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Weekend COVID update: Here are some key points

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Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cortland County remain at 32, with yesterday the 17th straight day without a new positive reported by the county health department.

The lone active patient is still hospitalized, while 31 people are now fully recovered from the virus and 1,161 negative results have been reported.

Six others are still being monitored, but overall the County’s numbers are still the lowest in the CNY region and much of New York State.

Elective surgery appeal

Officials at GCMC are appealing the county’s exclusion last week from a list of 35 approved by the governor to resume elective procedures in their hospitals.

GCMC president Jennifer Yartym told WXHC the state used outdated numbers when calculating whether or not the hospital met capacity requirements, specifically claiming the ICU numbers used “didn’t accurately represent available capacity.”

Yartym says additional information is being provided to the NYSDOH to support that appeal.

Statewide antibody test results

Governor Cuomo has announced the final results of the state’s completed antibody testing study, which concluded that an average of 12.3% of the population have COVID-19 antibodies.

However, the numbers are greatly skewed toward the downstate areas, which posted rates like 11.4% on Long Island, 13.8% in Westchester and nearly 20% in NYC.

Comparatively, Central New York’s average positive rate came in at less than 2%, with single-digit rates in all other regions of New York.

The highest number outside the downstate region is just 6% in Western NY.

Baseline infection rates were determined by testing 15,000 people at grocery stores and community centers in each region over the past two weeks.

Schools out for the year

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo confirmed Friday what many had speculated to be an imminent reality: The continued closure of all New York schools and use of distance learning to complete the rest of the academic year.

That also led to the official cancellation of all spring sports seasons by each of the 11 sections within the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA).

An ad hoc committee forming this week will analyze the potential impact of the pandemic on the fall 2020 seasons.

Guidance on how summer school programming may run is expected by the end of the month.

As for the fall, each district is now required to submit “reimagined” reopening plans for state approval that would implement new health and safety standards to allow the continued monitoring of any potential spread of the virus.

These plans would likely cover topics like when and how to resume extracurriculars, protocols for special education students and steps to ensure mental well-being for all students.

Everything will require the state’s approval before any school can reopen its doors to students in September.

Gov. Cuomo also delayed school board elections and budget votes until June 9, requiring they also be held by mail.

Additionally, local district and village elections are also delayed until September 15.

Regional supply chain of PPE

Finally, Governor Cuomo announced a new joint multi-state agreement with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts to develop a regional supply chain for personal protective equipment, other medical equipment and testing.

“While the states will continue to partner with the federal government during this global and national public health crisis, they will also work together to identify the entire region’s needs for these products, aggregate demand among the states, reduce costs and stabilize the supply chain,” Cuomo said.

The states will also coordinate policies on the inventory of PPE each should have in order to prepare for a potential second wave of the virus, as well as which supplies local governments should have on-hand for First Responders.

They’ll also determine any PPE potentially needed for local nonprofits and private businesses that may be open.

State remains on PAUSE

At this point, there’s still no word on whether the “New York on Pause” order is expected to begin gradually easing restrictions in the area on or will again be extended on May 15 – which is the expiration on the most recent extension of the order by the governor.

Much progress is being made concerning a phased reopening of the state by economic region, with those least affected being allowed to do so first.

Cortland Common Council will meet remotely tomorrow evening and continue discussing the city’s response to COVID-19.

Another municipal-wide COVID-19 update conference has been planned by county officials for Wednesday morning, continuing their dialogue on handling the crisis with town, village and city leaders.

WXHC will be attending both and getting you coverage afterwards.

Stay tuned with WXHC News for your daily covid updates and other local news.

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