NY inmates making hand sanitizer to meet coronavirus demand
The hand sanitizer will be made at Great Meadow Correctional Facility; it will be given to schools, state agencies and other government offices for free
By Teri Weaver
Syracuse Media Group
NEW YORK — New York’s prisoners are going to ramp up production of state-manufactured hand sanitizer, which will be distributed to schools, state agencies and other government offices, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today.
The effort comes as New York has 142 confirmed cases of coronavirus, Cuomo said at today’s 11 a.m. briefing. All but two of those cases are in the New York City and Long Island areas. Two of the 142 cases are in Saratoga County.
Cuomo also announced the beginning of a protocol to determine how to react if a school student, teacher or staff member tests positive. Cuomo said if a school student contracts COVID-19, that school will automatically close for 24 hours. That will allow health and education officials to assess what to do next, he said.
And the governor said he plans to send new legislation to state lawmakers later today to speed up his effort to require certain employers to provide paid sick leave for workers. This new legislation would specifically protect those who are required to stay home from work because they are being isolated or quarantined as a result of the novel coronavirus, according to Cuomo.
Cuomo had proposed a paid sick leave program as part of his 2021 budget, which is still being negotiated with lawmakers. Today, Cuomo said he plans to carve out that portion of the budget as a stand-alone bill as a way to help workers who may contract the virus.
In January, he proposed that businesses with five to 99 employees must provide employees at least five days of job-protected paid sick leave per year. Larger businesses would provide at least seven days of paid sick leave per year. And smaller businesses, with four or fewer employees, would guarantee five days of job-protected unpaid sick leave to workers.
The hand sanitizer will be made at Great Meadow Correctional Facility as part of the prison system’s Corcraft program. Through Corcraft, the state produces dozens of products, from soap to license plates to office furniture. It costs the state $6 to make a gallon of hand sanitizer, Cuomo said.
The state plans to distribute it to other government offices and schools for no charge. Currently, prisoners make about 100,000 gallons a week. Cuomo said plans are to ramp up that production.
Local governments seeking to obtain additional stocks of hand sanitizer should work with their county’s emergency manager and local health department to submit requests directly into NY Responds, the state’s web-based system which enables both local governments and state agencies to submit and share vital emergency-related information and resource requests.
Here’s the current count of confirmed cases in New York, as of midday today:
- Westchester: 98 (16 new cases)
- New York City: 19 (7 new cases)
- Nassau: 17 (12 new cases)
- Rockland: 4 (2 new cases)
- Saratoga: 2
- Suffolk: 1
- Ulster: 1
©2020 Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.
We’re hearing from local governments that acquiring hand sanitizer has been a real problem.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 9, 2020
NYS will immediately begin producing hand sanitizer ourselves — 100,000 gallons per week. We'll provide it to government agencies, schools, the MTA, prisons, & others. #COVID19
Reminder: Price gouging is ILLEGAL.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 8, 2020
New York has zero tolerance for price gouging connected to #Coronavirus and NYDOS is investigating reports of unfair price increases on products like cleaning supplies & hand sanitizer.
To report suspected price gouging, call 1-800-697-1220.