Cuomo: Capital Region now nearly set for Phase 1 COVID-19 reopening; Contact tracers last requirement
ALBANY – The Capital Region and Western New York are now set to begin Phase 1 of reopening post coronavirus closures once the required numbers of contact tracers are in place, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.
The announcement means the regions have satisfied requirements for hospitalizations and deaths, that had appeared to be days or weeks off.
Cuomo did not address whether whether the metrics for those two categories had changed for the regions or whether how those numbers were calculated changed.
“There’s been a shift in the Capital Region and in Western New York, where on the seven metrics, on the metrics they now qualify for reopening,” Cuomo said near the outset of Sunday’s coronavirus briefing. “There is still a need to increase tracing, the number of people who are prepared to do tracing, and that is a pure administrative function.”
No estimate was given for when the tracing component could be satisfied or when the Capital Region could start Phase 1.
The Capital Region had initially met the hospitalization metric earlier last week, but had fallen back as hospitalizations rose.
To meet that metric, a region had to see a 14-day decline in net hospitalizations or under 15 new hospitalizations in a three-day average.
The Capital Region had only seen a one-day decline Saturday and a three-day average of 18 hospitalizations in metrics released Saturday.
To meet the deaths metric, regions had to see a 14-day decline in hospital deaths or fewer than five in a three-day average. The Capital Region had seen a one-day decline and six deaths for the average.
But on Sunday, the governor’s regional monitoring slide showed the Capital Region and Western New York meeting both metrics.
The final metric is tracing.
“We’ll be working with both the Capital Region and Western New York to get that tracing up,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said 383 tracers are required for the Capital Region and 166 are still needed.
“We’ll be talking to the regional heads today to find those additional personnel and get them trained and get them ready,” Cuomo said. “But that’s the only function that has to be performed for those regions to open and, again, that’s something that we anticipated and that’s just administrative and working together with the regions, we can get that done. So that’s good news.”
Once the tracers are in place, the Capital Region would join most of the rest of Upstate New York in the reopening process. The Mohawk Valley, which includes Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties, started Phase 1 Friday.
Phase 1 includes construction industries, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, retail for curbside or in-store pickup, manufacturing and wholesale trade.