CORONAVIRUS IN NY STATE: Daily deaths drop below 100 to 84

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that the daily coronavirus death toll in New York state had dropped below 100 for the first time since March as he announced two more regions should be able to begin the gradual reopening process starting early next week.

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Cuomo said there were 84 deaths since Friday, bringing the death toll to 23,279. 

It's the first time the state hasn't reported more than 100 deaths in one day since the outbreak intensified in March. The largest number of deaths—799—were reported on April 9.

"The news is good news," Cuomo said. "Doesn’t do any good for those 84 families that are feeling the pain, but for me it’s just a sign that we’re making real progress."

There were a total of 358,154 cases of COVID-19 reported in the state as of Saturday.

Cuomo said new hospitalizations and total intubations are down, as is the net change in hospitalizations.

There were 208 new hospitalizations from Friday to Saturday, down from 225 over the previous 24-hour period, the governor said.

Cuomo also said the Mid-Hudson region and Long Island should be able to begin Phase 1 of reopening starting next week. Phase 1 includes manufacturing and construction, as well as curbside and in-store pickup for retail stores.

In the Mid-Hudson region, which includes Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster, Cuomo said the criteria has been met for a decline in the number of deaths.

“The only open issue is we have to train tracers,” Cuomo said of the region.

He said the region needs 1,991 contact tracers. A total of 2,207 have been identified, but another 857 need to be trained in addition to the 1,134 that have been trained so far.

Region coronavirus Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office

Cuomo said the state is hoping to reopen the Mid-Hudson region on Tuesday.

As for Long Island, Cuomo said the number of deaths is dropping and contact tracing is coming online.

“At this rate we could open on Wednesday,” Cuomo said of Long Island.

The governor again encouraged New Yorkers to get tested, saying there were 760 testing sites now operating in New York. Find out more about getting a test at coronavirus.health.ny.gov.

Cuomo dropped the state’s absolute ban on gatherings of any size Friday, issuing an executive order saying up to 10 people are now allowed to be together as long as they abide by other social distancing guidelines adopted during the coronavirus pandemic.

The order, issued on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend, represents one of the biggest steps yet the state has taken to loosen rules adopted in March that have barred anyone but essential workers from getting together unless they live in the same household.

It doesn’t necessarily pave the way for the backyard barbecues and group picnics that are a staple of the holiday. The order still requires people assembling to follow “social distancing protocols and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the Department of Health.”

That means people still need to stay at least 6 feet away from other people, or wear a face covering when they cannot maintain that distance in public.

On Saturday, Cuomo said just because the order was issued doesn't mean people should gather in groups of 10 if it can't be done safely.

"Two people is a risk, three people is a risk, four people is a risk, 10 people is a risk," Cuomo said. "Anyone of those people could be infected, love you to death, and still give you the coronavirus."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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