SOUTHAMPTON, Long Island (WABC) -- Local leaders on the East End of Long Island have a message for people leaving New York City amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic -- do not come here.
The Hamptons and the East End towns of Long Island are seeing a surge in residents, both from those with summer homes and renters, as people leave New York City. The population numbers now are being equated to what is typically seen during the summer.
It's believed people from New York City may be bringing the coronavirus with them as cases have surged in recent days in places like Southold, East Hampton and Southampton. Leaders of those towns are worried the small healthcare system will not be able to keep up with patients.
"We get why people want to come out here," Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. "We have beautiful open spaces. It's probably easier for Manhattanites to come out here to their large summer homes than the limited elbow room of their New York City apartments, but it does put a lot of stress on our system."
Officials with the White House Coronavirus Task Force are telling anyone who comes to the Hamptons or the East End of Long Island from New York City should self-quarantine for 14 days.
"We are starting to see new cases across Long Island that suggests people have left the city," task force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said. "So this will be very critical that those individuals do self-quarantine in their homes over these next 14 days to make sure they don't pass the virus to others based on the time that they left New York, so if they are already four days out, then it's just 10 more days."
Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said Southold, which now has 111 positive cases, cannot take on any more residents.
"We have just one hospital," he said. "There's much more difficult access to healthcare now."
Russell said furthermore the town cannot keep up with the services people are demanding, including food and emergency services.
"For those who are looking to come to Southold, we don't have anything to offer you," he said. "We're already overstrained."
Schneiderman is hoping Governor Andrew Cuomo will get involved.
"I would like to see the governor go a little further and maybe put some restrictions on unnecessary travel to our area over the next maybe 14 days," he said.
Schneiderman is putting together a letter signed by the local supervisors to send to the governor urging him to step in to help.
"We ask that you consider placing temporary limitations on non-essential travel from New York City to our area."
Cuomo has already said he didn't think this was doable/necessary