New York State is “at another pivotal point” as it reopens economic activity in its various regions, but residents must continue to observe social distancing and wear masks, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said on Wednesday , as the state released test results showing more spread of the coronavirus in low-income and minority communities in New York.
He also said that religious ceremonies can resume, but on a reduced basis.
The Capitol area, including the city of Albany, became the seventh region to begin its first phase of reopening on Wednesday, as it encountered six of the seven state-monitored measures to judge whether it is safe for a region to start bringing back some companies.
“We are at another pivotal point” to consider reopening each region, said Cuomo, speaking from the seat of state government in Albany. “Yes, we can reopen economic activity … What is the consequence of this? It depends on what we do. “
Cuomo said the state has asked Northwell’s healthcare system, which operates many hospitals and laboratories, to conduct antibody testing through a faith-based network in minority communities in New York City. Preliminary results have shown that low-income residents in predominantly black and Latin American neighborhoods are less successful in avoiding COVID-19 infection, he said.
“These are the low-income, predominantly minority communities, where we are still seeing an increase,” said Cuomo.
After about 8,000 antibody tests to detect the virus in New York boroughs, results showed that 27% of residents in these communities were positive, new figures showed, compared to an overall level of infection in New York. York measured 19.9% on the Pitches test.
The Bronx was the borough with the highest level of confirmed positives at 34%, followed by Brooklyn at 29%. The queens had 25% positive; Manhattan had 20% positive and Staten Island had 19% positive in this study.
He said that the state would undertake efforts to reach the most affected areas to disseminate information on COVID-19 and preventive measures, while asking other parts of the state to follow the path of reduction to zero of the most vulnerable areas.
“This is a public health education effort,” said Cuomo. “You go through some of these communities and you can see that there is no social distancing, PPE [personal protective equipment] is not used and therefore the virus spreads. “
With that in mind, the governor’s daughter, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, unveiled the five finalists for a campaign to encourage state residents to wear masks and ask people to vote for their favorite on coronavirus.health. ny.gov/wear-mask.
Cuomo also highlighted the prevention message, discussing how emergency responders and essential workers have been found to have lower rates of coronavirus infection, because, he said, they take measures to prevent the spread.
“Apparently, it is so simple that people think it has no consequence” to wear a mask, he said. “It turns out that this has enormous consequences. It’s amazing how effective this mask is … again, look at the facts. What shocks me so far … How do frontline workers have a lower infection rate than the general population? “
And he continued, “How do nurses and doctors have a lower infection rate than the general population? How do public transport workers … have a lower infection rate than the general population? How does NYPD … how do they have a lower infection rate? … How can it be?… They wear masks. The masks work. These surgical masks work, and it’s in the data. It’s not that I say it, it’s in the data.
Hospitalizations and intubations of the most critical COVID-19 patients continued to decline on Tuesday, the last full day for which the state released data, but 112 New Yorkers died from coronavirus, slightly more high than the day before, although still reflecting a large decline in the hundreds of deaths each day at the peak of the disease in the state.
Religious services will be allowed to resume in the state, albeit on a reduced basis, Cuomo said. Gatherings of up to ten people can take place as long as the faithful respect the principles of social distancing and wear masks.
Cuomo said he had met with leaders of various faiths across the state to find ways to authorize worship while protecting people’s health.
He said he was asking leaders to consider approaches such as drive-in and parking services.
“I understand their desire to resume religious ceremonies as soon as possible,” said Cuomo. “As a former altar boy, I understand. “
He added, “I think even in these times of stress and when people are so anxious and so confused, I think these religious ceremonies can be very comforting. But we have to figure out how to do it, do it safely and do it intelligently. “
He warned that while worship can be beneficial, it also carries risks, noting that the first pandemic hotspot in the state, in New Rochelle, was caused by a lawyer attending a synagogue.
“The last thing we want to do is organize a religious ceremony that will eventually infect more people,” he said. “… Religious ceremonies can be very dangerous.”
Dennis Poust, director of communications for the New York State Catholic Conference, welcomed the governor’s decision.
“Today brings good news for people of faith, and we are grateful that Governor Cuomo has recognized the importance of religious faith and practice, especially in this time of pandemic,” he said. declared. “Cardinal Dolan and the New York Bishops The state looks forward to working with civic and health officials and other interfaith leaders to plan responsibly for the resumption of public religious services.
“Our Catholic people are hungry for Mass and look forward to meeting again in prayer and worship. At the same time, we have a moral obligation to protect our congregations and our clergy from COVID-19, so we will proceed slowly and responsibly and collaboratively. “
Cuissa’s best assistant Melissa DeRosa said the state is stepping up efforts to test staff at all nursing homes twice a week.
The state previously mandated the tests, and nursing homes had to submit their proposals last Wednesday on how they would comply, she said.
But “the feedback we received from many of them was that they were struggling,” she said.
So on Monday and Tuesday, the state sent test kits to nursing homes to facilitate testing, she said.
The state has also paired nursing homes with commercial labs to be able to perform the actual tests, she said.
“So it’s officially off,” said De Rosa.
There are about 100,000 residents of nursing homes in the state and about 180,000 workers in nursing homes and adult care facilities, she said.
She described the testing program as “very aggressive. We are leading the nation on this, and yes, we think we are going to hit the “test twice a week.”
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio said the city would expand testing to the city’s 169 nursing homes, including providing the ability to perform 3,000 tests a day through a city-contracted laboratory and an initial two-week blitz to reach each nursing home that accepts the city’s offer.
