Cuomo: Colleges must go to 2 weeks of remote learning if 100 cases or 5% test positive, 20th day infection rate below 1%

State News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with media on Thursday to give an update on New York State’s coronavirus response efforts.

Thursday marked the 180th day since the coronavirus arrived in New York and the governor says the data continues to trend in the right direction statewide.

Across New York, about 83,437 COVID-19 tests were conducted Wednesday, with 791 testing positive — making an infection rate of .95%. It was the 20th straight day of an infection rate less than 1%. The governor said four New Yorkers died Wednesday and 490 New Yorkers remain hospitalized with the virus.

Each region’s percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

Capital Region1.4%0.5%1.1%
Central New York0.8%0.6%1.4%
Finger Lakes0.5%0.5%0.6%
Long Island1.1%0.9%0.6%
Mohawk Valley0.8%0.2%0.4%
New York City0.8%0.9%0.9%
North Country0.5%0.6%1.2%
Southern Tier0.3%0.3%0.3%
Western New York1.8%1.4%2.0%
Graph provided by the Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

“Western NY we have a caution flag out and were going to fly it a littler higher today. The infection rate in western NY is 2%. That’s not good news and were going to deploy a swat team from the Department of Health that are going to do additional testing in eight sites, three in the city of Buffalo,” Cuomo said.

These testing sites will offer same day results. The governor also revealed a new plan as colleges being to reopen.

MORE | Nazareth College confirms 3 COVID-19 cases

“Were seeing around the countries situations where colleges reopening and then have an outbreak of cases we are going to set a threshold that says if a college has 100 cases or a number of cases equal to 5% of their population or more, whichever is less they must go to remote learning for 2 weeks at which time we will reassess the situation.”

Positive cases will include students, faculty, and staff. Students who live on campus will be allowed to stay on campus if their college or university hits the threshold to convert to remote learning.

In terms of high school sports, following his decision on Monday where Cuomo announced medium to low risk sports can begin play on September 21, the governor said schools don’t have to begin, but can if the district feels it is safe.

“That does not mean that high school sports must commence, it means it can commence, can not must. It’s up to the individual school district to determine if they wanna go ahead with the sports program. “

Echoing his thoughts from Wednesday’s conference call, the governor questioned the CDC’s new guidelines which say that if someone is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, they don’t need to get tested.

The CDC changed the recommendations on its website Monday in a surprise move.

The site now says: “If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.”

“Shame on the people of the CDC,” Gov. Cuomo said on Wednesday. “This will not look well in the scope of the history. What plausible rationale would say, ‘if you’re in close contact with a person who has COVID, you don’t need a test.’”

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