TARRYTOWN (CN) — New York’s rates of Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths are at their lowest point since the state emerged as a global epicenter of the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
“New York scaled the highest mountain and went from the worst situation with this Covid virus to the best situation with this Covid virus,” Cuomo said, giving his daily press conference at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Westchester side of the Hudson River bridge renamed for his father, the late New York Governor Mario Cuomo.
A day earlier, New York tested some 56,611 people and found that just 1.1% people tested positive for Covid-19, Cuomo announced Monday.
While New York has 383,944 confirmed infections, hospitalizations in the state were down Sunday to 1,608 — the lowest level since the pandemic began in March.
Over the weekend, 25 people in New York died on Sunday due to Covid-19; 37 had on died on Friday and 32 on Saturday, which is the lowest level on a three-day average since the pandemic began.
As of midnight Sunday, according to data from the New York Department of Health, 24,579 have died in state from the virus.
Citing concerns about upticks in Covid infection in others states across the country, Cuomo urged local governments to enforce state guidelines and to gradually reopen their regions along state guidelines.
“If the reopening doesn’t control the virus, it’s going to make the economy worse,” Cuomo said Monday. “That’s what we said, and all the voices said ‘No, reopen, reopen, open, liberate, free us, free us.’
“Yeah, ‘free us’, free us to hurt ourselves and decline,” he continued. “And you know what? That’s exactly what you see happening right now; reopening, reopening, reopening, wasn’t done smartly, wasn’t done on the facts, wasn’t monitored and now people are seeing a second wave — 22 states’ numbers going up.
Cuomo had simple advice to municipal leaders: “I say do your job.”
“Compliance is hard,” he said. “Why? Because people have been cooped up for a long time, and they want to do what they want to do. … But we have to stay smart. And if local governments don’t enforce compliance, they’re not doing anyone a favor.
“We know the alternative,” Cuomo said. “You’re seeing all across the nation, the virus actually increasing. We have 22 states where the virus is increasing.”
“We are the exception here in New York. God bless us, but we are the exception. We don’t want the same plight of these other states,” Cuomo said. “Talk about a great irony — one of our concerns now in New York is that people from the other states that have a high rate of increase of Covid virus may start traveling to New York.
“Remember when we started,” Cuomo asked, “other states were saying we don’t want people from New York coming to our states because we’re afraid they’ll bring the virus? Well now, we’re afraid people from the other states might come here and increase the viral spread.
“My health officials are saying we hope people from Florida don’t come here,” Cuomo added, a slight jab at Florida Governor Don DeSantis, who issued an executive order in March that required those who travel to Florida from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the state.
Cuomo on Monday also explored Phase 3 of the state’s reopening guidelines, saying it would now allow gatherings of up to 25 people, up from the limit of 10.
Phase 3, which includes the reopening of dine-in restaurants, spas and gyms, has already begun in five regions: Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Southern Tier.
Cuomo said that global public health experts have cleared western New York to enter Phase 3 Tuesday. A region surrounding the state capitol in Albany meanwhile is on track to enter Phase 3 Wednesday, June 17.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio typically holds a daily briefing prior to Cuomo’s conference but canceled all public appearances Monday.
A spokeswoman tweeted that De Blasio “woke up feeling under the weather and is going to take the day to recuperate and work from home.”
The mayor’s spontaneous sick day comes after a third week of civil unrest in New York City, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day, which put De Blasio in the spotlight for imposing a weeklong overnight curfew and increasing funding for the NYPD.
Cuomo meanwhile announced the signing Monday of additional police-reform legislation that will require state and local law enforcement officers to report within six hours when they discharge their weapon. Other aspects of the bill require courts to compile and publish racial and other demographic data of all low-level offenses; and for police officers to provide medical and mental health attention to individuals in custody.
In addition to speaking about police reform and the coronavirus, Cuomo helped cut the ribbon on a 3.6-mile path dedicated for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
With one foot in Tarrytown and the other in Nyack, the span across the Hudson River had previously been called the Tappan Zee.
Cuomo’s father was a three-term governor in office for 11 years. A petition to return the bridge’s old name has collected over 118,000 signatures.