He said the city would add 240 people to replace workers at nursing homes who test positive and therefore cannot be at work for 14 days. In addition, he said, the city will send “epidemic response teams” – including an epidemiologist and infection control, mental health and social work experts – to infected nursing homes to mitigate the spread.
Dr. Jay Varma, a Blasio pandemic adviser who was also a health department official in Mike Bloomberg’s town hall, said he was considering a day “in an ideal world” where there would be screening at large scale of asymptomatic people.
“Large workplaces could do the equivalent, like a boarding pass, or, like, a security check,” he said.
Memorial Day Beach Limits Discussed
Nassau County Director Laura Curran said the county is planning to open some of its beaches for Memorial Day weekend. She said that even if the weather was fine on the beach this weekend, “people are ready to enjoy the splendor of our beautiful island.”
But the county will seek to apply social distancing measures.
Cars must be parked in all other spaces. For example, Nickerson Beach, which has a capacity of 2,000 cars, will park 1,000 cars.
With the exception of members of the same family or the same household, beach goers will be required to stand at least six feet apart when taking a walk and 10 feet apart when installing their towels and their chairs on the beach.
Face covers should be used to go to the bathroom, walk around, and use the facilities, said Curran.
The toilets will undergo frequent cleaning and will ensure that only six people are in a facility at any given time. Volleyball and other contact sports are prohibited at this time.
Rescuers have received additional safety training. All rescuers will have CPR resuscitation masks and manual pump resuscitators to prevent the spread of COVID. A lifeguard will be seated in one chair at a time and the chairs will be decontaminated on each shift.
Curran said the county health department authorizes and regulates 62 county beaches, including public beaches and beach clubs. State beach advice and county recommendations will be provided to operators of all beaches in the county.
Curran said she will sign a law to ensure that only residents of Nassau can come to Nickerson. “Our taxpayers, our residents are the ones who pay the taxes to operate the beach to make sure it works well, and I think they should be given priority to use it exclusively.”
“I spoke with the mayor De Blasio of New York, I understand his reasoning for his decision on the beach clubs. It has density issues that we don’t have. I respect his decision, and at the same time, I want to make sure that our residents enjoy their beach. “
Curran said the new law will be enforced by requiring drivers of vehicles to present identification. When drivers enter the parking lot, they will be asked to identify that they live in Nassau County, either through a recreational pass or a driver’s license. Only the driver’s ID will be verified, not everyone in the car.
Park staff will be walking around to monitor social displacement and police will be on site.
“When we apply these COVID rules, we are always civil, we are always polite and, overall, people get the message and do the right thing.”
Curran said private beach clubs would be limited to 50%. She said it is not clear when the beach clubs will open and is awaiting advice on beach huts.
In New York, de Blasio did not respond directly when asked in his daily virtual press conference his reaction to the Long Island governments limiting beaches to local residents and banning residents of the city.
Curran, in signing legislation limiting access to Nickerson Beach for county residents, joins several Long Island leaders who have preferred to keep non-residents away from local beaches while New York beaches are closed.
In Suffolk, County Director Steve Bellone announced Monday that the beaches at Smith Point and Cupsogue will be open to residents of the county only.
De Blasio said: “If you are in the surrounding counties, where people go mainly by car, where the beaches are not crowded like ours, if that is what works for them, I respect that. Everyone must make their own choice and each must establish their own ground rules. “
He reiterated his concerns about the people who gather on the beaches at a time when the city is trying to impose social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are the epicenter of this crisis at the national level,” said de Blasio. “We are the most populous city in the United States of America, one of the most densely populated places in the country. To get to our beaches, a large majority of people will take the metro and buses, which creates people and then sings on the beaches. There are so many obvious reasons why we cannot open our beaches, ”he said.
De Blasio also said the city is unlike any other place due to the way city dwellers get to the beach, often using public transportation options.
He added: “It is all about security, and we will only do what is safe for our people, and in New York it is not yet safe to open our beaches. I hope to do it later in the season, but not now. “
St. Joseph Freezing Tuition
St. Joseph’s College, a private institution with campuses in Patchogue and Brooklyn, announced this week that it would freeze its full-time semester rate of $ 14,950 for 2020-2021.
The college said the decision was made in light of the financial burden that students and their families have faced due to the pandemic.
“We recognize that this is a serious step, as the costs incurred by the institution to prepare and support current modes of distance learning will be quite high,” said St. Joseph’s College president Donald Boomgaarden.
“Despite this, I firmly believed, and our board agreed, that we must take into account the gravity of the crisis for our entire region when making decisions about the future,” added Boomgaarden .
Northwell Health: Slight drop in deaths
Northwell Health said on Wednesday that there have been eight deaths in Long Island hospitals in the past 24 hours, up from 10 deaths in the previous 24 hours.
The death rate has been declining for much of the month. The largest total day-to-day deaths were 92 on April 14.
For the Long Island area to fully reopen, it must reach the state dashboard hospital death metric. To do this, the region must experience 14 days of declining hospital deaths or an average of five or fewer deaths per day in the last three days of data.
According to the state’s most recent data, Long Island has seen six days of declining hospital deaths and an average of 13 hospital deaths per day in the past three days. The state is expected to update this metric on Wednesday afternoon.
Northwell continues to report a decrease in the number of COVID-19 patients in its healthcare system: it had 842 coronavirus patients in its 19 hospitals in the region, down 19% from the same period a year ago one week.
At North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, the number of patients with COVID-19 has dropped more than 60% from the peak, to 140, said Northwell. About 70% of patients in the North Shore are not COVID-19 patients, said Dr. Michael Gitman, the hospital’s medical director.
“The number of COVID patients in our hospital has dropped to four or five per day,” he said.
Check back for updates on this developing story.