New York entering 'exciting new phase' as it prepares to start reopening this week, governor says

Andrew Cuomo says about state's progress in battling Covid-19: 'We took the worst situation in the nation and changed the trajectory'

'We’re finally ahead of the virus': Cuomo announces New York victory at curbing pandemic while still urging caution

The governor of New York has announced an “exciting new phase” in his reopening plans amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying parts of the state can begin to open on Friday in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D—NY) said the state will “start a new chapter in many ways” this week during a press briefing at the Rochester Regional Health Centre on Monday.

“May 15th is the end of the statewide closure, and the question is now going to shift onward to localities,” he said. “We took the worst situation in the nation and changed the trajectory.”

He added: “That’s because of what the people in this state did.”

The state will open certain localities that meet seven metrics, including 14-day declines in hospitalisations and death rates, among other requirements.

Mr Cuomo warned his announcement did not mean that the “flood gates are open” and noted that businesses will need to follow social distancing measures and other safety measures like providing masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).

“This is the next big step in this historic journey,” he said. “The first phase was figuring out what we were dealing with because we had no idea … to stabilise, ramp up the health care system, inform people, get people to understand what we were dealing with and control the damage. That’s the mountain to me. We’re now on the other side of the mountain.”

The governor also said localities can and should reinstate stay-at-home measures if the infection rate rises after they begin to reopen, as some countries around the world have seen after lifting lockdown orders.

The seven requirements for localities to reopen include a 14-day decline in hospitalisations, or under 15 new hospitalizations; a 14-day decline in deaths or under five new deaths; for new hospitalisations to fall under two per 100,000 residents; for the share of total beds available in hospitals to remain at a 30 percent threshold; for the share of available ICU beds to also remain at a 30 percent threshold; for 30 per 1,000 residents to be tested monthly; and for there to be 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents in the locality.

New York has lowered its daily rate of new cases to 488 as of 10 May. At least 161 people died due to complications resulting from the novel virus that same day, according to the governor.

“We’re right about where we were March 19th, before we went into the abyss of the Covid crisis,” he said, adding: “We’re coming out of the other side.”

In order to begin opening up parts of the state with lower infection rates, the governor said testing and tracing capabilities must be significantly ramped up. On Monday, he announced the launch of new “regional control rooms” that would track cases and monitor the infection rates in regions of the state preparing to reopen.

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