NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York is bracing for a coronavirus outbreak.
CBS2 has learned hundreds of people are being monitored for possible coronavirus exposure in New York state.
The Health Department says 700 people in the state have been asked to voluntarily self-isolate for two weeks.
That includes 83 people in Nassau County, 29 in Suffolk County and eight in Westchester.
It’s important to point out there are no confirmed cases here, and no one in New York City or in New Jersey is being monitored.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s not a matter of if, but when the coronavirus becomes a bigger issue in the United States.
Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio joined New York City health officials to outline a plan of action once the virus shows up in the city.
As of Wednesday, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the city.
All those who were in quarantine have been released – but that’s expected to change. And once it does, city leaders say they’re ready, but could use more help from the federal government.
De Blasio was flanked by city health officials to outline the plan to address the coronavirus.
“We’re in a state of high vigilance, high readiness all across city government to address this crisis,” de Blasio said.
When necessary, 1,200 hospital beds will be available throughout the city to treat affected patients. 1.5 million surgical masks have also been bought for healthcare professionals and first responders, including the NYPD.
“We’ve given out thousands upon thousands of gloves, masks, and wipes to our command. Patrols, housing and transit has them,” said NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan.
“For everyday New Yorkers, there’s no need to use a mask,” said NYC Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot.
“While there are no confirmed cases, we are in close contact with the city’s Health Department regarding potential impact to school communities, and are communicating updated guidance to principals and families today. There are no plans to close schools at this time, and any changes will be determined by public health experts,” the Department of Education said in a statement.
Schools are providing parents with information, hoping they’re the first line of defense to keep children home who have flu like symptoms and have been to the affected area or exposed to someone who has.
“Every New Yorker needs to take responsibility. So if you have a symptom and you have that nexus or your child does, act,” he said.
Still city leaders want the federal government needs to do more.
De Blasio says the city needs access to 300,000 more masks. He wants the CDC to utilize local labs and lean on the medical community to help develop a test for the coronavirus. DeBlasio also says travel restrictions should be extended to include more countries.
“Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand. Anyone needs to be screened and if they have symptoms they need to be quarantined,” de Blasio said.
City leaders don’t want to increase fear but provide the necessary information as the coronavirus continues to spread.
Doctors say the coronavirus has not been as severe outside of China.
The advice to prevent it- or any virus from spreading- is still to wash your hands frequently and cover your cough with your elbow.
Monday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s sending an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to the legislature next week asking for $40 million for the Department of Health.
He says New York state will be ready.
“We’ve gone through a number of public health emergencies that we’ve dealt with and each one seems new and unique, but we’ve handled situations like this in the past. And we’re handling this one also,” Cuomo said.