This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Tuesday, May 27th, 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, as well as what the upstate reopening means; 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.


Here's what you need to know:

Catholic Churches In Brooklyn And Queens Can Reopen For Prayer, Weddings, Funerals and Baptisms

5:30 p.m. Churches in Brooklyn and Queens which are part of the Diocese of Brooklyn were permitted to reopen on Tuesday for private prayer and devotion.

In a statement issued on Friday, the Diocese also said that funerals and "limited celebrations" of baptisms and weddings could also begin.

Under Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent executive order, houses of worship could convene as many as 10 people as long as they abide by social distancing rules. All participants must also wear masks.

"It has been a challenging few months for Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens," said Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn, in a statement. "We know many people have eagerly been awaiting the day our churches would open. While we cannot celebrate Mass just yet, it is so important that we can now enter for prayer. It is my hope that this will give many of our faithful great comfort during this difficult time."

Currently, both the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of New York have been live-streaming mass on cable television.

The Diocese of New York, the second-largest diocese in the country, has not issued yet guidance on reopenings for prayer and did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that religious organizations could begin having small groups of worshippers together, but he said that "it's not time yet" for mass and other "large traditional religious services."

Annie Todd contributed reporting.

Cuomo Calls On Federal Government To Help Accelerate Infrastructure Projects

1 p.m. Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday urged the federal government to use the pandemic as an opportunity to accelerate the country's infrastructure projects, a move which he said would add much-needed jobs to a decimated economy.

Cuomo said he plans to meet with President Donald Trump on Wednesday to discuss the plan. The governor ticked off a number of major projects in New York that he wanted to ramp up, including the ongoing redevelopment of La Guardia Airport, the rebuilding of Penn Station and the extension of the Second Avenue subway line to 125th Street.

Some initiatives, including building an AirTrain to La Guardia Airport and a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River to connect Manhattan and New Jersey, still require federal approval.

"I don’t believe the economy just bounces back," Cuomo said.

He said the sparse number of commuters made it the ideal time to jumpstart transit projects like Penn Station.

“You want to reopen the economy? Let’s do something creative, let’s do it fast, let’s put Americans back to work and let’s make America better. It is common sense," he added.

Cuomo's meeting with Trump comes as New York is facing a $13 billion deficit. The governor has continually pressed Washington to fund states and local governments. State lawmakers are deliberating a bill that would allow New York City to borrow $7 billion to help pay for its operating expenses.

Asked about the bill, Cuomo said such a policy was "fiscally questionable" and that he did not want to create an "excuse" for the federal government not to provide aid.

"We don’t want to create more debt than the state can pay," he said.

New York City is now the only part of the region that has not been cleared to reopen.

The state recorded 73 additional deaths on Monday, the lowest number to date and the the third day in the last four where the tally fell under 100.

New Jersey Allows Outdoor Graduation Ceremonies In July

11:30 a.m. New Jersey schools will be able to hold outdoor graduation ceremonies beginning on July 6th with social distancing rules in place, Governor Phil Murphy announced.

"Our goal is to ensure our students are given the send offs they richly deserve," Murphy said, during a press briefing on Tuesday. "These will be graduations unlike any others."

New Jersey has already lifted some restrictions, including allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people.

With more than 155,000 confirmed cases, the state has the most infections in the United States after New York. More than 11,100 people have died.

Karen Yi contributed reporting.

1,700 Contact Tracers Set To Start Work In NYC In June

11:00 a.m. New York City has hired 1,700 contact tracers who are set to begin work by June 1st, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

The creation of a large so-called "test and trace" corps marks a significant step for the city toward reopening. In order to begin reopening, the city must hire roughly 2,500 tracers, a criteria set by the state according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

During his morning press briefing, the mayor said he was confident that the city would reach that level in early June.

Of the 1,700 tracers hired, over 700 are from the hardest hit communities, part of an effort to bring in people who know the city well. Together, the tracers speak 40 languages.

"The coronavirus has pointed out disparities that are deep in the city and must be fought in every way," de Blasio said.

Roughly 900 individuals have been hired to be case investigators, who initiate contact with those who have tested positive for the virus. Another 800 will be tasked with reaching out to and monitoring their contacts.

The mayor also announced that the city is expanding the number of testing sites, with 12 additional facilities run by the city's public hospital system set to open in the coming weeks. All told, there will be 180 community testing sites by the end of June.

To promote testing among New Yorkers, de Blasio said the city would launch a $10 million media outreach campaign. Anyone who has symptoms or has been in contact with someone who has been infected is eligible for the test, as well as first responders and those who work in nursing homes, shelters and adult care facilities.

Testing at city hospital-run sites are free. Those interested in finding a test site should visit: nyc.gov/covidtest

Westchester, New Rochelle Reopen, Some Employees Return To New York Stock Exchange

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, with NYSE President Stacey Cunningham Tuesday morning May 26, 2020.

New Rochelle, once considered the epicenter of New York's coronavirus crisis, is set to reopen Tuesday, along with Westchester and other parts of the mid-Hudson region.

Following the discovery of the state's second confirmed case on March 3rd, New Rochelle became a hot spot for the virus, leading officials to set up a containment zone where more than one hundred families were asked to self-quarantine.

Nearly three months later, after meeting all seven of the hospital and testing criteria set by the state, the region was officially cleared for reopening on Saturday. Under phase one, construction, manufacturing and some retail businesses can begin reopening as long as social distancing and other safety measures are in place.

"Generally there is a feeling of excitement and optimism that we’ve gotten this far," said Noam Bramson, the mayor of New Rochelle, during an interview Tuesday morning on WPIX11.

However, Bramson acknowledged that the city was worried about a second wave.

"Let's be clear. There are still active cases in our community. It hasn't been entirely eradicated," he said.

With Long Island set to reopen on Wednesday, New York City is now the only portion of the state that has not yet been cleared to reopen. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he expects the five boroughs to reopen sometime in the first two weeks of June.

In New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, as it reopens on Tuesday morning, in what is expected to be a symbolic boost for Lower Manhattan. Financial services, which were designated as essential, have been permitted to operate throughout the crisis, although most firms have elected to have their employees work remotely.

The exchange has been limited to all electronic-trading since March 23rd. Most employees will continue to work from home, but roughly 80 floor brokers were returning on Tuesday. They will be required to masks as well as socially distance. Brokers coming in to the NYSE are not permitted to use public transit, leading some to worry that other companies may follow suit and usher in a new wave of car traffic into Manhattan.

"It isn’t clear when America will resume business as usual," wrote Stacey Cunningham, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.

She continued: "The virus will remain a stubborn reality but we can’t keep the country closed indefinitely. Given that, our reopening will bring a 'new normal' for the NYSE, hopefully helping chart a path that other businesses in densely populated areas might follow."