Governor Cuomo yesterday announced a phased plan to allow certain parts of the state to reopen their economies before others, based on the level of impact COVID-19 is making in each community.
The areas being considered to reopen early are rural Upstate regions like Central New York, but Gov. Cuomo says it will still likely happen after the May 15 date set forth by last week’s extension of the NYS on PAUSE order.
Harder-hit areas like those downstate are still looking at a much different, slower process.
According to the plan outlined yesterday, the state’s various economic regions can only begin their gradual unpausing once their hospitalization rates decline for 14 straight days.
Phase one will begin with resuming low-risk construction and manufacturing employees to work in areas with relatively low infection rates, and phase two will then gradually allow other industries to reopen based on regional priority and risk level.
Businesses considered “more essential” and lower risk will be permitted to open first, as determined by state, local and industry leaders.
Two weeks of time is required between phase shifts to closely monitor the effects of the process on infection rates, although Cuomo says the pace of reopening businesses will be increased as the infection rates decline.
While a good sign for the near future, the latest plan still mandates that no attraction or business can be open that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
State and local leaders are also collaborating on developing an approach to eventually reopen parks, schools and businesses considered to be least essential.
“We’ve been talking about re-opening the state and re-imagining a new New York, and to do that we’re going to have to make governmental decisions in partnership with business decisions,” Governor Cuomo said. “Every business leader understands that we can’t just re-open and go back to where we were and what we were doing before – we have to move forward in light of the circumstances that have developed. So we are going to re-open the economy in phases, based on regional and specific industry determinations and CDC guidelines, and in the midst of all this continuing to monitor the public health impact because all that progress we made by flattening that curve we could lose in a matter of days if we’re not careful.”
Cortland County is currently reporting the lowest amount of total confirmed cases in Central New York at 32, with yesterday also the 10th straight day without a new positive.
Thirty people are now fully recovered and 20 others are still being monitored. Two people remain in the hospital. Additionally, negative test results reported by the county health department have now exceeded 1,000 residents.
Result collections are expected to increase more rapidly starting tomorrow, with the opening of drive-thru testing at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center in conjunction with the Cortland County Health Department.
The health department previously didn’t offer any testing of its own, citing a lack of necessity and backed up just two weeks ago by GCMC president Jennifer Yartym, who said at that time needs were being met without having to open up another facility.
Until this point, testing has been and continues to be done by local healthcare providers in the community.
The new GCMC drive-thru testing center is located in a designated area on the corner of West Main Street and Homer Avenue, in operation every Monday through Friday from 9 am – 5 pm and Saturdays from 8am – 2pm.
Anyone with symptoms or feels they may have been exposed to the virus, including healthcare workers, should call (607) 299-7676 to be screened and pre-register for an appointment.