This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Tuesday, April 28th, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.

Read our guide to understanding New York on PAUSE, NY's stay-at-home order; a look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.

2:20 p.m. Among those tested, an average of 31 percent of New York City residents have tested positive for coronavirus over the last 14 days, according to data presented by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.

Along with Long Island, which had the same testing percentage, New York City had the highest percentage of positive tests in the state. The mid-Hudson area, which includes Westchester County, had the second highest proportion of positive tests, at 28 percent.

Upstate New York has had significantly fewer confirmed cases, with positive testing percentages in the single digits. Western New York had a positive testing rate of 17 percent.

During a press briefing held in SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, the governor laid out what he described as an "opening template" for the state.

In a new requirement, Cuomo said that hospitals in a specific region must have at least 30 percent of its regular and ICU beds unoccupied before any reopening could reoccur. The hospitals must also have sufficient preparation for the flu season, he added.

Cuomo has previously said that any reopening of businesses would be phased and contingent on a region meeting the criteria proposed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which calls for a 14-day decline in hospitalizations. The first industries that would reopen would be construction and manufacturing. Based on the latest indicators, that could happen in portions of the state that have had low infection rates like upstate as early as May 15, which is when the governor's shutdown order is set to expire.

The presentation on Tuesday also included new benchmarks for testing and tracing, two tools that are considered key to any reopening. Using a recommendation by Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, he said New York would aim to perform 30 tests per 1,000 people in one month. That works out to 585,000 tests per month for the state's 19.5 million residents.

He also said the state would need at least 30 tracers per 100,000 people, which comes out a total of 5,850 tracers for the state.

Data tracked by the state continues to show that the crisis is on the decline. The three-day average for hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients on Monday fell below 1,000, the lowest since March 24th. The numbers had climbed to more than 3,000 earlier in the month. The daily death toll continues to flatten, with 335 more fatalities, down from the high of nearly 800. The state, however, has yet to include probable at-home deaths from the disease.

Both Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have faced increasing criticism that they failed to treat the pandemic as seriously as California did.

While Cuomo has defended his decisions as having saved lives, on Tuesday he pointed blame at outside experts who he said should have sounded a greater alarm.

"Everybody knows this is a virus in China," he said, adding, "Where was the whole international health community? Where was the whole national host of experts?"

"Governors don't do global pandemics," he added. "It’s not a state responsibility. In this system, who was supposed to blow the bugle and didn’t?"

NYC Unveils Grading Policy For Remote Learning

10:50 a.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced the Department of Education's new grading policy, which he said would acknowledge the challenges of online learning but still uphold academic standards for New York City's 1.1 million public school children.

Speaking during his morning press briefing, he called the coronavirus pandemic a "once in a century" crisis that proved to be a "reminder of our ultimate responsibility to our kids."

Using remote classwork as an evaluation guide, teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade will hand out marks of either “meets standards” or “needs improvement.” For middle school, there will be an additional category of "course in progress."

Those who receive "needs improvement" or "course in progress" would receive additional instruction in the summer. The mayor said he was unsure what structure summer school might take but at a minimum the city could continue to provide online learning.

High school students would use the existing grade scale, but those who need more time to show mastery of a subject will receive "course in progress" and enroll in summer school. They would also have the option of converting to a “Pass” grade, which would leave their GPAs unaffected.

Under the plan, no student would be issued a failing grade.

"I fully stand behind this policy," said Richard Carranza, the city schools chancellor. "I think it’s an elegant way to thread the needle of keeping students engaged while recognizing that they’ve been through trauma."

Carranza added that the DOE was currently looking at multiple scenarios for summer school.

"The goal here is not to fail students," he said. "The goal is to give students more time to master the material."

Educators and parents have been divided on how to handle the grading situation during online learning. Some parent leaders and advocates have argued that low-income families, who make up the overwhelming majority of the public school community, are disproportionately hurt by the pandemic by having fewer resources such as the electronic devices and parental support.

"To adhere to traditional grading at this moment would only serve to perpetuate the real impacts of pandemic-related stress, racial and economic disparities, and the fact that most teachers were not and still are not adequately prepared to provide high-quality instruction remotely,” said one letter, which was signed by Mark Treyger, a Brooklyn City Council member who chairs the council's education committee as well as three dozen parent leaders and advocacy groups.

The city has said that it would provide devices to all students who need them. On Tuesday, de Blasio said that 247,000 iPads had either arrived or been shipped to all families who requested them by April 30th.

De Blasio Asks MTA Needs To Close 10 Subway Stations, Citing Need To Address Street Homelessness

Mayor de Blasio said he is asking the MTA to close 10 end-of-the-line subway stations from midnight to 5 a.m. in an effort to provide outreach to homeless people who sleep on the subways.

De Blasio said the closure would also allow for the trains to be deep cleaned. He proposed providing shuttle bus service as an alternative during those times.

"This will be a game changer," he said during his Tuesday morning press briefing. "We just need the MTA to say yes."

Subway ridership has plummeted 93 percent since the coronavirus crisis, with the MTA now anticipating $8 billion in losses from fares, tolls, and taxes. The homeless have continued to seek out shelter in the subway system, often without the benefit of a mask, a situation which has drawn both criticism and concern about their safety as well as those of essential workers riding the trains.

At least 68 MTA workers have died from the coronavirus.

Sarah Feinberg, interim MTA head of the city's buses and subways, recently raised the issue, saying that addressing homelessness on the subway is a "city obligation and responsibility."

About 4,000 people are estimated as living on the streets. During the coronavirus outbreak, homeless advocates have repeatedly urged the administration to house the homeless, who are vulnerable to infection in the city's densely packed shelters, in the tens of thousands of now empty hotel rooms across the city. At least 23 shelter residents have died from the virus.

The city is currently housing 6,000 homeless people in hotels, a number which homeless advocates say is insufficient.

Late last year, de Blasio announced a plan to end street homelessness within five years by creating more "safe haven" facilities, which have fewer restrictions than traditional shelters.

On Tuesday, the mayor said the city was working to open additional safe haven spaces.

CDC Expands List Of Symptoms For COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its list of symptoms for COVID-19 to include repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and a loss of taste or smell.

It states that a person who has coronavirus may have at least two of the above symptoms.

Prior to the latest revision, the symptoms had been fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Symptoms typically appear within two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

The changes to the list of symptoms were made earlier this month, although no press release was issued. In particular, loss of smell and taste had been reported anecdotally as one of the telltale signs of the disease. With testing limited or discouraged in most states except for vulnerable populations, knowing what symptoms to watch for has been important as many Americans have been reliant on self-diagnosis.

The CDC's list of symptoms notably differs from that of the World Health Organization, which does not list chills, headache and a loss of taste or smell. In addition to the common list of symptoms, the WHO website says that "very few people will report diarrhea, nausea or a runny nose."

The CDC, which serves as the nation's leading public health agency, has not held a press briefing on coronavirus since March 10th. Back on February 25th, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, sounded the alarm about the disease during a telephone press briefing in which she warned, "This might be bad," and said that Americans should prepare for disruptions in their lives.

Last week, CDC Director Robert Redfield told the Washington Post that there will be a more severe second wave of the virus that will run concurrently with the flu epidemic.

“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” he said. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”