ALBANY — Nearly two dozen commercial landlords have signed on with the state initiative to create COVID-safe office workspaces as a means to speed reopening the economy.
The partnership is a step Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in his State of the State address earlier this year and creates a way to provide fast workplace testing to ensure safety.
Thirteen of the 21 New York property owners Cuomo announced Friday as participants are upstate, including three in the Capital Region: Galesi Management Group of Schenectady, Omni Development Company of Albany and First Columbia of Latham.
They have agreed to provide space for testing services for tenants that want to run regular diagnostic testing on their employees.
The goal is multipart: Thwart the spread of COVID, increase the confidence of workers to return to the office and, by doing so, boost economic activity in the area where they work.
“This new partnership with major commercial real estate companies is the next step in reinvigorating our urban cores and commercial offices, supporting state and regional economies,” Cuomo said in a news release.
The governor is gradually relaxing COVID restrictions on many aspects of life and business across the state, now that the early 2021 COVID surge is over.
Some parts of the state are faring better than others, however. The Capital Region’s positive test rate dropped 82% from early January to mid-March, for example, while New York City’s dropped only 36%. And most of the rest of the nation is faring better.
If New York City and the rest of New York state were individual states, they’d have the second- and fourth-highest rates of new infection in the nation, respectively. New Jersey is highest and Rhode Island third-highest.
In other COVID news Friday:
- The percentage of New Yorkers who’ve received at least one dose of vaccine reached 24.6%. In and around the Capital Region, that figure ranges from 20.5% (Fulton County) to 33.4% (Warren County).
- The seven-day average positive COVID test rate stood at 3.3% statewide, 1.9% in the Capital Region and 1.6% in the Mohawk Valley. At the county level, the rate was Albany 1.9%, Fulton 3.1%, Montgomery 2.8%, Rensselaer 1.5%, Saratoga 2.4%, Schenectady 1.8% and Schoharie 2.5%.
- Some 4,527 people were hospitalized with COVID statewide, including 99 in the Capital Region and 62 in the Mohawk Valley.
- The statewide death toll grew by 59 to reach 39,808.