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Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo announced that Western New York has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state’s regional phased reopening plan starting tomorrow, joining the Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley Regions. Western New York has now identified enough contact tracers to meet the state’s guidelines, and the tracers are being trained today in preparation for Western New York entering phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup; and agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Business guidance for phase one of the state’s reopening plan is available here. A guide to the state’s “NY Forward Reopening” Plan is available here. The state’s regional monitoring dashboard is available here.

Governor Cuomo also announced the State Department of Health has granted Erie County Medical Center a waiver to restart elective procedures.

The Governor also announced new efforts to bring more tests to nursing home facilities to help these facilities meet new guidelines mandating that all nursing homes and adult care facilities test all personnel for COVID-19 two times per week. The state is connecting nursing home facilities with labs to get more tests to these facilities, and so far the labs have reserved at least 35,000 tests per day just for this purpose. The state is also sending 320,000 test kits to nursing homes statewide this week.

The Governor also encouraged major sports teams to plan reopening without fans and offered the state’s help on this effort.

“Even with the highest number of cases in the country, New Yorkers responded with great unity and discipline and have done a phenomenal job in reducing the spread of the virus and flattening the curve,” Governor Cuomo said. Reopening is now our big topic of discussion, and we are making these decisions based on the facts, science, and data, but we still need New Yorkers to continue to do their part to ensure those numbers don’t go back up as regions and businesses reopen.”

Finally, the Governor confirmed 1,250 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 351,371 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 351,371 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, there are 109 cases reported in Herkimer County with 3 deaths.