New York expands test eligibility as social distance hits

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New York residents who flouted social unrest restrictions overnight in the city were angry with the mayor on Sunday. The city’s besieged health commissioner continues to work. Governor Andrew Cuomo played the role of a model patient, getting swabbed for the coronavirus on live TV, when he announced that everyone with flu-like symptoms was now eligible for the test.

Meanwhile, two other regions of the state – western New York and the Capital District – have met the criteria to enter the first phase of reopening, but have yet to hire several hundred more people for the programs. contact search.

In the first phase, construction, farming, forestry, fishing, hunting, manufacturing, and wholesaling businesses are allowed to reopen, and retail stores can provide curb pickup or drop-off. street or in store.

Here are the latest developments related to coronaviruses in New York:

SATURDAY NIGHT FERVOR

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged people seen outside bars on Saturday night – many with drinks in hand but no masks on their faces – for endangering lives. Officials could close establishments that violate distancing rules, de Blasio said.

Bars and restaurants in the city have been limited to take-out and delivery since mid-March, when cases of coronaviruses began to skyrocket, but some in Manhattan allowed people to dine and drink indoors on Saturday.

“We are not going to tolerate people starting to come together. It’s that simple, “said de Blasio. “If we have to close places, we will. “

After a series of violent arrests for social distancing involving people of color, the city this week lightened the application of the distancing by no longer asking the police to break up small groups of people or confront citizens who are not wearing no mask.

As the weather warms, more and more New Yorkers flock to familiar public spaces and lairs for a sense of normalcy after spending most of the past two months locked inside – and not always watching themselves.

Parks, boardwalks and beaches drew large crowds on Saturday, although the city’s beaches are not officially open and will not be open for Memorial Day weekend.

Other beaches in the area will be open for vacation, but de Blasio said opening the strands of the city “is not the right thing to do in the epicenter of this crisis.”

The city’s beaches could be completely closed to public access if people don’t follow social distancing rules, he said. Fences at the entrances could be deployed if the beaches – now reserved only for nearby residents – are overcrowded or if people violate swimming bans, he said.

De Blasio said the beaches could open for wider use during the summer, with lifeguard training in the coming weeks for a possible return to work.

TEST CAPACITY OUTPUT

All New Yorkers who have flu-like symptoms or other signs of coronavirus, such as a dry cough or chest pain, are now eligible for the test, as well as people who return to work for gradual reopening, Cuomo said on Sunday.

The state is expanding eligibility because it deals with excess testing capacity. Driving and walk-in test sites perform about a third of the 15,000 tests they can do each day, Cuomo said.

An agreement with CVS will collect samples from more than 60 chain pharmacies across the state, Cuomo said. Screening in New York City has expanded to 123 CityMD walk-in clinics.

De Blasio also made an urgent appeal on Sunday for blood donations, saying supplies were cut to around two days due to canceled blood drives, which could mean postponing some surgeries.

HEALTH CHIEF TO STAY

De Blasio is with his health commissioner after a report that she used foul language during a phone call in March with a senior police commander about the supply of protective masks. Several police unions and a member of Congress called for the dismissal of Dr Oxiris Barbot.

Barbot was absent from recent De Blasio press conferences and his service was bypassed last week in favor of the city’s public hospital system to run a contact tracing program, fueling questions about a possible flaw.

De Blasio said on Sunday that he had met with Barbot “to clear up some of the recent issues” and that she would remain in the role she has held since 2018.

“We will move forward together,” said de Blasio.

Barbot took the heat this week for an unreported clash with NYPD department head Terence Monahan, who wanted more masks for the officers.

The New York Post, citing an anonymous source, reported on Wednesday that Barbot replied, “I don’t give two rats the ass about your cops.” The newspaper did not say what Monahan said to provoke this response.

A spokesman for the health department said Thursday that Barbot had apologized to the chief for his contribution to “a heated exchange between the two where things were said in frustration, but no harm was wished for anyone” .

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