ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with media Friday afternoon to give an update on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts.

The governor provided the following data:

  • Day 258 of the pandemic in New York state
  • 203,721 tests conducted Thursday (single-day high for New York state)
  • 5,401 new confirmed cases
  • 2.6% positivity rate overall statewide
  • 2.2% positivity rate without microcluster hotspots
  • 4.5% positivity rate in microcluster hotspots
  • 24 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 Thursday
  • 1,700 currently hospitalized with the virus
  • 331 in ICU
  • 137 intubated

“When we started we could only do 500 tests per day, and we really developed it from there,” Gov. Cuomo said about the new single-day high for COVID-19 tests. “It’s really extraordinary.”

The governor said New York’s overall positivity rate remains one of the lowest in the nation, but with cases rising here, across the country, and throughout the world, he raised concern about the weeks ahead.

“People will travel more with the holidays,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Winter has more people inside. These are a few of the elements that conspire to increase COVID — that is a fact. The numbers are going up, and the numbers will go up.”

The governor said it is wrong to assume a vaccine will be available soon, and New Yorkers need to remain diligent in slowing the spread of the virus with common everyday precautions like washing hands, wearing masks, and maintaining social distance.

“There is a vaccine on the horizon, but it is a further horizon than most people think,” Gov. Cuomo said. “If it takes six months, nine months to distribute a vaccine — I think we’re talking about that range. We cannot sustain a rising COVID rate until we get a vaccine. Operating on that assumption is wrong.”

The governor reminded New Yorkers of new restrictions that go in place at 10 p.m. Friday, including:

  • Any bar, restaurant, or establishment with New York State Liquor Authority license must close for dine-in by 10 p.m. Takeout and pickup only after 10 p.m.
  • Gyms must close by 10 p.m.
  • Private house gatherings reduced to 10 people

“We know the places where the virus is spreading. Restaurants, bars, gyms, mass gatherings, and the new problem of indoor house parties,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The governor warned that even as cases and hospitalizations continue to climb, he expects the pandemic to worsen going forward.

“I believe the situation will continue to deteriorate in the coming weeks,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I think you’ll see a consistent rise in the number of cases.”

The governor said he would be participating in an emergency summit this weekend with governors from six northeastern states, in an effort to align policies as much as possible. Where states can’t align, because of their different situations, the governor said it would be beneficial to at least be aware of neighboring policies.

“We believe we’ll be taking additional steps,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’ll share information and align action.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said NYC schools could be closed as soon as Monday, but the governor said the schools aren’t the problem, and said that if a microcluster reached a certain threshold, the state would step in to close schools.

“The infection rate in schools is not the problem,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re seeing that all over the state. The problem is not coming from schools. It’s the bars, restaurants, gyms, parties, and living rooms. Family spread, that’s a new COVID term.”

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.