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Gov: Nonessential businesses to remain closed through April 15

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said he had extended the executive order New York State on PAUSE, which mandates closure of nonessential businesses, through April 15.

“I am directing nonessential workforce to continue to work from home through April 15,” he said.

The closure of nonessential businesses began one week ago.

Other notes from Sunday’s briefing:

• A new, less intrusive saliva and short nasal swab test will soon be available for the coronavirus, the governor said.

He said the test can be self-administered in the presence of health care workers. And health care workers can self-administer it. It will start “as soon as next week,” he said.

The test helps limit exposure to health care workers, he said. It was developed by the State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center.

In terms of testing, Mr. Cuomo said developing an inexpensive home test that can be delivered in massive quantities will be a key to returning to a normal work force.

• “The virus continues its march across the State of New York,” the governor said, noting that all but two counties now have positive cases.

Total positive cases in the state have climbed to 59,513 and there have been 7,195 new cases. The Suffolk County total surpassed 5,000 following 885 new cases.

• A total of 8,503 people are currently hospitalized across the state with 2,037 in the intensive care unit. There have been 3,572 patients discharged, and those numbers are now on the upswing.

From March 18 to March 23, the number of daily discharged patients averaged around 125. By March 25, the number reached 450 and then nearly doubled to 846 by Saturday.

Mr. Cuomo said he expects the number of discharged patients to continue up as more people recover and no longer require hospitalization.

• The statewide total of deaths has climbed to 965, an increase from 728 on Saturday, the governor said. The percentage of cases that end with fatalities has been hovering around 1%. About 1/4 of the coronavirus deaths have been at nursing homes.

“We are lucky it’s only 1/4,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Nursing homes and coronavirus are a toxic mix. This virus prays on the vulnerable.”

He said the step to restrict visitors at nursing homes was a “harsh” but necessary measure.

• Mr. Cuomo spoke of the CDC’s travel advisory issued Saturday and said it’s consistent with what the state is already doing.

“This is not a lockdown,” he said. “It’s nothing we haven’t been doing.”

• Mr. Cuomo said an executive order in Rhode Island that would have allowed police to stop any cars with New York license plates has been repealed.