ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The healthcare system has stabilized, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says, but caution still must be taken.

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. State residents must begin complying with this order on Friday.

For weeks, Gov. Cuomo has been talking about preparing for the apex of the coronavirus. New York appears to be reaching that apex, or at least a plateau, and the current numbers of infections and deaths are lower than estimated.

“What we have learned, our actions determine our destiny — we changed the curve. Every projection model — White House, CDC, Columbia, Cornell — they all had a higher rate of infection and death,” Cuomo said.

Another 752 New Yorkers are dead as a result of COVID-19, Cuomo announced Wednesday morning. The number of people dying each day hasn’t been drastically different day-to-day.

Neither has the amount of coronavirus patients hospitalized at a time in New York. Lately, that number has been staying around 18,000, and there’s been a slight decrease over the past couple days.

Recently, about 2,000 people have been entering New York hospitals each day to be treated for the coronavirus, and Tuesday, that number was roughly 2,200.

Nursing home deaths still remain an increasing issue in New York. Of the 752 new deaths, 45 of them were nursing home residents.

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

It’s not going to be quick or sudden, but Cuomo would like to see the state get back to normal over a period of time. The question is “when?”, but no one can truly say for sure when that is, Cuomo stated.

In terms of the end of this, Cuomo says that will be when we have a vaccine.

In the Governor’s personal opinion, he believes “the worst is over if we continue to be smart.”

Going forward with a plan, Cuomo said the smart thing experts can do right now is study data, and take note of what has happened in other countries that were hit hard with the coronavirus before us, like South Korea, Italy and China. It’s a matter of seeing what worked and what didn’t, and what the United States can learn from it.

“The worst scenario is if we did all of this, we got the numbers down and everyone goes to extraordinary means, and there are unanticipated consequences and the number goes up again,” Cuomo said.

Testing has been a major factor, and New York has done more testing than any other state so far, with a total of 500,000 tests.

The state will begin 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.

Without a specific timeline, the Governor highlighted the steps he wants the state to take going forward with New York’s eventual opening.

They include these, in the following order:

  1. Ease isolation
  2. Increase economic activity
  3. Recalibrate “essential worker” economy
  4. Apply more testing and precautions
  5. Do not increase the infection rate

Schools and non-essential businesses are closed through April 29 due to Cuomo’s New York State on PAUSE order.

Right now, millions of people across the state, and the country in general, are unemployed due to the business closures. The negative financial effect this has had on state residents led the Governor to increase the time period allowed for unemployment to 39 weeks.

Anyone who applied for unemployment, and receives a call from a private number is encouraged to answer it at this time, as it may be from the Department of Labor.

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.