NEW YORK — New York’s state of emergency was extended through next month as Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday officials will study COVID-19’s impact on children after three died from virus-related complications this week.

Cuomo declared an executive order late Thursday extending New York’s state of emergency to June 6. Originally issued March 7, the state of emergency extends Cuomo’s legal authority during the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor’s NY On Pause order, which closed schools and nonessential businesses and enforced social-distancing measures is set to expire May 15. Thursday’s executive order did not affect the On Pause mandate.

“Yesterday’s executive order extended the underlying legal authority for the emergency order, but did not change the text of any of the directives in NY On Pause and so the expiration date of May 15 still stands until further notice,” Secretary to the Governor Melissa De Rosa said in a statement Saturday. “At that time, new guidance will be issued for regions based on the metrics outlined by Governor Cuomo earlier this week.”

The governor did not address the order at his coronavirus press briefings Friday or Saturday. He is expected to make an announcement Sunday about the order’s expiration date.

The On Pause extension does not automatically prevent some businesses from reopening as early as May 16 as previously planned, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said Saturday.

“If you hit the benchmarks, it would start then,” Azzopardi said.

Cuomo announced the state’s four-phase reopening plan earlier this week, specifying seven COVID-19 data and criteria a region must satisfy to start gradually restarting the economy. The criteria include examining a region’s virus hospitalization, infection and death rates, available hospital beds, testing and tracing capacity.

Cuomo must verify a region has satisfied the criteria before beginning to reopen. No region of New York was eligible to start reopening per state guidelines as of Saturday.

Officials are investigating evidence COVID-19 can cause severe illness in children — mimicking symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Three New York children have died since Thursday from similar complications, including a 5-year-old boy.

“We thought young people were not affected by COVID-19,” Cuomo said Saturday afternoon during a pandemic briefing in Manhattan. “We’re not so sure of that fact anymore.”

New York hospitals have 73 reported cases of virus-related illnesses in children, predominantly from toddler to elementary school ages, Cuomo said.

The state Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are identifying national criteria to respond to this syndrome. State health officials will conduct a genome and RNA sequencing study to understand the disease and genetics of the illness in a partnership with the state health department, the NY Genome Center and Rockefeller University. Results and recommendations will be shared with other states.

“It’s an inflammation of the blood vessels, which can cause heart problems,” the governor explained. “This is new and it’s developing.

“We still have a lot to learn with this virus and every day is an eye-opening situation.”

Seek medical attention immediately if your child has a fever lasting more than five days, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting, a change in skin color, such as turning pale or blue, trouble breathing, decreased amount or frequency of urination, racing heart rate or infants having difficulty feeding or drinking fluids, according to the governor’s office.

New York’s COVID-19 fatalities reached at least 20,550 Saturday — up from 20,324 Friday. The state saw 226 virus-related deaths Friday, including 173 in hospitals and 53 in nursing homes. The death rate remains flat after 216 fatalities Thursday and 231 fatalities Wednesday.

The state tested 1,153,768 people as of Saturday, revealing 333,122 total positive cases of COVID-19. New York’s hospitalization rates continued a downward trend to 7,776 patients Saturday, down 420, according to the governor’s office.

The state had 572 new COVID-19 patients enter New York hospitals Friday — a new low, Cuomo said.

“It hasn’t been that level since we started,” he said. “That is welcome news.”

Minority communities remain the most impacted by COVID-19, with higher rates of infection and virus-related fatalities. Of the 21 ZIP codes with the most new COVID-19 hospitalizations, 20 have greater-than-average black or Latino populations. Brooklyn and the Bronx have heavier numbers of minority communities, and have been impacted most, according to the governor’s office.

The state will open 24 additional testing sites within churches in downstate low-income communities of color over the next two weeks to address the disparity. Eleven will open next week, with the rest opening the week of May 19-23.

“The cruel irony is, the poorest people pay the highest price,” Cuomo said. “...We get it, but we have to break the cycle.”

The state will continue to ramp up testing and recently delivered 1 million cloth masks and 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to city public housing.

“We now need New Yorkers to go get the test,” the governor added. “You can feel fine and test positive for COVID. You want to know if you have it, not just for yourself, but so you don’t communicate it to anyone else.”

A preliminary COVID-19 antibody survey showed downstate frontline workers were infected with the virus at the same amount or less than New York City’s general population. The survey of 15,000 frontline workers showed 11% of conductors, 14% of bus operators, 14.2% of transit workers and 17% of station workers have COVID-19 antibodies, or were exposed to and recovered from the illness.

A recent preliminary state study showed 19.9% of New York City’s population has COVID-19 antibodies.

“That’s actually good news,” Cuomo said. “Fourteen percent is below the average infection rate for New Yorkers. All categories are below the NYC norm.”

Cuomo continued his weeks-long plea for federal lawmakers to pass COVID-19 legislation to fund state governments as legislators negotiate a fifth coronavirus relief bill on Capitol Hill. The state has a minimum $13.3 billion budget gap, and does not know how much it has to fund schools, hospitals or services like substance abuse programs, the governor said. The need for such programs have increased as drug, alcohol and domestic abuse have skyrocketed in the wake of the pandemic

“It’s purely a function of what the federal government does,” Cuomo said. “This week, I hope, finally, the federal government passes a piece of legislation to help the states...How about [funding] the working people of this country...not just the corporations?...As bizarre as the federal government is at times, I cannot believe they would turn their back on working Americans at this time.”

Of frontline workers, the governor added, “You want to say thank you? Provide the funding, not just the applause.”

To see the complete county breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases and deaths statewide, view the COVID-19 map and tracker at hudsonvalley360.com/site/covid19.html

The Tribune News Service contributed to this report.

New York’s state of emergency was extended through next month as Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday officials will study COVID-19’s impact on children after three died from virus-related complications this week.Cuomo declared an executive order late Thursday extending New York’s state of emergency to June 6. Originally issued March 7, the state of emergency extends Cuomo’s legal authority during the coronavirus pandemic.The governor’s NY On Pause order, which closed schools and nonessential businesses and enforced social-distancing measures is set to expire May 15. Thursday’s executive order did not affect the On Pause mandate.“Yesterday’s executive order extended the underlying legal authority for the emergency order, but did not change the text of any of the directives in NY On Pause and so the expiration date of May 15 still stands until further notice,” Secretary to the Governor Melissa De Rosa said in a statement Saturday. “At that time, new guidance will be issued for regions based on the metrics outlined by Governor Cuomo earlier this week.”The governor did not address the order at his coronavirus press briefings Friday or Saturday. He is expected to make an announcement Sunday about the order’s expiration date.The On Pause extension does not automatically prevent some businesses from reopening as early as May 16 as previously planned, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said Saturday.“If you hit the benchmarks, it would start then,” Azzopardi said.

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