Governor Andrew Cuomo expects several regions of New York State to be prepared to resume construction, manufacturing and agricultural businesses on Friday, per their compliance with a set of federal guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Cuomo's New York PAUSE executive order is set to expire May 15, though the expiration won't affect the entire state. Parts of New York will be empowered to reopen, assuming they meet seven key metrics regarding their number of coronavirus cases relative to the capacity of regional hospitals to handle an influx of COVID-19 patients.
The state hopes a gradual reopening will eliminate the possibility of another sudden economic shutdown. As testing and the state's COVID tracing operation are brought to scale, regions will be able to isolate and address COVID hotspots, putting a theoretical ceiling on the risk of another extensive outbreak.
The governor said Monday during a briefing from Rochester Regional Health that both the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions meet the Phase 1 reopening requirements. A few other regions are likely to meet those requirements by Friday.
"We have abated the worst by what we've done and now we can intelligently turn towards reopening," he said of the state's efforts to reduce COVID hospitalizations. "Regions all across the state should start to prepare for it."
COVID-19 metrics from the state continue to trend downward. Net hospitalizations, ICU admissions, intubations and deaths are all down. Cuomo reported that there were 161 new COVID-related deaths on May 10, about where the state was in mid-March, before the onset of what the he called "the abyss of the COVID virus."
Acknowledging the eagerness to reopen, Cuomo said New York has the benefit of learning from what has worked and not worked in terms of reopening in other places around the globe. Density control and patience are paramount.
All the data suggests that controlling the novel coronavirus comes down to controlling density, until there is a vaccine or reliable medical treatment.
Cuomo held up recent outbreaks at meat processing facilities as proof, noting that no community is safe unless they observe calls for social distancing and other precautions.
A recent Associate Press analysis found that national coronavirus numbers outside of New York continue to rise, as many states reopen without meeting CDC guidelines.
Regular New Yorkers changed the trajectory of the pandemic in the state with their actions.
"We would have made the situation in Italy look like a walk in the park," Cuomo said of an unabated pandemic.
The first reopening phase includes more essential, lower risk industries, like construction, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing. Retailer in regions entering Phase 1 may also begin offering curbside pickup.
Phase 2 includes professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support, real estate and rental leasing. Phase 3 is restaurants, food service, hotels and accommodations.
Phase 4, the final one, includes attractions, arts/entertainment, recreation and education.
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