The daily increase in coronavirus deaths in New York state has dropped under 550 for the first time in over two weeks as hospitalizations continue to decline.
But Governor Andrew Cuomo warned Saturday that the crisis is far from over. Hospitals are still reporting nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 patients per day.
At his Saturday news briefing, Cuomo said more testing will be needed to determine when to re-open parts of the state.
"Testing is the single most important topic for us to understand I think and it's important that we understand it," Cuomo said. "Testing is how you monitor the rate of infection and you control for it and that is the whole tension in reopening."
In Erie County, the death toll climbed by another 16 Saturday to 131. There are now 2,127 cases of coronavirus in the county. Across the eight counties of Western New York, the total is approaching 2,650 with 154 deaths.
The peak in coronavirus cases locally could be weeks away.
Mayor Byron Brown says the decision to re-open Buffalo will be made in conjuction with county, state and federal officials.
"I don't see the city of Buffalo going its own way in beginning to open things up,"Brown said. "We're going to work closely with the county and state governments."