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COVID-19 Hospitalizations Reach New Low as NY Plans Quarantine Inspections

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses reporters
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters in March.
Credit: Dan Clark

New York has hit another milestone in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic: hospitalizations from the disease have now dipped below 1,000 for the first time in about three months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

And to keep that number low, Cuomo said New York state will be conducting random inspections of people who arrive from states with high infection rates of the disease.

That’s part of a new travel advisory from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut that requires individuals traveling from COVID-stricken states to quarantine themselves for 14 days. Cuomo announced the new policy Wednesday.

But there was question, at the time, about how the quarantine would be enforced. Cuomo said Wednesday that if people were reported for violating the quarantine order, either by police or individuals, a judge could order them into mandatory quarantine.

Cuomo said Thursday that the state would be going further: New York will randomly look at the names on lists of people traveling by plane into the state, and “follow up” to make sure they’re abiding by the quarantine order.

“We'll have inspectors who are randomly looking at the names on the list and calling to follow up to make sure you're quarantining,” Cuomo said. “And if you're not, you're in violation of the law and you will have a mandatory quarantine, and you'll be fined.”

Those fines range from $2,000 for a first offense to $10,000 if it’s determined that an individual's actions have been found to cause harm.

The goal, Cuomo has said, is to keep the number of COVID-19 infections — and hospitalizations — remain low in New York.

For the first time since the peak of the disease, the number of hospitalizations dipped to triple digits on Wednesday, the latest data from the state. Hospitalizations are now down to 996 statewide, Cuomo said, and only 17 people died from the disease Wednesday.

New York has seen a consistent drop in the number of hospitalizations, and deaths, in the last month. So much so that Cuomo, last week, stopped his daily briefings on the disease, saying he would deliver updates as needed.