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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that a survey showed that a "shocking" two-thirds of patients recently hospitalized for coronavirus became infected despite largely staying at home.
Hospitals were asked to document where their most recent COVID-19 patients had been staying before admission, Cuomo said, and 66 percent came from their own homes.
About 18 percent came from nursing homes, 4 percent from assisted-living facilities, 2 percent were homeless, 2 percent had been at other "congregate" settings, fewer than 1 percent were prison or jail inmates, and 8 percent were classified as "other."
"This is a surprise," the governor told reporters at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York. "Sixty-six percent of the people were at home, which is shocking to us."
The data came from 113 hospitals reporting information on patients being treated over three recent days, according to state health officials.
"They're not working; they're not traveling," Cuomo said of these recently hospitalized coronavirus patients. "We were thinking that maybe we were going to find a higher percent of essential employees who were getting sick because they were going to work — that these may be nurses, doctors, transit workers. That's not the case. They were predominantly at home."
The state also reported that among these recently hospitalized patients, only 17 percent are currently employed, while 37 percent are retirees and 46 percent are unemployed.
"The largest group of us are still at home, so it's not surprising that the largest source (of recent hospitalizations) are people at home," Kumi Smith, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, told NBC News.
"But if it turns out, it's (coronavirus) still getting into a lot of homes (of non-frontline workers), then that percentage is interesting, it's troubling."
Gov. Cuomo said "personal behavior" could be an ultimate factor in staying safe from the virus.
"Much of of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself," Cuomo said.
"Everything is closed down. Government has done everything it could. Society has done everything it could. Now it's up to you. Are you wearing a mask? Are you doing the hand sanitizer? If you have younger people who are visiting you and may be out there and may be less diligent with the social distancing. Are you staying away from older people?"
At least another 232 New York state residents died in the past 24 hours from causes connected to COVID-19, Cuomo said, bringing the state's coronavirus death roll total to more than 19,877.