“All the world’s experts say the same thing: this virus has phases, and as the phase changes, your plan must change. We see an increase in numbers across the country and in our own country. It started in the fall and will continue and will probably get worse in winter, ”Cuomo said. “As we go through the holidays and winter months, it will be more mandatory than ever for New Yorkers to wear their masks, wash their hands, avoid gatherings large and small, and stay resilient in New York.”
The positivity rate across the country was 3.72% and a total of 219,442 were reported.
Cuomo said that the positive testing rate in the areas of the focus area of the micro-cluster is 5.69%, while in the areas outside these areas it is 3.13%.
Officials are also closely monitoring the number of hospitalizations.
The state reports 471 new patients with COVID-19 treated in New York hospitals, bringing the total to 3,103 countries.
In addition, 39 new coronavirus-related deaths have been reported.
MORE: Cuomo: Micro-cluster zones, schools and vaccines focus on COVID winter plan in New York
On Thursday, Cuomo said officials are working on a winter plan for the coronavirus, which will add indicators of how the state determines the hotspots of the virus.
Cuomo said the state would continue to target small geographic areas where virus cases are a particular problem to avoid imposing broad state restrictions, taking into account factors such as hospitalization rates and the availability of intensive care beds.
“We will stick to the micro-cluster approach because it focuses on dissemination, minimizes economic impact and emphasizes individual and community accountability,” the governor said. “It works very well and all the experts think it’s the latest.”
Cuomo insisted New York was “doing phenomenally well” compared to the rest of the country.
The Democrat said the New York winter plan would also look at ways to keep schools open by assessing a safe rate of positivity, as well as determining the levels of testing in schools needed during the winter months. The winter plan will also outline how vaccines will be distributed when they become available.
READ ALSO: “No matter”: Cuomo reacts to Supreme Court ruling on religious restrictions
On Wednesday, a 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court banned the state from imposing certain restrictions on church and synagogue attendance in areas designated as viral hotspots. The Supreme Court sided with state religious organizations, which said that while attendance was limited to worshipers, other businesses in state-designated red zones could remain open without capacity constraints.
Cuomo said the decision was “irrelevant of any practical impact” as the red zone restrictions were lifted, and was “more illustrative of the Supreme Court than anything else”.
“Why should you rule on a controversial case and come up with a different decision from a few months ago on the same issue? You have a different court. And I think that was the statement that the court made,” he said.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn welcomed the decision, saying the restrictions “really don’t make sense when you look at the amount of space we have in our churches.”
“Our diocese has been very strict in enforcing the rules that keep people safe,” DiMarzio told reporters. “We don’t want people to get sick in our churches in any way.”
MORE COVID NEWS: “Tested COVID” flights to take off from JFK, Newark airports next month
This report uses information from the Associated Press.
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