ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo extends the state’s broad emergency declarations, while the NY on pause order is still set to expire May 15.
The new order confused many, with news outlets across the state reporting that the PAUSE order had been extended. Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, clarified Executive Order 202.28 on Twitter:
The new order extends New York’s coronavirus emergency declaration until June 6. Had the order also extended NY on PAUSE, it would delay anticipated gradual reopenings of many upstate regions.
The criteria for reopening includes several factors, including the amount of testing per capita, the rolling average of new diagnoses, and the rate of decline of hospitalizations on a day-to-day basis. If a location meets these benchmarks by May 15, they can reopen.
The order makes it clear that it does not supersede future orders which could dictate that specific regions are allowed to reopen.
Part of the confusion stems from the way Cuomo’s executive orders are named. The initial emergency declaration on March 7—titled “No. 202 Declaring a Disaster Emergency in the State of New York”—has been amended 28 times by subsequent orders. The original “NY on PAUSE” order, featuring the 10-point plan, was 202.8.
All of the orders since March 7—including 202.8 and the most recent, 202.28—are subtitled “Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency.”
Cuomo, who has won bipartisan praise for rallying supplies for his ravaged hospitals and helping slow the coronavirus, is coming under increasing criticism for not bringing that same level of commitment to a problem that has so far stymied him: nursing homes.
In part-lecture, part-cheerleading briefings that have made him a Democratic counter to President Donald Trump, Cuomo has often seemed dismissive and resigned to defeat when asked about his state leading the nation in nursing home deaths.
“We’ve tried everything to keep it out of a nursing home, but it’s virtually impossible,” Cuomo told reporters. “Now is not the best time to put your mother in a nursing home. That is a fact.”
Residents’ relatives, health care watchdogs and lawmakers from both parties cite problems with testing and transparency that have prevented officials — and the public — from grasping the full scale of the catastrophe.
And they are second-guessing a state directive that requires nursing homes take on new patients infected with COVID-19 — an order they say accelerated outbreaks in facilities that are prime breeding grounds for infectious diseases.
“The way this has been handled by the state is totally irresponsible, negligent and stupid,” said Elaine Mazzotta, a nurse whose mother died last month of suspected COVID-19 at a Long Island nursing home. “They knew better. They shouldn’t have sent these people into nursing homes.”