New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the battle against the pandemic is entering a new phase during the Winter and state officials have come up with a five-part strategy.

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That involves managing hospital capacity, increasing and balancing testing resources, keeping schools open safely, preventing the spread of the coronavirus in small gatherings and planning for the equitable distribution of a vaccine.

Cuomo says as the pandemic has progressed, lessons have been learned and policies have been adjusted.  The Democrat says mask wearing compliance is up in the State, which was one of the first to mandate the wearing of face-coverings. He says there has also been a marked limit in the number of infections being traced to personal service industries like hair salons, barbers and gyms.

The Governor says the big concern for the spread of the virus is with gatherings. He says 65 percent of COVID cases are being tracked back to small gatherings.  Cuomo says he worries that is going to continue to be a major factor if people don’t gain the kind of awareness they have with mask wearing, especially during the holidays when gatherings are part of the tradition.

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Cuomo says public education campaigns are planned. He says residents should be prepared to take responsibility if they choose risky behavior.  He says people who take chances and get sick or make others sick should not create more COVID-positive people and expect other people like first responders and hospital staff to come to their rescue.  Cuomo says he expects to see COVID positivity rates to increase through January.

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