Cuomo Lets Albany Reopen, Cites ‘Great Progress’ on Long Island

(Bloomberg) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the Albany area is ready to begin reopening, and Long Island is making “great progress” toward ending its lockdown, as statewide hospitalizations, intubations and new admissions and deaths for Covid-19 continue to decline.

The Capital Region is the seventh of 10 regions that have met the required metrics, Cuomo said Tuesday at a press briefing. Along with Long Island, New York City and the Mid-Hudson region remain on lockdown.

Cuomo held his briefing on Long Island at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, the research arm of Northwell Health, New York’s largest private employer and health-care provider. Two weeks ago, an average of 100 Long Island residents were dying every day from Covid-19; today the average is 13, Cuomo said. Statewide, there were 105 virus-related fatalities on May 18, a decline of one from the day before, and well below a high of 799 in April.

“The news is good today,” Cuomo said. “We are basically back to where we started before this tragedy descended upon us.”

Nassau County on Long Island is now eligible for elective surgery and ambulatory care, Cuomo said. Statewide, 16 hospitals, including some in New York City, are beginning a two-week pilot program to allow increased visitations for family members and loved ones. Visitors are time-limited, must wear personal-protective equipment and agree to symptom and temperature checks.

New York is reopening beaches for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, in concert with neighboring states including New Jersey. Local governments can have holiday ceremonies with 10 people or less, and vehicle parades are allowed, Cuomo said Tuesday.

One positive outcome of the virus, Cuomo said, is that the city’s mass-transit system will be much improved. The state and city have stepped up cleaning of the trains and buses to protect essential workers that rely on the system.

“Talk about being better for this experience,” Cuomo said. “I believe the MTA is going to be better for this, and the service is going to be better.”

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