May 18, 2020
From Governor Cuomo @ 7:05 PM on May 18:
When we look to reopening the state, our methodology is based on data and metrics — we're opening regions that have hit specific data points and have reached all seven required metrics.
Starting tomorrow, Western New York will be able to begin Phase 1 of reopening, joining Central New York, the North Country, the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley.
To see where your region stands, visit the state's regional monitoring dashboard.
1. I encourage major sports teams to plan to reopen without fans. New York State is ready and willing to partner with teams from any professional leagues that are interested in playing games safely, so fans can enjoy watching from home. If our teams — hockey, baseball, basketball, football or any others — can make it work safely for players and staff on their end, we're supportive.
2. The number of total COVID hospitalizations continue to drop. Total hospitalizations fell to 5,850, from 5,897 the day before. There were 373 new COVID hospitalizations yesterday, essentially flat from 374 the previous day. Tragically, we lost 106 New Yorkers to the virus yesterday.
3. Our priority is to protect our most vulnerable populations. New York will bring more tests to nursing home facilities to help them meet new guidelines mandating that all nursing homes and adult care facilities test all personnel for COVID-19 two times per week. We are connecting facilities with labs to get them more tests, and so far the labs have reserved at least 35,000 tests per day just for this purpose. The state is also sending 320,000 test kits to nursing homes statewide this week.
4. New York is bringing in international experts to help advise our reopening plan. The stakes are high, and expert, scientific opinion is far more valuable than political opinion. Dr. Michael T. Osterhold, Direct of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Samir Bhatt, Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London, will work with the state to provide technical advice and analyze data/metrics throughout our reopening process and help track progress.
5. Free mental health resources are available from Headspace. The company Headspace is offering free meditation and mindfulness exercises to educators, health care professionals, and New Yorkers who are out of work. (If you are unemployed, you can get a free one-year subscription to the Headspace app). Free curated content available for all New Yorkers continues to be available at headspace.com/ny.
6. The State Department of Health has granted Erie County Medical Center a waiver to restart elective procedures. Elective outpatient treatments can resume there and in counties and hospitals without a significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near term. A total of 49 counties can now resume elective surgeries to date.