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New York orders every non-essential worker to stay home as coronavirus cases more than double overnight

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a coronavirus press conference at the governor';s Manhattan office on March 2 in Manhattan, New York. (Barry Williams/New York Daily News/TNS)
March 20, 2020

New York is enacting a mandatory stay-at-home order for all non-essential workforce, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday morning.

Cuomo made the announcement in a press conference, noting the order was “the most drastic action we can take.”

He also tweeted, “I will sign an Executive Order mandating that 100% of workforce must stay home, excluding essential services. This order excludes pharmacies, grocery stores, and others.”

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Cuomo noted the order was not a “shelter-in-place” order because residents are not prohibited from shopping and exercising.

“If the number (of cases) doesn’t slow down, we have to tighten the valve. If they still don’t slow down, we tighten the valve. Now we are closing the valve,” he said.

Cuomo had said on Tuesday night that New York City would not be undergoing a mandatory quarantine, despite NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio saying it was under consideration.

“That cannot happen. It cannot happen legally,” Cuomo told reporters of a possible quarantine. “No city in this state can quarantine itself without state approval and I have no interest whatsoever, and no plan whatsoever, to quarantine any city.”

The announcement on Friday comes after New York state’s number of coronavirus cases more than doubled overnight, surging from 2,950 to 7,102.

New York currently has 53,000 hospital beds, though Cuomo said the state could need double that amount when the coronavirus reaches its peak in an estimated 45 days. The state also has just 3,000 intensive care beds, but could need over 37,000.

The U.S. Navy will be deploying hospital ship USNS Comfort to New York City in response to the coronavirus outbreak. It will offer 1,000 hospital beds to the city, but only for non-coronavirus trauma patients currently taking capacity in New York hospitals.

On Friday, Cuomo also announced an order prohibiting residential and commercial evictions for 90 days.