The number of new coronavirus-related hospitalizations in New York continued to decline, though the death toll from the pandemic continued to remain above 200 people over the last 24 hours, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday.
And three children in New York have now died from a mysterious new illness believed to be linked to COVID-19.
New York has now tested more than 1.1 million people for COVID-19 as more than 32,000 people were tested in the last day, according to Cuomo’s office.
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Cuomo on Saturday announced efforts to test people in low-income and communities of color — utilizing community churches in New York City — would begin. Black and Latino New Yorkers have been disproportionately affected by the virus.
New York’s “pause” is still set to end for some sectors of the economy — including construction, manufacturing and retail for curbside pickup — on May 15, which is next Friday.
But the reopening will be done on a regional basis for areas of the state that meet benchmark criteria for testing, declining COVID-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity at no more than 70 percent and the availability of contact tracers.
An executive order will be issued to certify that regions have met that criteria and can begin the first phase of reopening.
Cuomo also issued an executive order extending guidelines and emergency regulations for the pandemic until June 7.
Neighboring states, meanwhile, are moving forward with their own reopening plans that have some differences with New York’s approach.
Cuomo said the states were still working in coordination.
“We are coordinating what we’re doing, what they’re doing, so we’re counterproductive to anyone else,” Cuomo said.
New York officials want to avoid opening up attractions in some parts of the state that people would flock to as summer tourism venues remain in limbo.
Cuomo acknowledged the effect that could have on the state's already battered economy.
“The tourist season is the money making period for a whole sector of businesses,” Cuomo said. "Tourism is one of the big job drivers, period."