ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his daily briefing amid the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death Tuesday from New York Medical College in Valhalla.
Tuesday marked 101 days since New York state’s first confirmed cases of COVID-19, and as of Monday, all regions were under phase one or phase two of the state’s reopening guidelines.
“If you told me 100 days ago we’d be reopening, I’d say that would be the best case scenario,” Gov. Cuomo said.
In the aftermath of the civil unrest, the governor announced new reform measures at the state level that were close to being signed into law, including:
“It’s time for New York to be the state that leads,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That’s what New York state does. We’re going to pass the most aggressive reforms in the country. The time has come for dramatic action and we’re doing it, right now.
“I’ll sign these bills as soon as I can, which should be this week,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The governor was critical of President Donald Trump’s Tuesday tweet about the 75-year-old man who was injured after being shoved by Buffalo police this past weekend.
“What does he do? He pours gasoline on the fire,” Gov Cuomo said of President Trump. “If he ever feels a moment of decency, he should apologize for that tweet.”
The governor said that it’s great that the state is reopening in all regions, but he reiterated the need to remain smart, disciplined, and diligent.
“We’re in a new phase, we’re feeling good, we’ve done great, but we have to stay smart because reopening resets the whole game,” Gov. Cuomo said. “When you reopen and people start coming out, in some ways you go right back to day one and we know as a fact that reopen has very often caused problems.”
The governor says the new data to watch for reopening is daily test results by region. He also announced the creation of a new state dashboard, which will focus on the day to day spread of the virus and the number of positive tests each day, per region:
“This is the new dashboard, this is the new focus,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re all concerned about the same thing is there increasing spikes and this is going to show us. The numbers are relatively small, so day-to-day you’ll see some up and down, that shouldn’t set off any alarm bells.
“Just because you reopen does not mean you will have a spike, but if you are not smart, you can have a spike,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The governor explained that state police reforms are a result of nationwide inertia in the aftermath of Mr. Floyd’s death.
“There’s been inertia nationwide, now in this moment, I’m less interested in these knee-jerk political responses in the moment,” Gov. Cuomo said. “This has got to be a fundamental rethinking. This is 30, 40 years of police tactics and criminal justice policy that hasn’t worked.
“This has got to be thoughtful, and smart and deep,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Don’t lose the moment and the opportunity of the moment with cursory public relations reforms.
“You have to re-imagine the police department on a fundamental level,” Gov. Cuomo said. “How did we get here? The system just evolved, but it doesn’t work. It’s not even a question of who’s right or who’s wrong. They’re both right because if it doesn’t work for both, it doesn’t work for either.”
Friday, marks two weeks since Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region entered phase two and local leaders are hopeful the area can begin phase three. Phase three includes indoor seating at restaurants and personal care services such as nail salons, diet and weight reducing centers, and full services at hair salons.
Locally, there have been 239 COVID-19 deaths and 3,110 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County.