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De Blasio Says New Yorkers Should Prepare for Possible Shelter-In-Place Order

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner of NYC Department of Health Oxiris Barbot at a press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at City Hall last week

March 17, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Mayor Bill de Blasio said New Yorkers should prepare for a possible “shelter-in-place” order as the number of coronavirus cases in New York City jumped more than 75 percent in one day.

Across the five boroughs, there are now 814 positive cases of COVID-19 — up from 463 confirmed yesterday.

Queens has 248 cases, Manhattan has 277, Brooklyn has 157, the Bronx has 96 and Staten Island has 36. New York City’s deaths related to COVID-19 remains at seven.

With such a steep rise in the number of positive cases, de Blasio said a shelter-in-place order is on the table.

“We’re certainly going to have thousands of cases next week,” Mayor de Blasio said.

De Blasio said the decision on whether to issue an order should be made in the next 48 hours and he will work with the state to make that decision.

“I think New Yorkers should be prepared, right now, for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order,” de Blasio told reporters at a press conference today. “It has not happened yet, but it is definitely a possibility at this point.”

Such a measure would be unprecedented in New York City.

“We have never been here before. I have never heard of anything like this in the history of New York City,” de Blasio said.

He said if an order is enacted, the City would have to create it from scratch, but it could look similar to the order in California’s Bay Area which requires people to stay home except for essential activities.

However, at an earlier press conference today, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that no locality could issue a shelter-in-place or quarantine order alone.

“No locality in this state can take an action without state approval,” Cuomo said this morning. For example, “if Albany city said quarantine in place, I wouldn’t allow it.”

“Whatever we do is going to be statewide, thought through, comprehensive,” he said. “Nobody’s going to be quarantined. If there are any additional actions, the likely additional actions would be on the business side first.”

Following, de Blasio’s comments, the Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa reiterated Cuomo’s point.

“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,” DeRosa said.

The mayor also said the City is launching a campaign to recruit more health care workers in what is similar to a “wartime mobilization” effort.

The message of the campaign is simple, de Blasio said.

“If you are a healthcare worker or have any appropriate training, we need you,” he said.

He said the City would mobilize the about 9,000 licensed and retired healthcare workers registered in the Medical Reserve Corps and is asking more to sign up for it.

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