New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday two regions bordering New York City are expected to reopen soon. Long Island and the Mid-Hudson region could reopen next week if deaths continue to decline and their contact tracing programs are in full-swing.
As of Friday, the Mid-Hudson region had met five out of seven metrics the state requires for reopening, according to New York's Regional Monitoring Dashboard. The Mid-Hudson region contains Westchester County, where a COVID-19 outbreak led to a "containment zone" in March, before New York's state-wide shutdown. Westchester is home to about one million residents, many who work in New York City.
Long Island has met five out of seven metrics, and New York City has met four. The remaining seven regions have met every metric needed to start reopening.
Every region of New York currently has a tracing program in place, according to Cuomo. But he said Long Island and Mid-Hudson still need to increase their numbers of contact tracers before reopening.
Cuomo said the state is sharing its tracing program, led by Michael Bloomberg, with the National Governors Association so that other states can implement a similar approach.
"New York is ahead. We have more advanced curriculum and training and protocols, so we're going to work with the NGA and make that available to any state that wants to use it," he said.
Another important threshold for reopening is the number of coronavirus tests administered in a region. According to Cuomo, New York has performed more tests per capita than any other state or country.
Cuomo said Friday that the state is launching a new pilot program to partner with 52 independent pharmacies that can conduct an additional 7,000 tests per week. With the new program New York will now have 750 testing sites statewide, he said.
"Our message is very simple: Get a test," the governor said. "We have state-run sites where we have more capacity than we're now performing tests. We have some drive-ins where we can do 15,000 tests. We're only doing 5,000 per day."
New York residents can go to coronavirus.health.ny.gov to find out which sites are closest to them.