By Sara Dorn
Coronavirus deaths have hit a record low in New York, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said Saturday the “really really good news” allowed him to take steps to further reopen the state, including signing an executive order allowing commercial buildings to take the temperature of anyone entering.
COVID-19 killed 35 people across the state in the last 24 hours — down from a peak of over 700 fatalities a day in April.
“Our metrics are all, today, very good. We are going to open the valve more than we originally anticipated because the metrics are so good,” Cuomo said at his daily press conference in Albany. “Compared to where we were, this is a big sigh of relief.”
The numbers will mean an accelerated reopening of houses of worship, Cuomo said.
Synagogues, mosques and churches will be allowed to open at 25 percent capacity once the region they’re in hits the state’s phase 2 requirements, the governor said.
The religious leaders will be responsible for implementing social-distancing measures, Cuomo said.
“It doesn’t mean you go to a temple or a mosque and sit right next to a person. You have to socially distance,” he said. “We leave it to our faith-based partners to come up with a smart strategy and way to do this.
“This is an acceleration for us because we are doing so well on the metrics, but people still have to stay smart.”
Friday’s death toll, which included 26 fatalities in hospitals and nine in nursing homes, broke Thursday’s record-low of 42 deaths statewide.
New York City earlier this week for the first time reported no new COVID-19 deaths in a single day.
As the city prepares to enter phase one of reopening on Monday, with construction, manufacturing and curbside retail returning to work, Cuomo said the executive order allows all commercial buildings to take the temperatures of anyone entering.
“When you go back to work, it doesn’t mean we are going back to the way we were. It’s about going forward and finding a new normal with new behavior and new patterns in the workplace,” he said.