Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday night that New York City would not have a shelter-in-place order, a few hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was considering it and warned New Yorkers to prepare.
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Speaking to Jake Tapper on CNN, the governor said such an order cannnot be in effect in one part of the state and not in another.
The comments directly cut at what de Blasio said about four hours earlier:
“I think New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order. It has not happened yet, but it’s definitely a possibility at this point,” de Blasio told reporters Tuesday during a briefing at City Hall.
It would be an unprecedented order for the city, de Blasio said, stressing the gravity of the situation as the number of positive diagnoses in the city rapidly climbs.
Speaking on “The Rachel Maddow Show” around 10 p.m. Tuesday night, de Blasio said 10 people in New York City have died because of the new coronavirus and there are 923 cases in the city overall.
It’s not clear what the borough-by-borough breakdown is at this time, but around 3 p.m. the mayor said the numbers were:
- 277 in Manhattan
- 248 in Queens
- 157 in Brooklyn
- 96 in the Bronx
- 36 on Staten island
De Blasio says the number of diagnoses could grow to the thousands by next week.
But a shelter-in-place order would require legal approval from the state government. Earlier on Tuesday, Cuomo said he did not have plans to issue a citywide quarantine order.
De Blasio, however, said his administration had been in close communication with Cuomo and his administration and said he expected to work with Cuomo before reaching a final decision.
“The city an the state should work to resolve this issue in the next 48 hours,” de Blasio told reporters during Tuesday’s briefing.
Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, issued a statement during the mayor’s briefing clarifying state government is not considering shelter-in-place orders at the time.
"The emergency policies that have been issued are of statewide impact, and the Governor is making every effort to coordinate these policies with our surrounding states,” DeRosa said. “Any blanket quarantine or shelter-in-place policy would require State action and as the Governor has said, there is no consideration of that for any locality at this time."
Calling into NY1 on Tuesday evening, Cuomo reiterated that New York will not be quarantined and no one would tell New Yorkers they cannot leave their homes:
Cuomo said a shelter-in-place policy would not work in part because it would need to be regional.
"If New York City says, ‘Well, you can't come out of your house,’ all that will do is cause the people of New York City to go stay with their cousin in Westchester,” the governor said.
It’s not clear how shelter-in-place and quarantine would have differed. Other cities have instituted different types of restrictions. De Blasio said any order would include exceptions allowing New Yorkers to leave their homes in some situations, such as:
- To get groceries
- To clean their clothes
- If they are essential workers, such as health care professionals and first responders
- If they need physical exercise or need to walk their dog
Details of any proposal from de Blasio were not released as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, but he told Maddow that New Yorkers would need to have food brought to them if they had to shelter in place, seemingly contradicting his earlier comments that New Yorkers could get groceries.
The mayor on Tuesday also announced the city has partnered with BioReference — a private laboratory firm which will work with the city to increase testing capacity.
Starting Thursday, de Blasio said he expects the city to conduct up to 5,000 COVID-19 tests per day. Results are expected within 1 or 2 days, cutting the current wait time by about half.
But the city is also saying people with symptoms consistent with the coronavirus should not call their doctor or go to the emergency room for three to four days. De Blasio said if someone’s condition worsens, then they should call their doctor.
This appears to be a move to reduce the number of people flooding into hospitals as the numbers of cases rise exponentially. Experts nationwide predict hospitals across the United States will be overwhelmed in the coming months and likely will not have enough beds for coronavirus patients.
The city, then, is telling New Yorkers that the seriously ill are the priority right now.
“Whether or not someone who’s as home, not feeling well, honestly it doesn’t matter if they get a test, because I want them to stay home. I want them to stay home until they’re better. If they’re not better, then I want them to call their doctors,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said at the Tuesday press briefing. “Having a test doesn’t really matter because most people — 80 percent of people — will have a mild course. Where this makes a difference, and a critical difference, is for those people who do end up in the hospital, and for those people especially who are in critical condition.”
The mayor also announced the city is launching a public campaign to recruit additional health care workers. He described the effort as a “wartime mobilization” push to recruit more health-care workers which will be needed to help with the crisis.
“If you are a health care worker, or if you have appropriate training, we need you, and we need you right away,” de Blasio said.
The city also announced Tuesday that alternate-side street parking will be suspended, starting Wednesday, until March 24.
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