Reopening to Start May 15, Elsewhere in State, Cuomo Says

Parts of New York State will start reopening on May 15, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday. But Long Island won’t be part of the first wave.

With lower sickness rates upstate and other parts of the state, “If upstate has to wait for downstate to be ready, they’re going to be waiting a long time,” Cuomo said. 

As of Monday, none of the state’s 10 economic regions meets the standards, he said.

The new standards required to reopen are:

  • New Infections: Based on guidelines from the CDC, regions must have at least 14 days of decline in total net hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average. In regions with few COVID cases, the region cannot exceed 15 net new total hospitalizations or 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average. 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. 
  • Health Care Capacity: Every region must have the health care capacity to handle a potential surge in cases. Regions must have at least 30 percent total hospital and ICU beds available. This is coupled with the new requirement that hospitals have at least 90 days of personal protective equipment stockpiled.
  • Diagnostic Testing Capacity: Each region must have the capacity to conduct 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month. The state is rapidly expanding capacity statewide to help all regions meet this threshold.
  • Contact Tracing Capacity: 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. The state is currently building an army of contact tracers with Mayor Bloomberg to meet the needs of each region statewide.

“You open businesses first that are most essential and pose the lowest risk,” he said, including construction.

Cuomo said businesses employ new safety practices to reopen, including: 

  • Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace;
  • Enact social distancing protocols;
  • Restrict non-essential travel for employees;
  • Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others;
  • Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards;
  • Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace;
  • Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and
  • Develop liability processes.

This is what a community has to deal with to reopen safely and intelligently, in my opinion,” Cuomo said. “This can’t just be, ‘We want to get out of the house. We’re going.’ No. Let’s be smart. Let’s be intelligent.”

This story will update.

There have been 19,415 Covid-19 deaths in the state, including 226 deaths since Sunday. Of those deaths, 64 percent have been among those 70 years or older.

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