COVID-19 Update 4/21/2020: Gov. Cuomo Says NY Biz Reopening to Be Done by Region

COVID-19 Update 4/21/2020: Gov. Cuomo Says NY Biz Reopening to Be Done by Region

BUFFALO—New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in this morning’s COVID-19 update briefing here said that the reopening of the state’s economy will be performed by region.

He announced that Lt. Gov. Kathleen Hochul will be in charge of studying the Western New York region, including determining how and when the economy will reopen there, while former Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy will have similar responsibilities for the Finger Lakes region.

Cuomo announced yesterday the creation of the “Reimagine NY Task Force” to improve systems in Downstate New York once the state is no longer on pause. The task force will be led by the state and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and will be comprised of other local elected officials and housing and transportation experts.

The governor was scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump this afternoon. Gov. Cuomo said that the meeting would focus on testing. Cuomo said he plans to make the case to the president that the federal government needs to take a much larger role in securing COVID test-related equipment from both domestic and international sources for the states.

Once the necessary tests are taken, the states will then be charged to hire thousands of tracers to identify all those who tested positive for the Coronavirus and who they came in contact with and then isolate those individuals.

The governor insinuated that more than likely regions upstate would likely reopen first, since 64% of the COVID-19 hospitalizations are in New York City, followed by 21% on Long Island and 8% in Westchester and Rockland counties. The rest of the state accounts for 7% of all Coronavirus hospitalizations.

“We are going to make reopening decisions on a regional basis, based on that region’s facts and circumstances about the COVID virus,” the governor said.

“We paid a tremendous price to control this beast,” the governor noted. He said that any decision to begin reopening a region’s economy will be based on a myriad of health-related data that includes whether the region’s number of hospitalizations, intubations and deaths are on the decline.

The governor noted that all three metrics were down or flat on Monday, April 20, with the number of hospitalizations relatively flat, the number of new cases were at 1,308, down from 1,560 the previous day, while the number of deaths rose slightly to 481 from 478 the previous day.

He said the decision on when current restrictions will be lifted in a region will be based on data and CDC guidelines and not political pressure.

The governor did announce the lifting of bans on elective surgeries in some sections of the state. Restrictions on elective surgery will remain in place in Bronx, Queens, Rockland, Nassau, Clinton, Yates, Westchester, Albany, Richmond, Schuyler, Kings, Suffolk, New York, Dutchess, Sullivan, Ulster, Erie, Orange and Rensselaer counties.

Hospitals will be able to resume performing elective outpatient treatments on April 28, 2020 if the hospital capacity is more than 25% for the county and if there have been fewer than 10 new hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in the county over the past 10 days.

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