Most new Covid-19 hospitalizations in New York state are from people who were staying home and not venturing much outside, a "shocking" finding, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
The preliminary data was from 100 New York hospitals involving about 1,000 patients, Cuomo said at his daily briefing.
It shows that 66% of new admissions were from people who had largely been sheltering at home. The next highest source of admissions was from nursing homes, 18%.
"If you notice, 18% of the people came from nursing homes, less than 1% came from jail or prison, 2% came from the homeless population, 2% from other congregate facilities, but 66% of the people were at home, which is shocking to us," Cuomo said.
"This is a surprise: Overwhelmingly, the people were at home," he added. "We thought maybe they were taking public transportation, and we've taken special precautions on public transportation, but actually no, because these people were literally at home."
Cuomo said nearly 84% of the hospitalized cases were people who were not commuting to work through car services, personal cars, public transit or walking. He said a majority of those people were either retired or unemployed. Overall, some 73% of the admissions were people over age 51.
He said the information shows that those who are hospitalized are predominantly from the downstate area in or around New York City, are not working or traveling and are not essential employees. He also said a majority of the cases in New York City are minorities, with nearly half being African American or Hispanic.
Cuomo said state health officials had thought a high percentage of people who were hospitalized would be essential employees, like health-care workers or city staff, who are still going to work.
"Much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself. Everything is closed down, government has done everything it could, society has done everything it could. Now it's up to you," Cuomo said.
A spokeswoman for Cuomo's office did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for additional comment on the governor's remarks.
Cuomo said the state's hospitalization rate has continued to decline, although at a "painfully slow" rate. He said around 600 infected people were still walking through hospital doors every day, although that number has also declined.
While data shows the coronavirus is on the decline in New York, the new survey results appear to clash with Cuomo's prior assurances that isolation can reliably prevent transmission.
"I was afraid that it was going to infect my family no matter what I did. We're past that," Cuomo said at a press conference on April 13. "If you isolate, if you take the precautions, your family won't get infected."
The daily figures, including the number of people who have died from the coronavirus, will probably be much higher than what has been reported, Cuomo said. He said the state has not been fully documenting the at-home deaths that may be attributable to Covid-19. An additional 232 people died from the coronavirus on Tuesday.
"I think that the reality is going to be worse," Cuomo said.