NEW YORK — One week into the gradual reopening of its economy, the Capital Region is showing continued progress against the COVID-19 pandemic, or at least no backsliding.
On Tuesday, no deaths were reported across the eight-county region, a relatively small number of people tested positive for the virus and the number of COVID patients hospitalized didn’t increase.
With continued progress, the region might be able to enter Phase 2 of reopening as early as June 3.
Phase 1, begun May 20, includes construction, manufacturing and pickup/dropoff retail operations previously deemed nonessential. Phase 2 includes professional services, real estate, administrative support and other retail.
The mid-Hudson region began Phase 1 reopening Tuesday and Long Island was scheduled to start Wednesday, leaving New York City as the last of the state’s 10 regions under the full restrictions imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March.
Cuomo delivered his daily COVID-19 briefing Tuesday from the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan, where earlier he had rung the opening bell to start the day’s trading — or the reopening bell, as the trading floor had been shut down for eight weeks.
Cuomo’s briefings recently have grown repetitive, with a near-daily emphasis on the need for New Yorkers to be cautious as their region gets back to work and the need for the federal government to give billions of dollars to the state and its municipalities.
He kept his streak alive Tuesday.
He urged the regional “control rooms” — groups of people appointed to monitor and control the pandemic in their region — to be vigilant as reopening progresses, and to watch the seven metrics showing virus activity within the region and local ability to respond to it.
“Focus on what's happening in those numbers,” he said. “You see a little movement, you pounce on it. Find out what it is, explore it, and resolve it.”
The governor also rattled off the 20 percent cuts he’ll inflict on schools, municipalities and hospitals if Congress doesn’t appropriate billions for the state to pay its bills while its revenue streams are withering. He keeps saying this, he explained, so as to keep up pressure on New York’s congressional delegation, which thus far has been unable to get direct aid to Albany included in the trillions of dollars the federal government has allocated for COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus.
Cuomo also urged the federal government to pour billions into New York infrastructure projects as a stimulus measure.
“We want that economy to come roaring back. And that's not going to happen just by wishing it to be so. We have to take an affirmative action, we have to be part of that, and today is page one of that chapter,” he said
The economy will bounce back like a football, not a basketball, with winners and losers and pain if it is not managed correctly Cuomo said.
Some statistics and data:
- Rolling 3-day average of new COVID hospitalizations statewide is down to 201 a day.
- The total number of counted COVID-19 deaths statewide stood at 23,564 on Tuesday with 73 deaths Monday.
- Enough data exist on infections to track hot spots by ZIP code in New York City, allowing for better allocation of resources to fight the disease there.
- In the Capital Region, 96 people remained hospitalized with COVID, some of them nursing home residents who have recovered but cannot be sent back to their facility under state rules.
- Capital Region counties reported no new fatalities Tuesday.
- Albany Medical Center said it had one intubated COVID patients on Tuesday, down from the more than 30 who needed the mechanical breathing assistance on some days during the peak of the crisis. Regionwide, there were just seven such patients, it said.
- The Mohawk Valley Region tallied 62 hospitalized COVID patients May 25. This is up from 36 on May 15, the day it began Phase 1 reopening. The increase has been sufficiently gradual that the region hasn’t had to slow or stop its reopening.
Correction 11:44 AM 5/27: A previously published version of this story incorrectly stated there were 11 intubated COVID patients Tuesday at Albany Medical Center, down from more than 50 at the height of the pandemic in New York. The number have been corrected to reflect just one such patient Tuesday, and the maximum number of 34.