NEW YORK — There will be no sleep away camps this summer in the state of New York. At his daily news conference Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that, after much study, the risk was too great to open summer overnight camps.
He said the decision was made with the risk of Kawasaki disease in children related to complications from the new coronavirus in mind.
"It's a balance of the health risk" versus the activity," Cuomo said.
Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker that there was an incredible amount of emotion on the issue of keeping overnight camps closed.
He said he looked at the issue as a commissioner, a pediatrician and a father.
"We have to look at the facts," Zucker said. "Social distancing is just not possible," because the camps are congregant setting with many children sleeping and eating in the same areas and sharing bathroom facilities.
"Unlike day camps, which are approved to open June 29, overnight camps are a difficult setting to manage social distancing and face covering and infection control practices," he said in a statement issued Friday.
At the news conference, Zucker further explained that the virus will get into a camp and it will spread and all those children would have to be quarantined, causing myriad logistical problems in addition to health concerns.
Zucker gave the example of the H1N1 virus, which got into a camp. That resulted in 1,600 cases.
He also said there were 120 cases of mumps that ended up infecting 3,500 people in multiple states.
Reopening and Coronavirus
Cuomo reemphasized that the state was focusing on testing while continuing reopening the state. He said the Western New York region will be entering into Phase 3 Tuesday and the Capital region will be entering Phase 3 Wednesday.
He said there are small deviations in the testing numbers, but what needs to be watched is whether it starts ticking up — and continues going up.
Cuomo said that hospitalizations were the lowest since March 20, which is "when this nightmare began."
He said the number of lives lost yesterday — at 32 — was at the lowest level since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
"The people of this state by their actions have saved thousands of lives," Cuomo said. "That is not metaphorical."