New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo arranged for his family members — including CNN anchor Chris Cuomo — and top administration officials to receive special access to coronavirus testing in the early days of the pandemic, according to multiple reports.
Members of Cuomo’s family — including the governor’s mother, Matilda Cuomo, his brother, and at least one of his sisters — were tested by top health department officials at the beginning of the pandemic when tests were difficult to obtain, sources told the Albany Times-Union.
The tests were often conducted in private homes, and Cuomo also made sure his family members received their test results within one or two days.
Top New York Department of Health doctor Eleanor Adams was reportedly one of the health officials who assisted Cuomo.
She visited Chris Cuomo’s home in the Hamptons to collect samples from members of his family after he announced he had contracted the coronavirus.
Other “well-connected figures,” known as “specials” or “VIPs,” according to the Washington Post, also received special testing.
These high profile figures included the executive director fo the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Rick Cotton, and Cotton’s wife, as well as the head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Patrick Foye, and Foye’s wife.
After health officials conducted the tests, state troopers would rush the tests to the Wadsworth Center, a state public health lab in Albany, where they were immediately processed.
Employees at the Wadsworth Center were sometimes asked to stay late after their shifts to process the results of Cuomo’s “VIPs.”
The governor’s spokesperson, Rich Azzopardi, dismissed the reports as “insincere efforts to rewrite the past.”
“In the early days of this pandemic, when there was a heavy emphasis on contact tracing, we were absolutely going above and beyond to get people testing — including in some instances going to people’s homes, and door-to-door in places like New Rochelle — to take samples from those believed to have been exposed to COVID in order to identify cases and prevent additional ones,” Azzopardi said in a statement. “Among those we assisted were members of the general public, including legislators, reporters, state workers and their families who feared they had contracted the virus and had the capability to further spread it.”
New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin argued this report is just the latest scandal that proves Cuomo should resign.
“This latest report of prioritizing his family members for COVID testing at private residences conducted by state Health Department officials and having their tests moved to the front of the line at Wadsworth adds to a very long list of reasons why Cuomo’s Gotta Go,” Zeldin said in a statement.