As New York enters Phase 3 reopenings, the city and state are continuing to take precautions to keep COVID-19 out and not end up like several states across the nation that are seeing record spikes in cases.
Even with all of the efforts to keep COVID-19 cases at bay, New York saw an uptick in cases. Reports indicate that last Monday, only .84% of people tested came back positive for COVID-19. By the end of the week that number rose to 1.38%; however, it then went down to 1.16%. Last Friday, the state reported 918 new COVID-19 infections for the first time in three weeks.
Officials attribute the slight increase to people traveling to places where COVID-19 is on the rise at dangerous levels. However, several reports from the holiday weekend showed instances of people in large crowds not social distancing and/or not wearing masks in New York. Beaches, outdoor bars and parks were prime locations where New Yorkers did not follow guidelines and potentially spread COVID-19.
“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,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “If we see spikes in data or lack of compliance, we will slow down the reopening valve and adjust as necessary,”
Cuomo issued a travel advisory for 19 states including Florida, California, Texas and, more recently, Oklahoma and Delaware. The states currently have high transmission rates and anyone traveling from those states must quarantine for 14 days upon entering New York State.
Numbers still remain low in New York City where Mayor Bill de Blasio reported on Tuesday that the number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19 that day was only 58 patients, the number of people in ICU was 295, and the percentage of people tested citywide who tested positive for COVID-19 was 2%.
New York City entered Phase 3 reopenings on Monday allowing tattoo parlors, spas, and nail and tanning salons to open. Also, dog runs, basketball, handball, tennis, bocce and volleyball courts opened in city parks. Indoor dining remains prohibited.
“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,” Cuomo said.
One concern many parents have had since the start of the pandemic is the issue of childcare. On Tuesday the New York City Board of Health voted in favor of reopening 3,000 childcare centers across the five boroughs next week. Childcare centers must follow strict guidelines including face coverings for children and staff, no more than 15 children in a room and limited toy sharing.
“We through our Bureau of Childcare will ensure that childcare programs get all of the technical assistance they need before opening to make sure that they do so safely. And we will be resuming inspections of these centers,” said City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot.