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Cuomo says new executive order will call for face masks to be provided for essential workers

Office of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo

(AP & WXXI News) New York is wrapping up its worst week in deaths so far of the coronavirus outbreak, but there were a few signs of hope.

At the end of the day Saturday, there were 18,707 people hospitalized with the virus in the state. That was up only 73 since the previous day.

The bad news has been that large numbers of people are still dying every day. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that 758 people died Saturday, the sixth day in a row that the toll topped 700.

In all, 5,226 people were killed by the virus in the week that ended Saturday. That's raised the total number of deaths in the state to 9,385.

Cuomo also said on Sunday that he would sign an executive order directing employers to provide essential workers with a cloth or surgical face mask for employees to wear when they directly interact with the public.

Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio remained at odds Sunday on the mayor's plan to close schools in the nation's largest district.

De Blasio announced Saturday that the public school sites in the city's 1.1 million-student school district would close for the rest of the academic year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

After Cuomo challenged de Blasio's authority to do it, the mayor doubled down on Sunday by saying, "We were quite certain it was the right thing to do."

Two hours later, Cuomo repeated his position that school closings would have to be coordinated with districts surrounding the city.

Talk of closing schools for the year is "premature," the governor said at his own briefing. "I don't think anyone can make an informed decision right now."

De Blasio said his goal to reopen school sites by September, adding that high school graduates may have to go without a commencement ceremony.

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