Long Island and the Mid-Hudson regions could begin opening next week if their number of daily deaths continue to decline and their number of contact tracers meets the state’s requirements, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today.
The percentage of hospital beds available on Long Island popped back up to 30% of the total beds — just crossing the threshold needed to satisfy the state’s metric for hospital capacity. The region had been at 30% but dropped below it for a couple of days this week.
With that metric satisfied, the Long Island region needs to meet two more benchmarks. It must have a 14-day decline in daily deaths on a three-day rolling average or fewer than five deaths on a three-day rolling average. It also must have the requisite number of contact tracers in place, 30 per 100,000 of the region’s population — for Long Island, that metric requires about 830 contact tracers hired and trained.
Long Island as a region has seen a decline in deaths for 10 days in a row. Recently, the region had 13 straight days of decline, but then deaths ticked up again and the clock re-set.
A letter signed by all town supervisors and city managers on Long Island is being sent to the governor today asking him to consider changing the metric relating to the number of deaths per day to take population into account. The letter, drafted by Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, calls for the metric to be calculated on a per-capita basis and suggests one death per 100,000 population as the appropriate standard.
A more populous region like Long Island, with nearly 3 million residents, should be held to the same standard as a region like the Mohawk Valley (pop. 505,092). That tweak would raise Long Island’s deaths-per-day metric from 5 to 28 — and Long Island would meet the new standard immediately. The letter is being sent by the supervisor’s association to the governor this afternoon, Schneiderman said.
In anticipation of beginning the Phase One opening soon, Cuomo said construction staging could begin in the Long Island and Lower Hudson Valley regions.
The state’s reopening plan has four phases.
Phase One: construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, retail (limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off), manufacturing and wholesale trade.
Phase Two: Professional Services, Retail, Administrative Support, Real Estate Rental & Leasing
Phase Three: Restaurants and Food Services
Phase Four: Arts, Entertainment, Recreation and Education
Businesses must complete a reopening plan, showing how they will meet social distancing and face covering requirements.
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