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What do Western New York leaders say is the key to reopening?

As more and more COVID-19 testing arrives here in Western New York, medical experts say there are bound to be many more positive cases.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As more and more COVID-19 testing arrives here in Western New York, medical experts tell us there are bound to be many more positive cases.

How would that impact efforts to reopen Western New York? 

First we asked Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown this question: Could the region open up if there are still hot spots, in your opinion, if we're seeing more positive cases?

Brown responded:  "We'd still have to maintain social distancing, we'd still have to reduce and in some cases continue to eliminate mass gatherings. But the potential is good that we could start opening up if we see hospitalizations for COVID-19 reducing in the community."

Then there's also the region's second largest community.  As we reported earlier this month, the town of Amherst with its population of 126,000 has been working in parallel with state and county officials to develop its own reopening and recovery plan.

So would higher positive case numbers affect them?

 Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa says, "Obviously positive rates will go up with more testing. Hospitalization is just kind of a number that let's us see the real condition ... what's happening."

Kulpa says it would be a graduated approach. And as for a possible timeline, he says, "We could be talking about a 25 percent operation in a couple of weeks sure. And then we may start to ratchet up from there. My hope, my hope is that by middle of June a lot of businesses are back open."

We also wanted to speak with Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul who is Governor Cuomo's designated adviser on how to reopen Western New York. We wanted to see what key factor she would focus on for the go ahead.

We were told she was not available Friday evening.

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