Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a sixth region is allowed to reopen and said professional sports can start playing games across New York.

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Cuomo encouraged major sports to start playing games without fans in New York.

“New York state will help those major sport franchises to do just that,” Cuomo on Monday during his press briefing in Buffalo. “Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen we’re a ready, willing and able partner.”

He notes those leagues must craft their own plans to safely play games.

"Whoever can reopen, we are encouraging," Cuomo said. "We're a ready and willing able partner." "If they can make the numbers work, I say great. The state will work with you."

He announced Western New York will start Phase 1 of the reopening process on Tuesday.

"Western New York will begin Phase 1 of reopening tomorrow. They will have all the contact tracers needed in place," he said.

As of this writing, the Mid-Hudson region meets four of the seven metrics. Long Island meets five of the seven, New York City three metrics and the Captial Region is one metric away from being allowed to reopen.

He announced 106 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 during the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 22,725.

On Sunday, Cuomo was given a COVID-19 test during his briefing, he said Monday the test came back negative.

Recently, Cuomo mandated all nursing homes test its staff for COVID twice a week. He announced Monday the state is sending 320,00 testing kits to nursing homes statewide.

"We must do all we can to protect the most vulnerable," he said.

Cuomo announced the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and a geostatistics professor at the Imperial College of London is going to advise New York about reopening.

"The stakes are high, and expert, scientific opinion is far more valuable than political opinion. I’m pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Osterholm and Dr. Samir Bhatt, two international experts in epidemiology, will be advising NY on our progress and our metrics," Cuomo tweeted during his COVID-19 briefing.

He said it's not just about reopening but "building back better."

"New York responded to the COVID crisis with great unity and great discipline," he said. "We need that same discipline as regions begin to reopen."

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