ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York appears to be reaching the apex of the coronavirus’ impact, if it’s not already there. This means we’re in the time period when hospitals are being hit the hardest.

It’s evidenced by the recent plateau in hospitalizations, which have been staying around 18,000 this week. Thursday’s new numbers were a good sign though.

The amount of people hospitalized at a time, including those in intensive care, is slightly down. About 17,700 are currently hospitalized. Just under 2,000 of these people started receiving hospital care on Wednesday.

Although the number of people being hospitalized each day has stayed about the same, more are being discharged.

The amount of new deaths was lower than previous days’ numbers, too. 606 more lives were lost between Wednesday morning and Thursday. Most of these people were hospitalized, but 29 were in nursing homes — a place Cuomo referred to as “ground zero” for this virus.

Still though, the numbers are proof that New York “can control this beast,” as the Governor put it. Since New York received help from other states, Cuomo said that the state will return the favor, announcing Thursday that 100 ventilators will be sent to New Jersey.

As the “curve” continues to flatten, and possibly move downward, Cuomo is looking toward the future — not just preparing for new cases, but “re-opening” New York.

In terms of the end of this, Cuomo says that will be when we have a vaccine. The infection rate can’t be tracked, but the hospitalization rate is helping the state determine how soon New York will “re-open.”

New York has a population of roughly 19 million. Over a month’s time, the state has done more testing than any other in the nation so far, with more than 500,000 tests. That’s more than California, Michigan and Florida combined.

The state is beginning antibody testing this week. First responders, healthcare workers and essential workers will be given the top priority.

“The more testing, the more open the economy,” Cuomo said, noting that additional federal funding is needed to bring more testing, as well as more testing methods, to New York.

On Wednesday morning, Cuomo announced he was issuing an executive order that New Yorkers must wear coverings on their nose and mouth while near others in public.

People must wear these coverings if they cannot be six feet or more from someone. This includes anywhere indoors or outdoors, places of public transportation, private carriers and for-hire vehicles.

This goes into effect on Friday at 8 p.m.

Schools and non-essential businesses are closed through May 15 due to Cuomo’s New York State on PAUSE order, which was extended again on Thursday.

If you wish to utilize the state’s emotional support hotline at this time, call 1-844-863-9314.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.