Cuomo Under Fire

Ex-DOH Doc Says Cuomo Barred Close Work With NYC, Local Health Teams at COVID Peak

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A former top state Department of Health official testified that former Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office barred the agency from working closely with the New York City Health Department and other public health officials during the peak of the pandemic.

Dr. Elizabeth Dufort said the former governor of New York prohibited her and her colleagues from communicating with local health departments when they needed information the most.

The doctor may be recognizable to many as the doctor who swabbed Cuomo for COVID at a photo opportunity in May 2020. She said she felt harassed when the governor commented on her appearance.

"You make that gown look good," Cuomo told Dufont with cameras rolling.

Dufort told investigators Cuomo's comment "would not likely be said to an accomplished male physician," according to transcripts from the attorney general's investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

A top epidemiologist in the state's DOH, Dufort is named in the report only as State Entity Employee #2.

Before resigning amid numerous allegations of sexual harassment, Cuomo was applauded as the daily purveyor of information to New Yorkers.

In her testimony, Dufort said the governor's office demanded all test results be sent to them first.

"I have concerns that lab results were not being reported to the local health departments or to the doctors in the optimal timely fashion as what should happen," she told investigators.

She also told investigators, "We were not allowed to collaborate with our peers in the local health departments and New York City Department of Health," and added that "there was a desire for messaging to come from the governor, not multiple people as it normally happens in an outbreak."

Mayor Bill de Blasio's spokesperson told News 4 that Cuomo put his own interest ahead of the health of millions.

A spokesperson for the former governor did not return a request for comment Friday.

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