NY Democratic Governor Cuomo says some COVID restrictions may be lifted imminently
New York Republican councilman Joe Borelli blames the governor for delays in his state’s vaccination rollout.
Cuomo says he expects to make a statewide announcement midweek loosening restrictions, as his administration believes New York is at the tail-end of the holiday-induced spike.
"From the increased celebrations we believe [coronavirus cases] went up … we believe we’re seeing a flattening and reduction,"’ Cuomo said during a press conference on Monday. "When [cases] are down, open up the valve, allow more economic activity through the pipes."
The New York Department of Health is currently reviewing state data, the Democratic governor said.
Items like elective surgies are likely to be affected.
On Monday, the governor’s office reported total hospitalizations at 8,730 and a 5.47% positive rate.
As previously reported by Fox News, Cuomo said earlier this month that the state could not maintain lockdown measures until the vaccine reached critical mass because the cost was "too high."
"We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely," Cuomo said during his state of the state address.
In order to reopen the New York economy safely, Cuomo said he planned to open hundreds of additional "pop-up" rapid testing sites for people to get tested hours before they eat at a restaurant, visit an arts center or engage in a social activity.
Rapid testing procedures alongside a growing number of vaccinated individuals will give the state the means to reopen safely, the Democratic governor said.
The state is facing a coronavirus-related budget hole of $15 billion.
Like many states, New York shut down completely at the outset of the pandemic in the spring.
In the summer, the state shifted to a policy of targeting so-called "hot spots," where businesses were closed within specified areas when confirmed cases climbed above a certain percentage threshold.
Meanwhile, New York’s coronavirus vaccine rollout -- like others throughout the United States -- has proceeded at a slower-than-expected pace.
On Monday Cuomo reiterated that a shortage of vaccine doses was a national problem, and expressed his frustration alongside the state’s residents.
The move would come the same week California said it was lifting a regional order that called on residents to stay home except for "essential activities" as the state cited "positive signs" about the spread of COVID-19.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has long been one of the most hawkish state executives on pandemic restrictions. He imposed the first statewide shutdown in March. Newsom instituted this more recent regional stay-at-home order in early December before extending it in late December.
Fox News' Tyler Olson contributed to this report.