SYRACUSE – Governor Andrew Cuomo said the careful, phased in reopening of the state will start after May 15 for some parts of the state, while other areas, still dealing with a high infection rate, will have to wait longer.
The infection rate has been holding fairly steadily locally, but three new cases were reported in Otsego County Tuesday. That makes a total of 61 confirmed cases of COVID-19 there, and three people are hospitalized. Four people have died.
In Delaware County, only two people remain hospitalized, and, perhaps more telling, the number of people in mandatory quarantine has dropped from over 70, to about 20.
Public health officials continue to urge caution, adding a warning to each day's press release that the virus is here, and all necessary precautions need to be observed.
Cuomo announced that hospitals where the infection rate is low may begin scheduling elective procedures starting April 28. He said guidance would go out to eligible regions on Tuesday. A chart the governor displayed showed the Southern Tier and Central NY rates at 7%, with the Mohawk Valley at 9%. The Mid-Hudson region, by comparison, is at 28%.
He also unveiled a regional approach to reopening and indicated that some areas may begin phased-in reopening of businesses when the current shutdown expires.
Phase I of the reopening will allow low risk manufacturing and construction to begin.
Cuomo said a two week analysis will follow, and if the infection rate doesn't spike again, the state will move into a regional, Phase II reopening that he said must somehow involve schools. But that timeline puts the earliest wider reopening at June 1, and many school districts around the state are proposing summer school this year to make up for some of the instructional time lost. On Tuesday, the governor said there would be decision on schools by the end of the week.