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Cuomo: DOH finalizing guidance on possible school reopening in September; casinos & movie theaters to remain closed as government reviews facts

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Mon, Jul 6th 2020 02:45 pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced the New York State Department of Health, in consultation with the Reimagine Education Advisory Council and others, is finalizing guidance on the possible reopening of schools in September. New York state previously directed all school districts to develop reopening plans. A decision on whether to reopen schools in September has not been made yet.

Cuomo said, “There has been no decision yet as to whether or not we are reopening schools. We obviously very much would like to. Nobody even knows the effect that this is going to have on students, socialization of young students, etc. We want kids back in school for a number of reasons, but we're not going to say children should go back to school until we know it's safe. We have some time. This is a very fluid situation. When we get the data, we will make a decision. In the meantime, I am telling all school districts to come up with a reopening plan.

“We don't yet know if we are going to reopen and we'll follow the data and we'll make a decision on the data. The Department of Health is also working on this. Every school district is coming up with a plan to reopen, that doesn't mean they are reopening.”

Cuomo also announced casinos and movie theaters will currently remain closed as the state government continues to review the science and facts on their safe reopening.

That decision does not apply to the Seneca Gaming Corp. properties, which operate on sovereign land.

He explained New York state will make industry recommendations on the use of air filtration technology to potentially eliminate the spread of COVID-19 through air conditioning systems. As evidence emerges that COVID-19 spread is linked more to airborne transmission than to surface area transmission, New York is studying filters, their compatibility with existing air systems, the expense of modifications to air conditioning systems and other factors.

The governor said, “There are filters that systems install – HEPA filters are one of them – and then a series of filters that are rated by the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value – MERV value. And the most dense filters can actually filter out the virus, which is remarkable and interesting. Nothing is simple with this virus. It depends on the air conditioning system you have whether or not it can take one of these higher filters and still operate. And different systems take different filters. And we're working through that now.

“We're spending time on it because I think there's a real possibility that we could actually have a positive contribution here. And different HVAC systems have different capacities, but we're working through this now, because if there is a way to filter the air and there's a way to get COVID out of the air, then we want to do that. And if we can do that without an exorbitant expense for existing HVAC systems, it's something we have to look at. So, we're in the midst of that now and as soon as we know something we will make it public.”

Cuomo also announced the New York State Fair will be cancelled this summer out of an abundance of caution.

"We are closely monitoring the gauges on the reopening valve to see if the infection or hospitalization rate is going up, and we will tighten or loosen the valve as necessary depending on the data. If we see spikes in data or lack of compliance, we will slow down the reopening valve and adjust as necessary," Cuomo said. "New York City goes into phase three (Tuesday), but with no indoor dining. The numbers show we are right where we want to be, but what's happening around the country is a cold reminder that we need to continue being cautious and smart and disciplined – no one wants to go back to the hell that we went through."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient hospitalization – 817 (down 15)
  • Patients newly admitted – 45 (down 9)
  • Hospital counties - 28
  • Number ICU – 170 (down 8)
  • Number ICU with intubation – 103 (down 13)
  • Total discharges – 71,040 (up 72)
  •  – 9
  • Total deaths – 24,913

Of the 54,328 tests conducted in New York yesterday, 518, or 0.95%, were positive. Each region's percentage of positive tests over the past three days is as follows:

 

REGION

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Capital Region

0.90%

0.60%

1.00%

Central New York

1.40%

1.50%

1.70%

Finger Lakes

0.70%

0.90%

1.10%

Long Island

1.00%

0.80%

0.90%

Mid-Hudson

1.10%

0.80%

0.90%

Mohawk Valley

1.20%

1.10%

1.10%

New York City

1.40%

0.90%

0.90%

North Country

0.30%

0.60%

0.40%

Southern Tier

0.90%

0.30%

0.70%

Western New York

1.40%

0.70%

1.20%

 

The governor also confirmed 518 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 397,649 confirmed.

The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at forward.ny.gov.

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