Coronavirus News: New hospitalizations confound expectations in New York state

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Most of the new cases of coronavirus coming into hospitals in New York state are people who are older, not working and predominantly at home, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

The findings were the result of a three-day survey of New York hospitals and 1,300 patients.

Among the key results:

Most are from the New York City area

Most are 51 years old or older

They are predominantly minority and non-essential workers

Only 3 percent in New York City have been taking public transportation

Only 17 percent were employed (the rest are unemployed or retired)

84 percent are staying at home

"This is a surprise. Overwhelmingly the people were at home. While there's been a lot of speculation about this, a lot of people again had opinions - a lot of people have been arguing where they come from and where we should be focusing, but if you notice 18% of the people came from nursing homes. Less than 1% came from jail or prison. 2% came from the homeless population. 2% from other congregate facilities. But 66% of the people were at home, which is shocking to all of us."

Gov. Cuomo released the preliminary survey results with new admissions still at 600 a day statewide, despite six weeks of severe social distancing.

Though hospitalization rates are dropping slowly, health officials want to target their outbreak-fighting efforts more precisely. The three-day survey of 113 hospitals confounded expectations that new cases would be dominated by essential workers, especially those traveling on public transportation.

At the same time, other survey results conformed with previous findings. More than half the hospitalizations were in New York City. African-Americans accounted for 21% of hospitalizations and Hispanics another 17%

"It reinforces what we've been saying, which is much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself," Cuomo said at his daily briefing. "Everything is closed down, the government has done everything it could ... now it's up to you. Are you wearing a mask, are you doing the hand sanitizer?"

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