By Nathan Layne and Rajesh Kumar Singh

(Reuters) – Daily new hospitalizations across New York state for the novel coronavirus are below rates seen prior to its March lockdown, further evidence the state hit hardest by the pandemic has turned the corner, New York Governor Andrew said on Thursday.

Cuomo told a daily briefing the three-day rolling average for new coronavirus hospitalizations was at 246 on Wednesday, below 295 a day earlier and roughly half the level reported on March 20, the earliest available data for that metric.

“It is actually lower than we were when this first started,” Cuomo said. “We got through it. We got over the mountain.”

Even so, Cuomo said he would not accelerate the reopening of New York, which has so far allowed seven of 10 regions to begin relaxing restrictions. New York City, where more than 20,000 people have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, remains under lockdown.

“You don’t reopen until you can reopen safely. Because the last thing we want is to go back to where we were on the other side of the mountain,” Cuomo said.

He said summer school would be conducted remotely and that it was too early to decide on in-person schooling for the fall.

Cuomo said the number of countries that have reported cases of a rare inflammatory syndrome impacting children and linked to COVID-19 had nearly doubled in the past week to 13, while the number of states with cases increased by eight to 25.

New York, which has taken a lead in U.S. tracking of the so-called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, is now investigating 159 cases in the state, Cuomo said.

(reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut and Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago, Editing by Franklin Paul)