Cuomo and Trump at an impasse

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks during a press conference Feb. 12. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued an executive order Wednesday to restrict at least 50% of the state’s workforce from leaving home as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic continues to spread.

Gov. Cuomo announced the order during a press conference late Wednesday morning in the state Capitol. The new regulation prohibits more than 50% of employees to leave home except for essential services including food, pharmacies, health care, shipping, supplies and media, the governor said.

“This is a public health crisis,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Once we get past that, we’ll deal with the economic crisis.”

Pennsylvania is joining New York’s regional agreement with New Jersey and Connecticut to close all restaurants, bars, theaters, casinos and movie theaters except for takeout and delivery, Gov. Cuomo said Wednesday.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut closed all bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms in the tri-state area Monday night, excluding take-out orders and delivery. The regional order excludes essential businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, banks, pharmacies and hospitals.

State officials did not say the state’s updated number of fatalities Wednesday.

Twelve New Yorkers died of the virus as of Tuesday afternoon since the state’s first COVID-19-related death Saturday. At least seven of the 12 deaths were senior citizens with underlying conditions and took place in downstate or New York City hospitals, Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said Monday.

The state had 2,382 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon with 549 people, or about 23% of cases, in the hospital — up 19% from Tuesday.

Since the state’s first confirmed case March 1, 108 people have recovered and been discharged from the hospital.

“You do build up an immunity to COVID-19,” Mr. Zucker said, adding anyone who has recovered from the illness is considered “out of the woods” to become reinfected a second time.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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