NYC Issues New Face Covering Guidance; Cuomo OKs School Reopening if Infections Low

Schools in New York can reopen in the fall if their regional infection rate maintains a daily infection rate 5% or lower over a 14-day average, Gov. Cuomo said Monday

What to Know

  • New Yorkers should wear a mask or face covering indoors at all times regardless if social distancing can be met, Mayor Bill de Blasio said
  • Child care services reopen in New York City for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began
  • The New York governor offered clarity on the formula used by the state to determine a region's ability to open schools in the fall

On the heels of a 24-hour period without coronavirus deaths in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio and city health officials are issuing new guidance for wearing face coverings indoors.

New Yorkers should wear a mask or face covering indoors at all times, even at work and in large spaces regardless if social distancing can be met, de Blasio said Monday morning.

Although the city's key coronavirus indicators have looked favorable in recent weeks, Mayor de Blasio said infection rates in young adults is cause for concern. Infections are up in adults ages 20 to 29 even as other ages groups are experiencing mostly flat or declining rates of coronavirus infections. A

Ten new coronavirus testing sites will open in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, the mayor announced. Eight sites are already open and the last two will be open shortly, he said. Despite a growing access to free testing in the city, nationwide outbreaks have led to an overwhelming volume in testing and subsequent delay in lab results, de Blasio said.

During his daily briefing, the mayor called on President Trump again to deploy the Defense Product Act to mobilize resources to meet the demands of virus prevention and treatment in the county.

"It's a real sad statement on America that are ability to protect ourselves in a health crisis was allowed to atrophy so badly," de Blasio said.  

Roughly 3,000 child care centers in New York City are allowed to reopen in New York City following a monthslong closure.. Erica Byfield reports.

As New York City reopens child care services for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, anxious parents hope to get more answers from the state as to what schooling will look like when classes begin in the fall.

The state Education Department presented a framework for the long-awaited reopening guidance to the Board of Regents on Monday, with the full guidance to come later. While Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state has maintained a “low and stable” number of people testing positive for coronavirus, the numbers of cases in other states like Florida are troubling.

"You reopen if it is safe to reopen. You look at the data," Cuomo said. "We will not use our children as guinea pigs."

The New York governor offered clarity on the formula used by the state to determine a region's ability to open schools in the fall. In order to reopen, he said, the school's region must be in Phase IV and maintain a daily infection rate 5% or lower over a 14-day average. Schools will immediately close if the regional rate shoots past 9% over a seven-day average after August 1.

If the reopening of 3,000 child care centers in New York City is at all what schooling will look like in August, kids will be subjected to health screenings and parents will be given health questionnaires before drop-off. A maximum of 15 children are allowed inside a room at the same time. Lunch will be provided using plexiglass dividers and there will be no sharing of food or toys.

Prior to the opening of child care centers, it was announced face covering would not be mandated for children. Following Mayor de Blasio's updated guidance Monday morning, its not clear what rule takes priority.

With new coronavirus cases on the rise throughout the country, several districts in other states have announced plans to continue distance learning online, either exclusively or as part of a mix that includes limited in-person classes.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last week announced such a hybrid plan for the nation's largest district that would put most students inside their physical schools just two or three days a week. Schools can’t accommodate all their students and maintain safe social distancing, he said.

Cuomo, however, said it is up to him to decide whether the state's approximately 700 school districts can open at all. He has instructed districts to submit plans for reopening by July 31 and said state officials will decide in the first week of August whether to accept the plans — and whether schools will reopen in the fall at all.

If they reopen, Sen. Chuck Schumer says school districts need federal help to reopen safely because they may not be able to afford necessary supplies. The Senate Minority Leader said Sunday that local school budgets will be crushed if they have to cover the cost of PPE and clean supplies. He's calling on Congress to pass the COVID-4 Act which will allocate $175 billion to schools across the country.

New York reported five coronavirus deaths on Sunday, matching an all-time low number for the state (and New York City on Sunday report no new deaths for the first time in four months) but Cuomo said the rising number of cases elsewhere is concerning.

Testing in the tri-state that used to take just a couple days has now been delayed a week or more due to the spike in other parts of the country. NBC New York's Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

“Today's numbers remain low and stable, but it is up to us to keep it that way,” Cuomo said in a written statement, urging people to wear masks and socially distance.

State health officials are monitoring an uptick in cases in Rensselaer County, which they said could be linked to several people who tested positive for the virus after returning from Georgia. The county posted 23 new cases Sunday.

A new emergency order will require travelers from designated states to provide contact info when entering New York, Cuomo announced at this briefing Monday. People who do not provide information upon arrival face $2,000 fines and mandatory quarantine.

Statewide, more than 800 people were hospitalized with the virus, at least 100 who were on ventilators. As of Monday, New York's coronavirus death toll was at 24,989.

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