Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that New York’s North Country has met the state’s criteria to begin a phased-in reopening.
It joins the Rochester-Finger Lakes region, the Southern Tier and the Mohawk Valley to begin reopening manufacturing and construction firms that can do so safely, as early as this weekend.
But Cuomo said people in those regions have to be cautious and heed warnings by White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci about the dangers of reinfection if the reopening is too rapid. He said the data will have to be closely monitored.
“If you see those numbers starting to move, you will know if you’re reopening too soon,” Cuomo said. “And if you see that virus spreading.”
Other parts of the state still face obstacles to reopening, including a hospitalization or death rate that is not yet declining, and inadequate numbers of extra hospital beds.
Cuomo also announced that 12 more counties can begin elective surgical procedures, under some restrictions, including most of the Capital Region’s counties. Hospitals have been losing hundreds of millions of dollars, and many have had to lay off staff.
The governor also addressed the worrisome incidences of children being hospitalized for a disorder that's believed to be related to the coronavirus and is similar to Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome.
He said the state Department of Health is investigating 102 cases, and three children have died. He said the children have all tested positive for the virus or have the presence of antibodies indicating that they had the virus, possibly weeks before the onset of the symptoms. In 71% of the cases, the children were treated in the intensive care unit, and 43% are still in the hospital.
Fourteen other states and five European countries also have reported similar cases.
Cuomo said one of those who died was an 18-year-old young woman. He said he worries about his own 22-year-old daughter.
“This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Cuomo said.
State health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker will host a webinar Thursday for all health care providers in the state to help them learn how to recognize the symptoms and what testing and treatments are recommended.
Cuomo said parents of children who may have been exposed to COVID-19 need to take extra precautions, and hospitals have been told to immediately test any child with any of the symptoms for the virus.