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Gov. Cuomo in Rochester: NY PAUSE expires May 15, reopening up to regions, state guidelines

Coronavirus

CHILI, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in the Rochester region Monday to give his daily COVID-19 update, along with reopening guidelines.

During the governor’s briefing, from the Wegmans Conference Center in Chili, it was announced that 226 New Yorkers died Sunday from COVID-19, putting New York’s statewide death toll over 19,000 from the virus.

The governor also announced that when NY PAUSE restrictions expire on May 15, the reopening process will be up to the local regions, but those areas will still have to meet the criteria of the reopening guidelines put forth by the state.

The Finger Lakes region has met five out of seven state requirements to begin reopening. The region still needs to increase testing availability and contact tracers.

Here are the reopening guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control:

  1. Regions must have at least 14 days of decline in the total hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average.
  2. In regions with few COVID cases, cannon exceed 15 new total cases for 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average.
  3. In order to monitor the potential spread of infection in a region, a region must have fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per 100,000 residents per day.
  4. Regions must have at least 30% total hospital and ICU beds available.
  5. Hospitals must have at least 90 days of PPE stockpiled.
  6. According to Dr. Birx, 30 tests must be available for every 1,000 residents per month.
  7. Regions must have a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents and additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in the region.
  8. Open businesses in phases.
  9. Businesses must have new safety precautions.
  10. Regional control rooms to monitor the rate of infection.

According to the governor’s office, the Rochester and Finger Lakes region is considered a “low risk region.”

After a region meets all the requirements, they can begin phase one of reopening. This includes reopening of businesses such as construction, manufacturing, and select retail with curbside pickup. The second phase includes professional services, retail, administrative support, and real estate. The third phase is food services and restaurants and the fourth phase includes arts, entertainment, recreation, and education.

The governor said the phased approach is necessary so regions don’t reopen and then have to close up again due to another spread. The decision to start a new phase will be discussed every two weeks after a region begins un-pausing.

Before reopening, businesses will also have to develop plans to keep employees and customers safe.

On people not wearing masks while in public, the governor said he would support local governments enforcing the rules with penalties.

“I think local government should enforce it and there should be a penalty,” Gov. Cuomo said. “You could kill somebody. You could literally kill somebody.”

A continuing trend; hospitalizations, intubations, and new cases are down across the state, but the descent isn’t as rapid as the ascent was.

“Unfortunately the decline from the mountain is not as steep as the incline was,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Even as the spread of the virus slows, the governor urges caution in regards to reopening.

“Reopening is more difficult than closing down,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It was a blunt operation and one that was done all across the country. When you go to restart and reopen, now knowing what they know, it’s more nuance and you have to be more careful.

“You reopen too soon, or you reopen unintelligently, and you can then have an immediate backlash,” Gov. Cuomo said. “And that’s not speculation, that is looking at other countries and what is happening around the world.”

The governor says reopening will be determined by the infection rates.

“Look at the data look, at the measurements, look at the science and follow the facts,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Move forward, measuring what you can and what you know and then be prepared to adjust. Reopen business, do it in phases, and watch that rate of transmission. If it gets over 1.1 stop everything immediately.”

Reiterating sentiments from past briefings, the governor says the state will open regionally, and not as entire state.

“If upstate has to wait for downstate to be ready to be open, they’re going to be waiting a long time,” Gov. Cuomo said. “To open a region, that region has to have the testing capacity of 30 per 1,000,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The governor said New York has now conducted more than 1 million tests.

“We’re testing more than any other state in the nation,” Gov. Cuomo said. “And as a state, we’re testing more than any other country in the world, per capita.”

Cuomo said Sunday the New York State Department of Health will now require every hospital in the state to have a 90-day stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment moving forward. 

Cuomo also announced a coalition with New York and six other states in the region to work together to buy essential supplies. 

MORE | COVID-19 county by county: Keeping track of local cases throughout the region

Locally, there have been 127 COVID-19 related deaths in Monroe County and 1,537 confirmed cases. Twenty-two of the 105 patients hospitalized are in the ICU on ventilators. The DPH said there have been 882 total who have recovered from isolation to date.

Full press briefing:

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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