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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s family continued to get special access to rapid COVID-19 testing until at least April — after the politician came under fire for pulling the same move during the early days of the pandemic, according to a report Wednesday.
One of the governor’s daughters, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, and her boyfriend, Tellef Lundevall, submitted priority samples to a state-run site in Albany on April 3, according to the New York Times.
The VIP samples — known in the Health Department as “specials” — were rushed to the state’s premier lab, Wadsworth Center, and processed within hours, the paper reported.
The couple received the special treatment because they were going to see the Cuomo on Easter weekend and there was nobody around to do on-site testing, the Governor’s office told The Post.
But high-priority testing status at state labs is supposed to be meant for urgent cases — including ones linked to possible outbreaks — not people who are simply well-connected or influential, the paper reported.
The move came just days after news broke that Cuomo directed members of his family and bigwigs with ties to his administration get priority COVID-19 testing last spring, back when the virus was raging and the tests were hard to get.
That’s one reason Health Department workers were alarmed by the request to rush tests for Cuomo’s daughter and her boyfriend, according to the paper. Others at the state-run site called it frustrating, considering testing is now widely available in the state, according to the paper.
Cuomo’s visitors are routinely tested on a portable rapid test machine at the Capitol or the governor’s mansion— but nobody was around to operate them because it was a holiday weekend, the governor’s office told The Post.
Elkan Abramowitz, a private lawyer who is representing Cuomo, called use of the priority label “proper” protocol.
“They were going to come in contact with the governor,” said Abramowitz told the Times.
“It would be a proper exercise of discretion to give priority testing to anybody who came in contact with the governor,” Mr. Abramowitz said.
Cuomo and his CNN anchor brother, Chris Cuomo, along with one of their sisters and their mom, Matilda Cuomo, reportedly got priority COVID-19 tests several times during the early days of the pandemic, it was revealed in March
The accusations reportedly led Attorney General Letitia James to last month call on New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics to investigate the possible abuse of testing protocol — and has since prompted a probe by federal prosecutors.
Giorgio DeRosa, a prominent Albany lobbyist and the father of the governor’s most senior aide, Melissa DeRosa, also received the special rapid testing in March 2020, according to the Times report — an allegation that had not been previously reported.
An official from Cuomo’s office told The Post that, in DeRosa’s case, the priority testing was necessary because he interacted with someone who days later was hospitalized and later died from COVID-19.
The governor’s office has acknowledged that Cuomo and his family got priority access to testing during the early weeks of the pandemic.
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