Cuomo Focuses on Quelling Virus Hot Spots in N.Y.C. Before Reopening

Cuomo Focuses on Quelling Virus Hot Spots in N.Y.C. Before Reopening

As New York City looks toward reopening on June 8, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Saturday that state officials were focusing on controlling hot spots in the city and preparing its hospitals to deal with a potential second spike.

Since late March, the city has been all but paralyzed under the devastating weight of the outbreak, which has forced thousands of businesses to shutter and almost 900,000 people to lose their jobs.

Under Phase 1 of reopening, retail stores will be allowed to open for curbside or in-store pickup and nonessential construction and manufacturing can resume, sending as many as 400,000 people back to work.

In the coming week, officials will focus on ensuring the city’s 11 public hospitals and more than 100 private hospitals have “surge and flex” capacity to deal with a potential uptick in new virus patients, Mr. Cuomo said on Saturday.

“We want to make sure we have that refined over the next week, because if we have a problem we need all these hospitals to work together,” Mr. Cuomo said during a news conference in the Bronx.

Mr. Cuomo said officials will also target the 10 ZIP codes in the city with the highest infection rates, distributing masks and hand sanitizers and opening an additional testing site in each ZIP code.

Those 10 hardest-hit neighborhoods are mostly in the Bronx and Brooklyn, and are predominantly low-income and minority communities. The infection rate in the 10457 ZIP code in the Bronx, for example, was 50 percent, compared to 19.9 percent for the city as a whole.

In mid-May, other parts of the state began to reopen after meeting seven public-health benchmarks set by the governor. New York City is the only region that has not met those criteria. The city does not have enough hospital beds available or contact tracers in place to begin Phase 1, but Mr. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have said they expect the city to meet the benchmarks by June 8.

Still, they have cautioned that New Yorkers needed to continue taking precautions to keep the virus in check. More than 5,000 people in New York City tested positive for the virus last week — a steep drop from early April, when 40,000 people a week were testing positive, but still a significant number.

On Saturday, Mr. Cuomo also signed a bill to give death benefits to the family members of public employees who died because of the coronavirus. “It is the least that we can do,” he said.

On Saturday, Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey announced 113 new virus-related deaths, bringing the state’s toll to 11,634. It was 18 fewer deaths than the state reported the previous day.

He also reported 910 new confirmed positive cases in posts on social media, pushing the total to 159,608 cases in the state.

The new figures came as the state is preparing to fully reopen child care services and some summer programs for children to begin operating over the next several weeks.

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