The road from where we stand today to a potential 'phase one' reopening in the Mohawk Valley and Central New York regions could still be a ways away. And from there, officials hope it is the first step to fast and safe total reopening.

However, the numbers needed to meet certain criteria laid out by Governor Cuomo that would allow for reopening aren't yet there in at least one category, possibly two, for both the Central New York and Mohawk Valley Regions. It's important to understand that the two regions are now being considered one. That means if one region isn't meeting those benchmarks set forth by Cuomo, it would delay the 'opening' of the other.

And, when asked, if a sudden spike in numbers in one county of a given region was so large the it skewed a whole region's overall numbers, would that delay the other counties withing the region from reopening? Even if all of the other counties in the region met the governor's seven criteria required.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said,  ''I suppose it would.''

That possibility, although unlikely, now seems twice as dangerous for each of the two regions.

Where We're Lacking

As of Thursday afternoon, statistics at the New York Forward page on the governor's website listed the following numbers for the 7 categories. As you can see, both Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are in the 'red' in the testing catergory labeled, requiring 30 tests per one thousand residnets tested monthly.

New York Forward stats as of Thursday, May 7, 2020. via governor,
New York Forward stats as of Thursday, May 7, 2020. via governor,

Both regions are feverishly working to grow those numbers with the addition of diagnostic testing locations, including one at Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome. Picente believes that number could be achieved by the end of next week.

But, what that number reflects exactly could be in question.

Oneida County Public Health Director Phyllis Ellis indicated there was possible confusion about whether that number referred to diagnostic tests actually conducted, or the capacity to perform such dianostic tests.

The issue it could create is this: If people aren't sick, and aren't getting tested because they aren't sick, would the regions be penalized for not hitting a quota of tests? Even though the number of sick people isn't increasing?

The second category both CNY and MV are 'red' is ''At least 30 contract tracers per 100k residents.''

New York Forward stats as of Thursday, May 7, 2020. via governor,
New York Forward stats as of Thursday, May 7, 2020. via governor,

However, during his daily briefing on Thursday, Picente said based on numbers he'd seen, he was 'confident' that the Mohawk Valley Region had, or would have, an adequate number of contact tracers - those involved in investigation of COVID-19 cases.

In Picente's view, the outstanding issue is testing. Something for Assemblywoman and current NYS OGS Commissioner Roann Destito was talking about earlier on Thursday.

While each region is responsible for submitting its own comprehensive plan for reopening, guidance given on governor's website offers this general blueprint for stages:

Phase One

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing and wholesale supply chain
  • Select retail using curbside pickup only

Phase Two

  • Professional services
  • Finance and insurance
  • Retail
  • Administrative support
  • Real estate and rental leasing

Phase Three

  • Restaurants and food service
  • Hotels and accommodations

Phase Four

  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Education
 There are also unanswered questions as to when a region could advance from one phase to the next. Every week? Every other week? Will it be based on active cases, tests?

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is schedule to join the Keeler in the Morning Show Friday to discuss. You can submit questions to the show via the WIBX 950 app.



PHOTOS: Family Brings Ranch Animals to Visit Residents of Assisted Living Center



More From 96.1 The Eagle