The Southern Tier prepares to reopen


BINGHAMTON, NY – The active case number in Broome County has fallen just as the region prepares to begin the reopening process Friday.

The 8 counties in the Southern Tier have received permission from the state to allow work to resume in the following sectors: construction, manufacturing, wholesale and supply chain, agriculture and curbside retail.

While this begins the process, many other industries will still need to wait for future phases of reopening.

Governor Cuomo has said that regions could move to another phase in as little as 2 weeks, providing they keep within certain metrics.

Today, the county reported 83 active cases down from 90 yesterday.

County Executive Jason Garnar says he’s optimistic that Broome residents will continue to follow safety protocols in order to keep our numbers low.

“We were the first region to meet the benchmarks to be able to open in New York State. Out of all those 7 benchmarks, our thresholds are very low. So, we have some wiggle room as we start to reopen businesses,” says Garnar.

The Broome County Health Department says local nursing homes submitted their plans to the state yesterday for twice-a-week testing of all of its employees which is scheduled to begin next week.

It will be a challenge as there are 2,000 such workers in the county requiring 4,000 tests a week.

The health department says facilities are looking to band together to contract with a testing provider as the local hospitals are already near capacity testing their patients.

In the meantime, homes including Willow Point, which has 400 employees, plan to utilize the drive through sampling center at Binghamton University which can accommodate up to 300 tests per day and has been serving only about 100 per day.

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