Western New York is now set to start reopening on Tuesday, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, after it hired 525 contact tracers over the weekend.
Western New York will now be the sixth upstate region to start Phase 1 of the reopening process which allows construction companies, manufacturing companies and curbside pickup for retail stores to open back up.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that the state would be slightly altering the seven metrics needed for regions to reopen so that Western New York and the Capital Region would just need to hire more contact tracers to reopen sometime this week.
This now leaves the Capital Region as the last region above the Mid-Hudson that still needs to hire 387 contact tracers for the area so it can join the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, and the North Country, which already started Phase 1 on Friday.
Judges and staff will also be returning to courthouses in 30 upstate counties starting this week.
The New York State Department of Health has granted Erie County Medical Center a waiver to restart elective procedures.
Also, in response to the state requiring nursing home facilities to test their staff twice a week, Cuomo announced that the state will be sending 320,000 test kits to nursing homes statewide.
The state will be also be scaling up lab capacity by connecting nursing home facilities with labs that have reserved at least 35,000 tests a day for this purpose.
In the ever-weighing unemployment issue, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa said that the state has now paid out around $9.2 billion in unemployment benefits to 2 million New Yorkers. When questioned about the backlog during Monday’s press briefing, DeRosa continued to insist the only people still waiting for their benefits have incomplete information, lack certification, or have suspected fraudulent claims.
The Department of Labor’s commissioner will be giving an update later Monday.
The state is bringing in international experts to advise the state on reopening and its progress. Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy University of Minnesota, and Dr. Samir Bhatt, senior lecturer at Imperial College London, are both being brought in.
Cuomo also said the coronavirus test he took on Sunday on TV came back negative. He continued to encourage anyone needing a test to go and take one.
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The number of new hospitalizations and intubations are down. However, 106 people died from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours. This is down from 139 fatalities the day before.