With 24,891 deaths out of 324,890 cases in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking to a reopening plan that has four phases instead of the original two pitched in April as COVID-19 hospitalizations started coming to a decline.
Cuomo said by following the metrics and taking a nuanced approach will allow society to get back to life while compensating for rate of transmission of the coronavirus at 1.1 or less. Any more than that and it is at “outbreak” levels.
“As long as your rate of transmission is low and manageable, then reopen your businesses. And reopen your businesses in phases so you’re increasing that activity level while you’re watching that rate of transmission,” Cuomo said. “If it gets over 1.1, stop everything immediately.”
A summarized by Cuomo in earlier press conferences, the Centers for Disease Control mandates that before a region can begin reopening they must have 14 days of consecutive decline in hospitalizations and deaths. As such, the governor has set May 15 for the end of the PAUSE program.
For regions with very few COVID-19 cases, new total cases cannot exceed 15 or 5 new deaths on a three rolling basis. Before regions can begin reopening they would also need a testing capacity of 30 for 1,000 people.
Although the daily death toll has gone from 299 on May 1 to 226 on Sunday, Cuomo said this statistic is not on the decline as fast his administration would like.
In preparation of any surges in cases, Cuomo says 30% of hospital and ICU beds have to be reserved for coronavirus patients as not to overload the system. This was announced during Sunday’s press briefing in which he said hospitals will now be required by the state to keep up to 90 days of personal protective equipment in stockpile at any given time.
“We have a couple of weeks, but this what local leaders, what a community needs in order to reopen safely and intelligently. It can’t just be, we want to get out of the house,” Cuomo said.
The success of a region’s reopening can depend on the competence of elected officials, according to Cuomo, which can mean the difference between life and death, he said.