The Democrat said he also expects COVID testing will continue to ramp up. Close to 5,000 diagnostic tests were conducted on Wednesday, but the state hopes to more than double that rate over the next two weeks. The goal is 42,000 a week.
"We're not taking our eye off that goal. All symptomatic patients should be tested. They should be tested on a regular basis." said Lamont, whose administration also wants to start testing asymptomatic patients. That would be in addition to technology used to monitor any potential flare-ups, such as the 11,000 "smart thermometers" the state has distributed and the How We Feel app. So far, 60,000 people are using it, providing information about their symptoms daily.
Meanwhile, a Microsoft platform for a contact tracing initiative will be tested over the next few days. Lamont said hundreds of volunteers have already agreed to become tracers, reaching out to people who may have come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Late last month, Lamont announced plans to begin the gradual, multi-stage process of lifting restrictions on businesses and activities, including allowing outdoor dining at restaurants. Remaining retail establishments, hair and nail services, outdoor exhibits at zoos and museums, outdoor recreation and university research programs will also be allowed to open with social distancing restrictions.
Protocols for businesses allowed to reopen will be released Friday. But Lamont stressed they don't have to reopen if they don't feel prepared.
As of Thursday, there have been nearly 32,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and 2,797 deaths, an increase of 79 since Wednesday. Hospitalizations decreased to 1,385, a 30% decline from the state's peak.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE
COVID-19 Help, Information and Resources
Grieving the lost: Tri-State residents who have died
New York state
New York City
Share your coronavirus story with Eyewitness News
Stimulus check scams and other coronavirus hoaxes
Coronavirus prevention: how clean are your hands?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus