The hospitals — Mt. Sinai, New York-Presbyterian and Bellevue in Manhattan and Montefiore in The Bronx — have been ordered to develop protocols necessary to have "early recognition of patients, rapid isolation and diagnosis and the appropriate care," said Dr. Howard Zucker, acting state commissioner of health.
The hospitals have agreed to the designation and are creating special isolation units to deal with suspected Ebola patients.
More hospitals are expected to be added later.
Cuomo said that the state has "been operating under the assumption that at some point we would have to deal with an Ebola case."
"These eight hospitals will be going through training, drilling with their personnel to make sure they are fully prepared to handle the case," he added.
Since Thomas Eric Duncan, a 42-year-old Texan, contracted Ebola in Liberia, the state has been preparing to handle an Ebola case, said Cuomo. Duncan died a week ago in Dallas. Since then, two nurses who provided Duncan with care have also contracted the deadly virus.
"We have the advantage of watching what happened in Dallas and being able to learn from their experience, and frankly, learn from the mistakes that were made," said Cuomo.
Undercover teams will be sent into the hospitals to track their progress in preparation for handling a suspected Ebola case.
In addition, the state is in contact with all the agencies likely to be first responders to an Ebola case, include the Port Authority and the MTA.
Cuomo said the Port Authority is responsible for making sure proper training is in place for airport workers. The agency will have two ambulances on hand each shift at all of the airports it monitors.
In addition to hospitals, there will also be unannounced drills at college campuses and in the subway and mass transit.
The city's Department of Health says there are no confirmed Ebola cases in New York City.
Since July 31, the city's Health Department has received approximately 88 calls regarding suspected Ebola cases, but only 11 of those people had symptoms and none had the disease.