Governor Cuomo extended the NYS on Pause executive order for an additional two weeks, directing all schools and nonessential businesses to remain closed through at least April 29.
The governor also increased the fine for social distancing violations from $500 to $1,000, which localities have been given authority to enforce.
Renewed urgency comes as fresh data suggests the policy may be working. Although the death toll is growing, daily increases are leveling, daily hospitalizations are decreasing and the number of new patients needing ventilators in the worst hit areas is also going down.
The data shows that New York could be reaching its peak, which could mean fewer total hospital beds will be required than some of the worst-case models predicted.
Still, Cuomo urged caution against getting too optimistic too soon:
“This virus is an enemy that the entire country underestimated from day one and we have paid the price dearly,” Governor Cuomo said. “While the numbers look like they may be turning, now is not the time to be lax with social distancing – that would be a mistake and we all have a responsibility and a societal role in this. As I said from day one, I am not going to choose between public health and economic activity, and to that end I am extending all NYS on Pause functions for an additional two weeks. People are dying and our health care workers are exposing themselves to tremendous risk every day. If we can’t convince you to show discipline for yourself in terms of social distancing, show discipline for other people.”
The June Regents exams for high school students across New York have also been canceled, with the federal government granting the state a one-year waiver from the Every Student Succeeds Act.
State education officials say they won’t review school and district performance using data from the 2019-20 school year and more info is expected in the coming days.
WXHC also has interviews planned with Homer Schools Superintendent Tom Turck and Cortland Schools Superintendent Michael Hoose for more information.
As of 04/06, Cortland County has reported a total of 18 confirmed cases, none of which are connected and seven people are now recovered.
One person is in the hospital and 33 others are in quarantine pending test results, which have so far turned back negative for 550 people.
In Tompkins County, confirmed cases have broken triple digits and are now at 102, with 66 recovered and 430 in quarantine awaiting test results.
Additionally, three are hospitalized and more than 1,400 negative test results have been reported.
WXHC now has a live tracker from the Department of Health with county-by-county data, which can be found here.