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“It’s a very fact-based, data-driven reopening plan for regions that would keep them safe and allow the economy to reopen in phases,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Syracuse.
The state is following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that require local and state officials to show a continual decline in Covid-19 hospitalizations over two weeks before they can think about reopening nonessential businesses, he said. If new infections continue to fall, Cuomo said some parts of the state will have met the CDC guidelines by May 15, but “not New York City, not downstate, unless a miracle happens.”
Cuomo said manufacturing and construction jobs will be the first businesses to return because they “can adopt to the new normal in terms of their employees, in terms of the places of business and in terms of the processes that they put in place.”
Businesses that do reopen will need to guarantee that their employees and customers maintain adequate social distancing guidelines, they’ll have to frequently test employees, maintain strict cleaning standards and follow continuous tracing and reporting protocols, among other precautions.
“That’s all part of the new normal, and businesses are going to have to do that if they want to reopen,” he said.
New York State
“The flu season takes up hospital capacity. The flu season takes up testing capacity,” Cuomo said.
He said the state also needs to build out a massive testing system, running at least 30 Covid-19 tests per 1,000 people every month, as recommended by White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Deborah Birx.
Local regions will need to build isolation facilities for infected patients, he said. They’ll also need to hire thousands of so-called contact tracers to trace and isolate contacts of confirmed Covid-19 patients. Cuomo said the state will need at least 30 contact tracers per 100,000 people.
Testing will be prioritized for people who are symptomatic, people who came into contact with a symptomatic person and frequent tests of front-line, essential workers, he said. The state is also working toward constructing enough testing sites across the state.
“Testing won’t work if it’s impossible to get. Testing won’t work if it’s too hard to get,” Cuomo said.
Local areas will need to build regional control rooms that monitor “all of those metrics, you’re monitoring hospital capacity, the rate of infection, the PPE burn rate, how businesses are complying and it has an emergency switch that we can throw if any one of those is problematic,” he said.
“Remember, we have been to Hell and back over the last 60 days,” he said. “We have to remain vigilant. This is not over.”
There were 335 deaths from the disease reported in New York on Monday, down slightly from Sunday which saw 337 deaths, and significantly down from roughly 800 daily deaths just two weeks ago. Cuomo lamented that the number of deaths was “basically reducing but not at a tremendous rate.”
This is developing news. Please check back for updates.