Gov. Andrew Cuomo said regions can start to reopen in 11 days, but added, "the truth is nobody knows what happens next."

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Hospitalizations in New York continue to decline, as it has for weeks, Cuomo noted on Monday during his COVID-19 briefing.

"The decline from the mountain is not as steep from the incline," Cuomo said.

He confirmed 226 New Yorkers died on Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 19,415.

Cuomo noted the number of lives lost each day isn't declining as fast as he hoped.

Cuomo said last week the CDC now realizes there are several different strains of COVID in the United States.

Many of the cases on the West Coast originated from China. Federal health officials note the COVID strain that appeared in New York did not appear to have come from China but from Europe.

Cuomo noted that many countries that reopened too soon had an "immediate backlash." He also quoted Dr. Anthony Fauci who said last week "we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter."

"The truth is no one knows what happens next and when. Nobody can know for sure," Cuomo said. "But we will be prepared for all possibilities. Nobody says you are going to eliminate the virus, but you can control the transmission. That is the best you can do."

Cuomo said you must look at the data when it comes to reopening and adjust as the information is learned.

"Reopening our state is far more complicated than shutting down was. If you open too quickly you can immediately have a backlash. Other countries have seen this. We must be smart," Cuomo tweeted during the briefing.

He said there will be at least four phases for reopening businesses in New York. Cuomo previously said each phase will last two weeks.

If the rate of transmission goes above 1.1 you must stop the reopening process, according to Cuomo.

He also said the state will be reopened regionally. He said New York City shouldn't impact other parts of the state.

New York will follow CDC guidelines for allowing regions to start opening targeted businesses:

  • Regions must have at least 14 days of decline in total hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average.
  • In regions with few COVID cases, regions can't exceed 15 new total cases or 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average.
  • Regions hospital capacity must not go above 70 percent
  • Regions rate of transmission of COVID-19 must not go above 1.1
  • Regions must have a testing capacity of 30 tests per 1,000 residents
  • Regions must have 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents

As of now, no region meets all the metrics, according to a graphic Cuomo tweeted.

"Some regions of New York are closer to reopening than others. Currently, no region meets all the requirements necessary to reopen safely and securely. There is a lot of work to do," he said.

Cuomo said the first businesses to reopen will be ones that most essential and the lowest risk of spreading the virus:

Phase 1:

  • Manufacturing and wholesale supply chain
  • Select retail with curbside pickup

Phase 2:

  • Finance and insurance
  • Retail
  • Administrative support
  • Real Estate/Rental Leasing

Phase 3:

  • Restaurants
  • Food Services
  • Hotels/Accommodations

Phase 4:

  • Arts
  • Entertainment
  • Recreation
  • Eduction

The New York State on PAUSE order expires on May 15. On May 15, regions can start to reopen, but Cuomo says each region must follow the guidelines.

He says businesses and regions must start preparing now for how they will reopen in the four-phased approach..