NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday laid out a path that could see some regions of upstate New York start to reopen as soon as May 15 as the coronavirus death toll took a significant drop to 226.
Even as the Democratic governor said that statewide shutdown rules will officially expire in less than two weeks, he laid out stringent conditions that must be met before even little-impacted regions can start to reopen.
“Regions can start to reopen and do their own analysis, but these are the facts that they have to have in place to do it,” he said.
Cuomo laid out an intricate set of requirements, including a declining number of coronavirus cases and available hospital capacity.
He stressed that even areas that are only mildly affected must show steady declines because otherwise they might be susceptible to renewed outbreaks.
Although the governor sounded a note of flexibility, he warned against expecting anything close to normalcy to return anytime soon, especially in New York City and its immediate suburbs.
“If upstate has to wait for downstate to be ready, they’re going to be waiting a long time,” Cuomo said.
As other governors have rushed to reopen their economies, Cuomo has been a steadfast advocate of a go-slow approach. Even as New York has succeeded in significantly reducing deaths and cases, he repeatedly has warned against allowing complacency to slip in.
He strongly backed local police enforcement of social distancing rules like the mini-ticket blitz carried out by the NYPD as the warm spring weather sent New Yorkers out into parks and streets.
A relatively low 226 deaths were reported from Sunday, a much lower figure than recent days. Weekend figures tend to be lower, however, Cuomo noted.
New hospitalizations for COVID-19 also dropped again to a recent low of about 700 in the state.
The declining death toll marked a bright spot, although Cuomo is careful to be sensitive to the people the numbers represent.
That’s 226 wives or brothers or sisters that are mourning the loss of a loved one,” Cuomo said.
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