Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is asking upstate hospitals to loan 20% of their unused ventilators to downstate hospitals, Rich Azzopardi, senior advisor to the governor, said in a statement Friday afternoon.

In the statement, Azzopardi stressed the need for all hospitals to work together.

"We are not upstate or downstate,” he said. “We are one state and we act that way."

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Azzopardi’s statement was issued about two hours after a coalition of New York lawmakers issued a strong statement opposing the governor’s executive order to take ventilators and personal protective equipment from hospitals that do not need immediately them and distribute them to hospitals with immediate needs.

The statement came from 14 lawmakers, including Rep. Tom Reed and state Sen. George Borrello who represent the Greater Olean area.

Azzopardi said the governor will ask downstate hospitals for similar help when the pandemic wave hits upstate New York.

“While the pandemic is primarily in downstate New York now, it is projected to peak and reduce in downstate and then increase in upstate,” he said. “It is essential that we all help each other.

"Ventilators literally save lives," Azzopardi said. "They will be returned or reimbursed to those hospitals.”

After Azzopardi's statement, Reed issued the following:

"Cases and deaths are increasing today in Western New York. Multiple intubations are occurring regularly, We have to protect all New Yorkers, including upstate.The governor said he was sending the National Guard to take our ventilators and PPE by force.That doesn’t sound like a request or working together. That sounds like force. Once we lose these ventilators they are never coming back.”

For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit  TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.

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