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New York COVID-19 numbers trend downward; businesses in some states reopen

New York COVID-19 numbers trend downward; businesses in some states reopen
Signs with messages about the Coronavirus are displayed in Times Square Thursday. On Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the numbers were on a downward trend, but New York City remains the U.S. epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic with roughly 20 percent of the nation's cases and fatalities. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 25 (UPI) -- Hospitalizations in the state of New York continue to decline, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during a Saturday briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo also said the state is expanding diagnostic testing criteria to include first responders, front-line health care workers and essential workers -- and expanding the availability of tests throughout the state.

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"We are back where we were 21 days ago," Cuomo said. "Twenty one days of hell, but we're back to where we were."

Cuomo said 1,100 new cases were detected in New York Friday and that 437 more people have died from the virus.

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Those numbers represent a slight uptick after a downward trend, and are still down from the worst day of New York's pandemic: on April 7, the state reported 805 deaths statewide.

So far the state has reported 271,590 positive cases and 16,162 deaths.

Cuomo also said Saturday that he has signed an executive order allowing the state's 5,000 pharmacies to conduct coronavirus tests.

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New York state is also going to start conducting antibody testing for health care workers at four New York City hospitals starting Saturday, and will also start offering tests to front-line workers by next week.

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Also on Saturday, some states, including Georgia and Oklahoma, began allowing certain businesses to reopen, flouting a University of Washington model suggesting no state should reopen their before May 1.

The businesses reopening include spaces where people work closely with each other and with customers, including hair salons and barbershops.

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As of Saturday the United States had 925,551 cases of COVID-19 and 53,100 total deaths.

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