Coronavirus News: Area governors name appointees for multi-state COVID-19 council

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Area governors Sunday announced their appointees to the multi-state council's efforts in restoring the economy and getting people back to work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Delaware Governor John Carney, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker appointees included one health expert, one economic development expert and the respective Chief of Staff from each state:

New Jersey
- George Helmy, Chief of Staff to the Governor
- Dr. Richard Besser, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Jeh Johnson, Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama

New York
- Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor
- Robert Mujica, Director of NYS Division of the Budget
- Michael Dowling, President and CEO, Northwell Health

Connecticut
- Indra Nooyi, Co-chair of the nonprofit organization AdvanceCT and former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
- Dr. Albert Ko, Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and department chair at the Yale School of Public Health
- Paul Mounds, Jr., Chief of Staff in the Office of the Governor

Pennsylvania
- Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, Department of Health
- Secretary Dennis Davin, Department of Community and Economic Development
- Michael Brunelle, COS, Office of the Governor

Delaware
- Sheila Grant, Chief of Staff, Office of Governor John Carney
- Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services
- Kurt Foreman, President and CEO, Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Rhode Island
- Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health
- Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island Commerce Secretary
- David Ortiz, Chief of Staff to the Governor

Massachusetts
- Kristen Lepore, Chief of Staff
- Michael Kennealy, Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
- Lauren Peters, Undersecretary at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Governor Murphy said, "No one has given more thought or is more eager to restart our economy than I am, but if we don't get the sequencing right, we put more lives at risk. The only path to a sustainable economic recovery is through a strong healthcare recovery. Then, and only then, do we position ourselves to fully ignite our economy and get the residents of our state back to work while minimizing the danger of this disease. A coordinated, regional approach, informed by a multi-state council of experts, will help us avoid a major setback with potentially disastrous consequences. I look forward to the day when the facts on the ground allow us to ease our restrictions and move our regional economy forward."

Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "We have been collaborating closely with our neighboring states to combat this pandemic through a uniform approach to social distancing and density reduction and it has been working well. Now it is time to start opening the valve slowly and carefully while watching the infection rate meter so we don't trigger a second wave of new infections. This is not a light switch that we can just flick on and everything goes back to normal - we have to come up with a smart, consistent strategy to restart the systems we shut down and get people back to work, and to the extent possible we want to do that through a regional approach because we are a regional economy. New York is partnering with these five states to create a multi-state council that will come up with a framework based on science and data to gradually ease the stay at home restrictions and get our economy back up and running."

Governor Ned Lamont said, "One thing that's undeniable is that this virus does not stop at the border of any county, state, or country, but the impact is the same when it comes to our respective economies and healthcare systems. Working as a regional coalition to make the right decisions will lead to the best public health results for all of our residents. We must solve these problems together."

Governor Tom Wolf said, "Our highest priority remains protecting the health and safety of Pennsylvanians. While my administration continues to take critical steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, I also recognize that we must look ahead and take a measured, careful approach to prepare for the future while ensuring that we don't undo all of our efforts. Pennsylvania will work collaboratively with our partners both in state and in surrounding states to develop a comprehensive strategy that first focuses on health but also addresses the need to gradually restore our economy."

Governor John Carney said, "We still have a situation in Delaware that is getting worse. Infections of COVID-19 and hospitalizations are rising. Delawareans should stay home. Don't go out in public unnecessarily. Don't visit Delaware unless you need to see a doctor, or care for a family member. You'll only increase everyone's risk. At the same time, we need to look forward. We need a consistent approach for moving our states out of this crisis, when that day comes. I'm grateful for the partnership of my fellow Governors in the region. They are all working around-the-clock to prevent surges in COVID-19 cases, protect hospital capacity for the most critically-ill patients, and save lives. We'll get through this by working together."

Governor Gina Raimondo said, "States are taking the lead as we fight to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives. I'm proud of the steps we've taken, and I'm constantly thinking about what it will take to safely reopen our economy. But we know that this virus does not recognize borders, and it's clear we need a strong, coordinated regional approach to avoid a second wave of this disease. I'm grateful to my fellow governors for their leadership during this crisis and I'm confident that this new partnership will support our efforts to get Rhode Islanders -- and all Americans -- back to work safely."

Governor Charlie Baker said, "The Baker-Polito Administration looks forward to participating in discussions with neighboring states and experts regarding the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Massachusetts also remains focused on efforts to expand testing, ensure hospital capacity and provide the necessary PPE to those on the front lines to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities."

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