NY state's COVID-19 death toll below 400 for first time this month, Cuomo says

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said the state’s number of daily COVID-19 deaths has dipped below 400 for the first time this month.

Though “horrific,” the 367 deaths were less than half the nearly 800 deaths recorded at the height of the coronavirus crisis in the state's hospitals, Cuomo said during a press briefing.

“To put it in focus, that would normally be terrible news,” the governor said. “It’s only not terrible news compared to where we were. This is just terrible news, 367 deaths, which is horrific. And there is no relative context to death. Death is death; 367 people passed.”

Cuomo also reported that the number of hospitalizations – which still topped 1,000 – and the number of individuals put on a ventilator had dropped as well.

The deaths recorded Saturday and reported Sunday included 349 patients who died in hospitals and 18 individuals who died in nursing homes, the Democratic governor said.

On Saturday, Cuomo said there were 437 deaths the previous day.

Cuomo outlined a reopening plan in phases beginning with construction and manufacturing before moving to essential lower risk businesses. Upstate regions will likely enter phase one of reopening sooner, with at least two weeks between phases to monitor effects.

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Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at a news conference said he hopes to have a roadmap by June 1 on how to rebuild the city after the coronavirus threat subsides.

The Democratic mayor said that city leaders he's invited to help plan the city's recovery should give him the roadmap by then. He said a full rebuild will take about 20 months.

He also said the latest statistics on people being treated for COVID-19 continued to be stable or decline.

The number of people in the city's hospital intensive care units had dropped from 785 to 768. De Blasio said the city can't begin reopening until decreases continue for 10 to 14 days. He said such a fall would signal it was time for the first steps to open up.

"The health indicators have to give us the all-clear," de Blasio said. "We restart when we have evidence. There's no on-off switch here. It's a series of careful, smart moves."

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As of Sunday, New York state has reported 282,000 COVID-19 cases with nearly 16,600 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University. Of those, New York City has more than half of the overall cases and about 71 percent of its reported deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.