NEW YORK CITY (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo kicked off his holiday weekend with his daily coronavirus briefing from New York City Friday morning.

The governor announced that 109 New Yorkers died Thursday from COVID-19. The state’s death toll from the virus is now more than 23,000 to date. Still, the governor expressed optimism that other virus data rates continue to trend downward.

“News is good today; hospitalizations are down, net change in hospitalizations are down, number of new cases per day is down,” Gov. Cuomo said. “This is level now that is lower than when we first began, so that’s good.”

The governor says although there is positive signs in the data, New Yorkers need to remain vigilant as the facts with this virus continue to change as time goes on.

“We are still learning about this COVID-19 virus, and one of the things I find most infuriating is the facts continue to change with this virus,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It’s nobody’s fault, but since we didn’t know about the virus we had certain assumptions that ‘experts’ made and those facts changed from day one.”

The governor said that New York’s testing capacity has ramped up and now anyone who shows symptoms for the virus can get a test.

“If you have any symptoms of COVID, which is basically the same symptoms of the flu, get a test,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The governor reiterated the economic impact of the pandemic is difficult for both the long and short term, especially for small businesses.

“Economic projects are actually frightening, more than 100,000 have shut permanently since the pandemic hit,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Small businesses are taking a real beating in this situation and they are 90% of New York businesses, and they’re facing the toughest challenges.”

The governor again stressed the important of wearing a mask while in public to stop the spread of the virus.

“The mask is mandatory. It’s not just a nice thing to do or civic duty,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It is mandatory that you wear the mask within six feet of another person. You don’t have the right to infect another person. The mask can make a difference between life or death.

“You don’t have a right to infect another person, you don’t,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Look at the constitution, tell me where it says you have the right to infect another person. You don’t”

Thursday, the governor announced that there will be no in-class teaching for summer school sessions in New York state.

Cuomo also announced more information on the contact tracing efforts across the state. He says if someone tests positive then they will get a call from a tracer who will ask who they had contact with recently. The tracers will then call everyone that could have been exposed and that person will go into quarantine. The tracing number will appear as “NYS Contact Tracing” on your caller ID. He is urging anyone who sees that on their caller ID to pick up the phone, it is not a scam.

The governor previously announced that New York state’s beaches would reopen for Memorial Day weekend, and that begins Friday, as originally intended, but with a 50% capacity restriction.

Locally Deputies will be in county parks and boat patrols on Lake Ontario. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said it will also be diverting some resources to traffic enforcement to make sure families and children are safe.

In Monroe County, there have now been 185 COVID-19 related deaths and 2,508 confirmed cases, including 80 new cases since 24 hours prior.

MORE | COVID-19 county by county: Keeping track of local cases throughout the region

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