Upstate Republicans Push Back On Cuomo’s Ventilator Order

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READING, PA (WSKG) – On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order giving the state authority to require hospitals to give up medical supplies to support those hardest hit with COVID-19 patients, but the move isn’t sitting well with some upstate representatives.

The move would allow the state to send the National Guard to collect ventilators and other medical supplies, and transport it to other hospitals.

Congressman Tom Reed (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“We could have people dying because there are no ventilators,” Cuomo said. “But there are hospitals in other parts of the state that have ventilators that they’re not using.”

The move has sparked outrage, especially among upstate Republicans given that most of the hardest hit hospitals are downstate.

“This is reckless,” said NY-23rd District Congressman Tom Reed, a Republican. “This is extremely dangerous and for the Governor to do this is very concerning and I would ask him to please reconsider.”

Reed said he wasn’t warned about the measure prior to the Governor’s press conference.

Other local Republican state legislators criticizing the move include Assemblyman Chris Friend, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Senator Fred Akshar, and Senator Pam Helming.

Cuomo’s office snapped back at the criticism.

“Ventilators literally save lives. They will be returned or reimbursed to those hospitals,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi. “Moreover, when the pandemic wave hits upstate New York, the Governor will ask downstate hospitals for similar help.”

“We are not upstate or downstate we are one state and we act that way,” Azzopardi added.

NY-22nd District Congressman Anthony Brindisi, a Democrat, didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.