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With parts of New York poised to reopen, Cuomo urges caution: "Follow the facts"

Regions of N.Y. state to begin reopening
Regions of N.Y. state to begin reopening 04:36

New York is poised to reopen parts of the state on Friday, 75 days after the state reported its first coronavirus case. Governor Andrew Cuomo urged people to remain cautious as some businesses are allowed to open their doors for the first time in two months. 

"Phased reopening does not mean the problem has gone away," Cuomo said on Thursday, adding that decisions about reopening should be made "in a calibrated way."

"Follow the data, follow the science, follow the facts, follow the metrics," he said.

The governor said that daily monitoring of numbers is the first priority for local governments, who are in charge of managing the phased reopening of the state. "We have 10 different regions, each one is a little different," Cuomo said.

The state created a dashboard that tracks reopening metrics, such as a 14-day decline in hospitalizations and deaths, as well as the number of administered tests and contact tracers deployed in an area. Of the 10 regions in New York, five have met all seven metrics. Those regions include: Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and the Southern Tier. 

New York City, Long Island and Western New York have only met four of the seven metrics. New York City is the only region that has not met the metric for "share of ICU beds available." As of Thursday, the city has only 22% available, putting it well below every other region and the 30% threshold required for reopening. 

"I would urge local governments to be diligent about the business compliance and about individual compliance," Cuomo said. "If you see a change in those numbers, react immediately."

The governor spoke as the number of children diagnosed with a mystery illness linked to COVID-19 is growing in the region. Cuomo said there were now 110 cases statewide of the illness in children that scientists believe is related to COVID-19. The governor said 16 other states are investigating cases, along with six European countries.

Pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome has already been blamed for three pediatric deaths in New York state, including a 5-year-old boy from the Bronx, as well as a 7-year-old boy and 18-year-old girl. There are now at least 82 cases in New York City, more than double from Monday.

The state has found 60% of those with symptoms test positive for COVID and 40% test positive for the antibodies.

"That means children either currently had the virus or could have had it several weeks ago," Cuomo said Wednesday. "Because it presents after fact, doesn't present as normal COVID case… it's more of a cardiac case than a respiratory case, which is a new manifestation of the COVID virus."

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