NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For the first time during the coronavirus outbreak since March, New York State saw less than 100 death in a 24-hour period linked to coronavirus-related illness, and other numbers suggest Long Island could be ready to start reopening by Wednesday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared in his Saturday COVID-19 update that 84 new deaths were reported since Thursday, with 62 in hospitals and 22 in nursing homes.
“It has been good news, but every day is a new day, and it’s good to see it continuing. The number of hospitalizations are down, the change in hospitalizations is down, the intubations is down, new COVID cases walking into door – which is a very important number – that’s down,” the governor said. “The number of lives lost, 84, is still a tragedy, no doubt, but the fact that it’s down as low as it is, is really overall good news.”
The last time New York State posted a 24-hour number that low was 95 deaths on March 24.
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The dropping numbers mean more regions across the state can plan on Phase 1 of reopening soon, allowing construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chain businesses, along with select retail stores with curbside pickup.
“We have met the criteria for the declining number of deaths,” said Cuomo. “That was the issue that we were having with the mid-Hudson region. The only open issue is we have the train tracers. No region opens before it’s ready to open.”
Contact tracers identify infected individuals based on test results, obtained by city and state health departments. Then they contact people — initially by phone, in most cases — who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
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Cuomo expected the Mid-Hudson region to reopen on Tuesday, and he was optimistic about Long Island next week.
“The number of deaths are dropping, that continues,” Cuomo said. “We will start to get the tracing online, but at this rate, we could open by Wednesday if the number of deaths continues to decline and we get that tracing up, so that is also very good news.”
Cuomo has a set list of criteria each region of the state must meet before being allowed to open non-essential businesses that were ordered closed back on March 20 when the cases and deaths from COVID-19 began to soar.
TRACKING REOPENING: View New York State Regional Monitoring Dashboard
Phase 2 includes professional services, finance and insurance, retail administrative support, real estate/rental leasing. Phase 3 covers restaurants, food services, hotels and other accommodations. Phase 4 is for arts, entertainment venues, recreation facilities and education.