May 16, 2020 / 5:08 PM / 17 days ago

New COVID-19 cases in New York coming from people leaving home -Cuomo

May 16 (Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday the state’s new confirmed COVID-19 cases are predominantly coming from people who left their homes to go shop, exercise or socialize and not from essential workers.

“That person got infected and went to the hospital or that person got infected and went home and infected the other people at home,” he said during his daily news conference on the coronavirus.

State data showed that the number of new cases statewide has fluctuated between 2,100 and 2,500 per day. The number of new cases decreased to 2,419 on Saturday from 2,762 on Friday.

Cuomo said he theorized last week that new cases were coming from essential workers.

“That was exactly wrong,” he said. “The infection rate among essential workers is lower than the general population and those new cases are coming predominantly from people who are not working and they are at home.”

The state’s budget director, Robert Mujica, said officials expect to “learn a lot more” about the genesis of new cases from contact tracing over the next week.

The state just began contact tracing, which will involve several hundred people, he said.

Cuomo said the five regions that have already opened were required to have a certain number of tracers proportionate to their populations.

“The tracing operation is tremendously large and challenging,” he said.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago Editing by Matthew Lewis

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