Governor to local governments: It’s up to you to stop spread of COVID-19

ALBANY COUNTY — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday that Western New York is expected to enter Phase 3 of reopening on Tuesday, June 16, and the Capital Region is expected to follow the next day, after a review of regional data by global public health experts.

Of the state’s 10 regions, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, and the Southern Tier are already in the third of four phases of reopening. Generally, this includes the opening of restaurants and food-services businesses as well as personal-care business. Guidelines and protocols are outlined on the state’s website.

Cuomo reported the state has reached the lowest number of hospitalizations and deaths since the pandemic began in New York.

Also on Saturday, he signed legislation repealing criminalization of wearing a mask in public. Cuomo had earlier issued an executive order requiring that New Yorkers wear face coverings while in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and this new law will remove any legal conflicts with an outdated provision banning the wearing of masks in public.

At Saturday’s press briefing, Cuomo said it was up to local governments to study the coronavirus data to control outbreaks. “When they find those positive cases, they have to trace those cases back. Where are people getting the virus? Are they getting it at work? Are they getting it at a restaurant? Are they getting it on the street corner? Are they getting it at protests? …

“I know it's tedious, but it's also very important. And I said to the local governments frankly yesterday: This is their job. And if they don’t do their job, then they’re going to have a really unpopular task, which is explaining to their local community why they have to slow or stop the reopening.”

Albany County announced on Saturday morning that the county now has 1,826 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 421 people under mandatory quarantine and four under precautionary quarantine. The five-day average for new daily positive cases remains at 5.4.

The county’s death toll for COVID-119 remains at 118.

So far, 5,248 Albany County residents have completed quarantine, with 1,608 of them having tested positive and recovered.

Ten county residents are hospitalized, bringing the hospitalization rate to 0.54 percent.

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