NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says hospitals saw a decrease in the number of coronavirus patients in the ICU for the first time since the pandemic started.

After almost two weeks at Mount Sinai South in Oceanside, Earl Davis has beaten COVID-19 and is heading home, his discharge greeted with a hug from his daughter.

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At Holy Name Medical in Teaneck, Louise Fango was also released after seven days in isolation for the disease.

At Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, a new day is dawning for 88-year-old Rita Rooney after 14 days fighting COVID. Health care heroes celebrate every time a COVID patient is released. They call it a “Code Sun,” in honor of the Beatles tune they play.

But even as discharges mount, the bed count increases. The Baker Athletics Complex at Columbia University is being converted into a field hospital with room for almost 300 COVID-19 patients.

New York is trying to get a grip on how many hospital beds it will actually need.

On March 24, Cuomo cited one projection — an apocalyptic 140,000 hospital beds needed. Right now, fewer than 20,000 are in use.

The governor was asked if that is a hit on his credibility.

“You ask the best minds for what you should be prepared for and then you do everything you can to meet those numbers. The way you lose credibility is either you’re in denial about what you’re looking at or you don’t act fast enough,” he said.

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The governor said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the latest hospitalization numbers but acknowledged “we continue to lose a tremendous number of lives and endure great pain.”

He also called on the federal government to establish a COVID-19 Heroes Compensation Fund, like the one created after 9/11, for all essential workers impacted by the pandemic and their families.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Cuomo credits New Yorkers for tolerating closed businesses, schools and houses of worship. It is taking an enormous emotional and economic toll.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Mayor Bill de Blasio says social distancing will remain the order of the day until it’s safe to take steps back to normal.

“Maybe it starts in May, maybe it starts in June,” he said. “We could be angry, we have every right to be angry and frustrated, we can’t do the things we’re used to, and we need our families right now so much and we can’t have that connection.”

The death toll is far from the worst-case scenario, but it’s greater than any community would ever want to bear.

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So we count on the small victories to lift our spirits.