Today (April 28), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo continued to unveil his plan for reopening the state once the May 15 work-from-home order expires, which he hinted yesterday might take longer for some areas than expected. The plan was distilled into a 12-step program to success. This included:
- Following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, which state that a 14-day decrease in hospitalizations should be in place before going forward with reopening in the first place
- A two-phase return to reopening businesses following that: The first being bringing back construction/manufacturing jobs that have a low risk of heightening the spread of COVID-19 (these businesses would have to show the state that they had safety precautions in place); the second being businesses that could be deemed “essential” beyond these ones (also low risk); a third, sub-category would be not having “attractive nuisances,” or areas in regions where mass gatherings could lead to intrastate spread or a potential uptick in the infection rate (one must assume that this would be referring to places such as Saratoga Race Course or the Saratoga Performing Arts Center)
- Having the proper business precautions in place once people return to work: In other words, will there be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available to employees and will proper social distancing be followed within the workplace itself?
- Regionally, healthcare capacity (and ICU beds) cannot exceed 70 percent—and that would have to include times like the height of flu seasons (PPE would also need to be stockpiled in the meantime, so that shortages don’t happen again)
- There has to be a steady testing regimen in place (30 tests per 1,000 people per month at minimum), with enough testing sites available, with the proper advertising, so that people know they exist
- There needs to be a contact tracing “army” in place (30 tracers for every 100,000 people)—in others words, people who can trace how many people came into contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19
- There need to be enough isolation facilities where people who are infected with COVID-19 can stay so as not to infect family members, neighbors and others
- There needs to be regional coordination when it comes to reopening schools, public transportation, testing and tracing
- Healthcare systems need to reimagine telemedicine
- School systems need to reimagine tele-education
- There needs to be a regional “control room” or centralized place that is monitoring all of these regional indicators and can wave the “danger” flag if a lockdown is needed again
- Essential workers need to be properly protected and respected, whether that be through access to PPE and testing or by properly disinfecting trains, buses and other public transportation.
From a macro perspective, total hospitalizations and intubations continue to decline daily, with the number of new COVID-19 patients dipping below 1,000. The total number of daily COVID deaths is also on the decline, with 335 reported on April 28, the lowest number yet.
New York State still has the most COVID-19 cases in the entire nation, with more than 300,000 reported and more than 22,000 deaths.