ALBANY, N.Y. — The total number of hospitalizations and new COVID-19 cases is continuing to decrease across New York State.
More than half the state has started to reopen following Governor Andrew Cuomo's PAUSE order. However, Western New York still has not met the proper criteria to begin the phased reopening.
Based on recent data gathered last week by the state, the newest cases of COVID-19 are coming from people who are not working. Governor Andrew Cuomo says the infection rate among essential workers is lower than the infection rate of the general population.
Dr. Howard Zucker, commissioner for the New York State Department of Health, says they will learn more about this spread as they continue to execute contact tracing.
Zucker added that contact tracing is just beginning. Currently the state has several hundred tracers for the five regions of the state that are "open." However, data is not available at this time.
New York State announced Saturday morning that horse racing tracks across the state can reopen without fans starting June 1. The governor added that Watkins Glen will also be opening. Cuomo says the state will be issuing guidance on how they can open safely in the coming week.
"The numbers have been steadily decreasing and we're now right about where we were when we started, but we want to make sure we don't go back to the hell that we've gone through," Governor Cuomo said. "We have a smart phased reopening plan that has been reviewed by experts, and half of the state is in the process of reopening.
"Now we're getting a little more nuanced in our analysis and starting to look for economic activities that we can start without crowds and gatherings - in this state we can do that with horse racing tracks and car racing at Watkins Glen and we're going to do that starting June 1."
Cuomo once again stressed the need for federal help. He says New York State is in a $61 billion hole and needs assistance to fund schools, hospitals, and local governments.