A traffic sign on New Utrecht Avenue in Borough Park,...

A traffic sign on New Utrecht Avenue in Borough Park, Brooklyn, warned Wednesday of new COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the state and to be enforced by the city. The neighborhood is among "hot spot" areas where "mini-clusters" of cases have been identified. Credit: AP / Mary Altaffer

This story was reported by Matthew Chayes, Joan Gralla, Bart Jones and Joie Tyrrell, with AP. It was written by Jones.

New York State's coronavirus levels remained relatively stable, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday, though officials continue to battle about 20 "hot spots" where the positivity rate is about four times the state average.

The number of new confirmed cases in both Nassau and Suffolk counties rose above 100 in testing completed Thursday, according to state data released Friday.

The news came as the United States on Friday surpassed 8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, the most in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking cases worldwide. The United States also leads the world in coronavirus-related deaths, with more than 218,000. That is more than one-fifth of the global total.

New York's statewide rate of positivity was 1.25% in testing completed Thursday, and 4.8% in the hot spots, which are located in Brooklyn, along with Queens, and Orange and Rockland counties.

The statewide percent of positives was 1.14%, excluding the hot spots. Cuomo contends that including them skews the results since the state has been testing more in high infection areas, leading to oversampling.

Also on Friday, a federal judge refused to block Cuomo’s order limiting worship to as few as 10 congregants in communities seeing spikes in coronavirus infections.

Ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis said in an order that even though the rules harm religious groups, it is not in the public interest to block them if they are helping prevent a wave of new infections.

States/regions in red are included on New York's travel advisory list as of Oct. 27, 2020. Guam and Puerto Rico, not pictured, are also on the list.

The ruling doesn’t end the lawsuit but denied the church’s request for a temporary injunction. Similar lawsuits have been filed by Jewish groups.

Most of the hot spots or clusters are in neighborhoods with large ultra-Orthodox Jewish populations. Cuomo last week ordered all schools and nonessential businesses closed in the "red zones" where the cases are concentrated, and limited houses of worship to no more than 10 people at a time.

"New York's numbers remain steady, despite the handful of clusters we are currently focused on. We are addressing these clusters through our targeted approach to ensure that they don't become community spread," Cuomo said.

He added: "As we go through the fall and into the winter and cases continue to rise across the country, it's going to take the work of all New Yorkers to maintain our progress. We cannot and will not risk going backward to where we were in the spring. Our progress is thanks to New Yorkers, who rose to the occasion and came together like no other community. But we have to keep it up — we must all keep washing our hands, wearing our masks and remaining socially distant."

A student at Riverhead High School was directed to quarantine after testing...

A student at Riverhead High School was directed to quarantine after testing positive, school officials said. Credit: John Roca

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week said he would decide by Sunday whether the two-week restrictions in the red zones should be extended, but Cuomo said that is a state decision.

"In the communities most affected, there are still some that are not moving [in] the right direction, but a number of them have either leveled off or started to go, you know, toward better numbers, lower numbers," de Blasio said.

Ten people died of coronavirus-related causes on Thursday statewide. Some 918 people with the virus were hospitalized, up 21 from the previous day.

The infection level was 1.1% on Long Island and 1.2% in New York City.

The number of new cases confirmed in testing completed Thursday was 105 in Nassau County, 104 in Suffolk County and 660 in New York City.

A woman wearing a protective mask walks by a shopping...

A woman wearing a protective mask walks by a shopping center in Fribourg, Switzerland, on Friday. Europe has seen rising cases amid growing public fatigue over anti-coronavirus measures, while the U.S. reached 8 million confirmed cases. Credit: Keystone / Jean-Christophe Bott via AP

County Executive Laura Curran said that along with the new daily cases surpassing 100 in Nassau, "We’ve seen a rise in COVID-19-related hospitalizations over this past week with 64 patients in Nassau’s 11 hospitals as of today. Eighteen of these patients are in the ICU, and 10 are on ventilators."

She added: "In addition, I am very sad to report that three Nassau County residents have passed away from the virus in the past 24 hours — a sobering reminder of how serious this virus can be. The county is working closely with affected schools, universities and communities to halt the spread in its tracks and increase access to rapid testing."

Based on figures released Friday, de Blasio said there is a 1.02% infection rate among those tested for the coronavirus in the city, and a seven-day rolling average of 1.56%.

In the last three weeks, there have been 3,229 test results from students, teachers and staff in public schools in "yellow zones," with only four positives, de Blasio said.

"The story of the schools continues to be a really good one," he said.

Finley Middle School in the Huntington school district was closed...

Finley Middle School in the Huntington school district was closed to students Friday after a student tested positive for COVID-19, the district said. Credit: John Dunn

There is weekly testing in every school in the "yellow zones" and monthly testing in the rest of the city schools, he said.

Middle schools closed in Sayville and Huntington

On Long Island, Sayville Middle School was closed Friday for in-person instruction after a person at the school tested positive for the coronavirus, schools Superintendent John E. Stimmel said in a notice posted on the school's website. Students switched to remote learning.

Finley Middle School in the Huntington district also was closed Friday for in-person instruction after a student tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter posted on the district’s website.

At Riverhead High School, a student is headed to quarantine after testing positive, school officials said.

Levittown school district officials notified parents Friday that an individual at Division Avenue High School and another at MacArthur High School tested positive. The district did not say if they were students or staff members. It was the fourth positive case reported there this week.

Connetquot school district officials on Friday alerted parents of two positive cases. One is a student at Edward J. Bosti Elementary School, and the other is a student at Connetquot High School, both in Bohemia.

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