After two days of slow but steady progress, the Western New York Region is almost ready to begin Phase 1 of the state's reopening process.

According to figures posted Sunday on the State of New York's New York Forward website, the region, which includes Allegany and Cattaraugus counties, has met six of the seven metrics the state is using to determine if a region can reopen.

"There's been a shift in the Capital Region and in Western New York where on the seven metrics ... they are now qualified for reopening," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday during his daily coronavirus briefing.

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The state's Phase 1 regulations permit agriculture, construction, fishing, forestry, hunting, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade businesses to reopen.

Prior to Sunday's report, neither the Western New York nor the Capital regions had met the metrics for hospitalizations and hospital deaths. The new numbers show the two regions have met both of these criteria. According to a report in the Times Union, a newspaper in New York's capital region, the state recalibrated the metrics.

The metrics require a three-day average of less than five deaths; the Western New York three-day average was listed as three deaths on Sunday's report. Saturday's number was nine. 

For hospitalizations, the metrics require a three-day average of less than 15 hospitalizations. The three-day average in Western New York was listed as zero on Sunday. The number was 28 on Saturday's report.

Cuomo said the Western New York and Capital regions still need to increase the number of people who can conduct contact tracing, but he called the process "a pure administrative function."

The state metrics require 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents of a region. According to governor, Western New York needs an additional 352 contact tracers to reach the required number of 521, and the Capital Region needs 166 more tracers to reach the required number of 383.

"We'll be talking to the regional heads today to find those additional personnel and get them trained and get them ready," Cuomo said Sunday. "But that's the only function that has to be performed for those regions to open. And again, that's something that we anticipated, and that's just administrative and working together with the regions. We can get that done. So, that's good news."

Five of New York's 10 regions have met all seven standards and reopened Friday.

Sunday's report showed the Western New York Region still is in compliance with the other metrics:

  • New hospitalizations under two per 100,000 residents on a three-day rolling average. The WNY rate is 1.18.
  • Share of total hospital beds available (threshold of 30%). The WNY percentage is 44%.
  • Share of total intensive care unit beds (threshold of 30%). The WNY percentage is 57%.
  • 30 tests per 1,000 residents monthly (based on a seven-day average of new tests per day). WNY has 1,875 tests per 100,000 residents.

For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.

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