Genesee at 100.
Currently Western New York and the Finger Lakes have the highest infection rates in the state.