Another two of the Empire State’s economic regions are on the verge of reopening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday, as an additional 139 New Yorkers succumbed to the coronavirus.
Western New York and the Capital Region have fulfilled six of the seven criteria — measuring hospitalizations, death rates, available beds, testing and tracing — to phase certain businesses back online.
The only box left to tick is an expansion of their contact tracing capacity, Cuomo said, offering the state’s help to get the regions up to snuff.
“They are now qualified for reopening,” said Cuomo during an Albany press briefing. “We’ll be working with both the Capital Region and Western New York to get that tracing up. But that is a purely administrative function.
“Working together with the regions, we can get that done.”
Planned tailoring of the total hospitalization and fatality metrics in regions where those numbers were so consistently low that measured decline was difficult to gauge helped get those two sectors to the finish line, according to the governor’s office.
Five other regions — Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country and the Southern Tier — have already begun the first phase of reopening, which includes such low-risk businesses as construction, manufacturing, landscaping and curbside pick-up retail.
Long Island, the Mid-Hudson and New York City are still on the outside looking in, with the Big Apple the farthest off, having met just three of the seven criteria through Sunday.
Cuomo teased the good news for Western New York and the Capital Region as deaths continued to mount statewide.
Another 139 New Yorkers were lost to the bug in the 24-hour period ending at midnight Sunday, raising the overall toll to 22,619 confirmed fatalities.
“At a different time and place if I had that news to deliver, that would be incredibly shocking to people,” said Cuomo. “Only in this environment is it not shocking and, relative to where we were, it’s good news.”
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