One metric stands in the way of starting phase one of the Capital Region and Western New York economies, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday: Deploying enough contact tracers.  

Cuomo called the issue “an administrative hurdle” during Sunday’s press briefing. Contact tracers find and monitor the contacts of infected people and notify them of their exposure.

"We'll be talking to the regional heads today to find those additional personnel," said Cuomo.  

What You Need To Know

  • Capital Region & Western NY need to hire more contact tracers before opening
  • Governor Cuomo gets tested for COVID-19
  • If you’re back-to-work in Phase One, you should get tested

Once the contact tracers have been deployed, the Capital Region and Western New York will join the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, Central New York, and the North Country in beginning phase one of their economies.  

Phase One workers include those who are employed in manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade, curbside pick-up retailers, agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Some of these workers had been considered “essential” during the economic closure; now all workers in these sectors may return to work.

If you are a part of the phase one workforce, a nasal swab may be in your future.  

Governor Cuomo demonstrated the ease with which COVID-19 testing is done. During the press briefing, a nurse in full PPE approached the governor, who stood with his eyes closed, facing her.

She inserted a long “Q-tip” like swab into his nostril, swished it around, and extracted it. The process took about 10 seconds.

“I’m not in pain. I’m not in discomfort. Closing my eyes was a moment of relaxation," Cuomo said after the procedure.  

Because the state’s mobile testing capacity has increased to 15,000 tests a day, the administration is urging people to get tested.

“We have more sites and capacity than we are using,” Cuomo said. “Anyone who has a COVID symptom should get a test.”

Governor Cuomo also announced a new partnership between the Mental Health Coalition and his brother-in-law and clothing designer Kenneth Cole. It’s called the #HowAreYouReallyChallenge. For more information visit here.