People wait to receive relief goods at the Elmcor Building in Corona, Queens, New York, USA during the Coronavirus pandemic on May 6, 2020.

John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 5/6/20

New York City officials are considering a plan that would forcibly quarantine residents diagnosed with COVID-19 who refused to voluntarily self-isolate, according to a public hearing first reported Gothamist.

City officials are also preparing 1,200 hotel rooms to be made available for people who cannot isolate themselves in their own homes.

Mitchell Katz, the CEO of NYC Health and Hospitals said during the hearing that he expected 99% of people asked to self-isolate would do so voluntarily.

The mandatory quarantine orders would have to be issued by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Katz said.

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New York City officials are considering a plan to forcibly quarantine individuals who test positive for COVID-19 but refuse to self-isolate, the CEO of New York City Hospitals during a committee hearing on Friday.

Gothamist first reported that Dr. Mitchell Katz, CEO of NYC Health and Hospitals, made the comments at a committee hearing Friday discussing the city’s contact tracing efforts.

Though the order is an option, NYC Health and Hospitals does not have the authority to place individuals on forced quarantine, Katz said, and the agency would rely on the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to enact the mandatory isolation.

“We have not ruled out using any of the powers of DOHMH,” Katz said, according to a video of the May 15 public hearing first reported by Gothamist. “Of course, they will be issued by DOHMH by, as a commissioner order; it would not be by [Health and Hospitals]. Our hope is not to have to use them.”

Katz said he expected that 99% of New York City residents infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, would voluntarily self-isolate when asked. Katz said a forced quarantine was reserved for the worst-case scenarios, Gothamist reported.

When reached for comment, a representative of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene directed Business Insider to NYC Health and Hospitals, which directed Business Insider to the video of the hearing.

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The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

City hospitals will also make 1200 hotel rooms available by the beginning of June for those ordered to self-isolate but find themselves unable to do so at their own homes, Dr. Ted Long, vice president of ambulatory care at the municipal hospital system, said during the hearing.

Hospitals will provide medication and food for their families at their homes while they are quarantined away from them, and social workers and counselors will be available to patients quarantined in hotels, he said, Gothamist reported.

Long also said 500 contact tracers have already been hired to track down the movements and contact of people who test positive for COVID-19. Business Insider previously reported that New York City plans to hire 1,000 contact tracers throughout May and plans to begin its contact tracing efforts in June.

New York has been the hardest-hit region in the US, with 351,371 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22,729 deaths, according to data released by the New York State Department of Health.

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