Cuomo outlines criteria that NY regions must meet to start reopening when PAUSE order ends
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday outlined the criteria that regions across the state must meet before they can begin reopening when his statewide "NYS On Pause" order ends on May 15.
The governor said it includes guidelines on reopening from the CDC, as well as other measures - making sure that health care systems have a 90-day supply of PPE and are ready for a potential surge in cases, having businesses submit plans to keep workers and customers safe, having contract tracers in place for the region's population and more.
Cuomo said it's important to "chart a course where we can correct" based on data, in case there's another surge in cases.
He displayed a graphic showing where all of New York's regions currently stand in the criteria for reopening. None of the regions currently meet all of the points, the chart showed.
Cuomo said there's "real substantive work" that has to be done before May 15 -- and he urged regional leaders to start that work immediately so they can be in a place to consider reopening by that time.
-Cuomo was joined by members of the Wegmans corporation, and he thanked them for letting the state perform antibody testing in their supermarkets.
-"Now we're on the other side of the mountain," Cuomo says on being past the peak in hospitalizations, but says the decline has not been as steep as the incline.
-Net intubations are also, Cuomo says. New COVID diagnoses are also declining - so new cases coming in the door are declining, after plateauing for several days. But Cuomo notes that the data from Sunday might be lower and says to take it "with a grain of salt."
-Another 226 New Yorkers lost their lives in the past 24 hours due to the novel coronavirus.
-On "learning the lessons of what happened," Cuomo notes that a CDC report indicates that the strain of the virus that came to the Northeast came from Europe, while the early focus/testing/travel bans focused on travelers from China. The CDC report was based on virus sequencing.
-Also on the topic of "learning lessons," Cuomo discussed other regions that he says "reopened too soon" and saw another surge in cases, an "immediate backlash."
-The governor notes that Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that we "could be in for" a bad fall or bad winter with more cases surging.
-"The truth is that nobody knows what happens next and when it happens," Cuomo says.
-Cuomo says it's important to "chart a course where we can correct" based on data, not emotions.
-Cuomo says we need to follow a quantifiable formula that includes the percentage and rate of hospitalizations, plus diagnostic testing rates, contact tracing, the rate of infection.
-On reopening regionally, Cuomo says we need to make sure every region has the capacity to handle any potential surge in cases. Every hospital must have a 90 days supply of PPE. "We cannot have another mad scramble... because the hospitals don't have the necessary stockpile," he says.
-Cuomo says regions must have a baseline of 30 contact racers for every 100,000 residents. He notes that former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been helpful in setting this up. The tracers will help identify who had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID. Cuomo says it's never been done before, and that all "has to be set up." Once that's done, he says we can begin talking about reopening businesses.
-Businesses that are "most essential and pose the lowest risk" will be reopened first. He outlined what business categories fall into different phases of reopening.
-Businesses need to come up with ways to reconfigure their workplaces and their processes to reopen safely, Cuomo says.
-Cuomo says on reopening that some regions are in better shape and others have work to do to get to a place where they can start thinking about reopening. He says the data shows were regions around the state currently stand.
-May 15 is when the current statewide PAUSE order expires. Cuomo says there is "real substantive government work to be done" before then to get to a place where regions can start to reopen in phases. But he says they must meet all the criteria to do so -- and he says they must start getting there now, not on May 15 -- including having health care systems prepared, etc.
-On unemployment, Secretary to Governor Melissa De Rosa said that the No. 1 reason people's unemployment claims say "Pending" on the website is because they are not going back into the website to certify their claim. They must do this every week by Saturday to certify/confirm they are still unemployed and therefore, able to claim the benefits. She said that people can call 1-888-581-5812 to discuss unemployment insurance, or 1-833-324-0366 for pandemic unemployment information.
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