The order for non-essential employees to work from home and bans non-essential gatherings of any size in New York State amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been extended through the Passover and Easter holidays, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The PAUSE measure in which only essential businesses can have workers commuting took effect Sunday night, March 22. It's now in effect until Wednesday, April 15.
That means there can be no religious services or large gatherings during Passover (which begins Wednesday evening, April 8 and ends on Thursday, April 16) or Easter (Sunday, April 12).
"It's hard, it's hard," Cuomo said. "But at the same time, look at what happened in New Rochelle. Those gatherings were religious gatherings and brought hundreds of people together, which was beautiful, but it made many, many people ill.
"Density is the enemy here for this particular period of time. Worship the way you can, but the gatherings are just not a good idea."
Cuomo also revealed the New Rochelle attorney who was diagnosed as the first COVID-19 positive case in Westchester is no longer being hospitalized.
"The patient we call Patient Zero in New Rochelle who was very sick for a very long time has left the hospital," Cuomo said.
Under PAUSE, there are extra measures for members of the vulnerable population. (See second image above.)
The extension means bars and restaurants will stay closed, but takeout can be ordered now through April 15. In addition all barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing salons, nail salons, hair removal services and related personal care services will remain closed to the public Casinos, gyms, theaters, retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys are also closed.
The announcement came at a midday news conference in Albany on Sunday, March 29 in Albany as the number of deaths related to COVID-19 increased to 965 from 728 on Saturday, March 28.
In addition, a total of 4,002 new cases have been reported the last 24 hours, bringing the state's total number of cases to 59,513. For a breakdown of New York City and the nine counties in New York State with the most cases, see the third image above.
Cuomo also announced New York's Wadsworth Lab has developed a less intrusive saliva and nasal swab COVID-19 test that healthcare workers can administer. It could be ready to be used as soon as next week.
In addition, the total number of healthcare specialists who have volunteered to return to the workforce to join the fight against the pandemic has reached 76,000. For a breakdown of the positions, see the fourth image above.
Cuomo also announced Rhode Island repealed an executive order in which vehicles with New York plates were stopped and the border and quarantines were ordered after he spoked with the state's governor, Gina Raimondo, and said he questioned the legality of the measure and considered it non-neighborly.
"The Rhode Island governor was very receptive and I thank her for reconsidering her position," Cuomo said.
For a look at states with the most COVID-19 cases and deaths, see the fifth image above.
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