"All the global experts say the same thing: This virus has phases, and as the phase changes your plan should change. We're seeing an increase with the numbers across the country and within our own state. It started with the fall, and it's going to continue and probably worsen in the winter," Cuomo said. "As we go through the holidays and winter months, it's going to be more imperative than ever for New Yorkers to wear their masks, wash their hands, avoid gatherings large and small, and stay New York Tough."
The statewide positivity rate was 3.72% and a total 219,442 were reported.
Cuomo said the positive testing rate in the state's micro-cluster focus zone areas was 5.69%, while in the areas outside of those zones it was 3.13%.
Officials are also monitoring the number of hospitalizations closely.
The state reported 471 new COVID-19 patients being treated in New York hospitals, bringing the statewide total to 3,103.
Additionally, 39 new deaths related to the coronavirus were reported.
MORE: Cuomo: Micro-cluster zones, schools & vaccine focus of New York's winter COVID plan
On Thursday, Cuomo said that officials were working on a winter plan for the coronavirus that will add metrics for how the state designates virus hot zones.
Cuomo said the state will continue homing in on small geographic areas where virus cases are a particular problem to avoid imposing broad statewide restrictions, considering factors such as the hospitalization rate and the availability of ICU beds.
"We're going to stay with the micro-cluster approach because that targets the spread, minimizes economic impact and stresses individual and community accountability," the governor said. "That's working very well, and all the experts think that is state-of-the-art."
Cuomo insisted New York is "doing phenomenally well" compared to the rest of the country.
The Democrat said New York's winter plan will also look at ways to keep schools open by evaluating a safe positivity rate as well as determining the levels of testing at schools needed over the winter months. The winter plan also will outline how vaccines will be distributed as they become available.
ALSO READ: 'Irrelevant': Cuomo reacts to Supreme Court religious restrictions ruling
On Wednesday, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision barred the state from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas that had been labelled as virus hot zones. The high court sided with religious organizations in the state who said that while attendance was limited for worshippers, other businesses in state-designated red zones could remain open without capacity limits.
Cuomo said the ruling was "irrelevant from any practical impact" since the red zone restrictions have been removed, and it was "more illustrative of the Supreme Court than anything else."
"Why rule on a case that is moot and come up with a different decision than you did several months ago on the same issue? You have a different court. And I think that was the statement that the court was making," he said.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn's Catholic diocese hailed the ruling, saying the limitations don't "really make sense when you look at the volume of space we have in our churches."
"Our diocese has been very strict in the enforcement of the rules that keep people safe," DiMarzio told reporters. "We in no way want people to get sick in our churches."
MORE COVID NEWS: "COVID tested" flights to take off from JFK, Newark airports next month
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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