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NY working to get excess dairy products to food banks

(WCAX)
Published: Apr. 26, 2020 at 8:08 PM EDT
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said that 337 more people had died in New York, the lowest single-day death toll since March. The state's total death toll stands at 16,966.

Meanwhile, the state of New York is stepping in to stop milk dumping and help meet the growing demand for food assistance.

Around the country and here in our region, farmers have been forced to dump milk after the demand for their product declined. Specialty cheesemakers are throwing out products because of restaurant closures.

Cuomo calls that a total waste, especially when demand for food assistance is up as much as 200% in his state.

"We have people downstate who need food. We have farmers upstate who can't sell their product. We have to put those two things together. It's just common sense," said Cuomo, D-New York.

Cuomo says the state is now working with big dairy processors to have them continue to take in excess milk supplies. Rather than send the products to store shelves, they'll instead be distributed to food banks around New York.

Over the weekend, the governor outlined a phased plan to reopen New York after May 15. It will be implemented in phases and will be based on regional analysis and determinations. Based on CDC recommendations, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate, they may begin a phased reopening. The state is closely monitoring the hospitalization rate, the infection rate and the number of positive antibody tests, as well as the overall public health impact, and will make adjustments to the plan and other decisions based on these indicators.

•Phase one will include opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk.

•Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered "less essential" or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. As the infection rate declines, the pace of reopening businesses will be increased.

•The region must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.

•There will be two weeks in between each phase to monitor the effects of the reopening and ensure hospitalization and infection rates are not increasing.

•This plan will be implemented with multistate coordination, especially in downstate New York. The plan will also coordinate the opening of transportation systems, parks, schools, beaches and businesses with special attention on summer activities for downstate, public housing and low-income communities, food banks and child care.

•The phased reopening will also be based on individual business and industry plans that include new measures to protect employees and consumers, make the physical workspace safer and implement processes that lower the risk of infection in the business. The state is consulting with local leaders in each region and industry to formulate these plans.

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