NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City Health Department says one city resident is being tested for coronavirus.
The department said Thursday afternoon that the resident recently traveled to Italy, where there are more than 300 cases, and reported symptoms of the virus.
The federal government expanded its criteria to test for #COVID19 to include Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. As a result, we have now identified another person in New York City to test for the virus. https://t.co/HaRFxUSvmu
— Commissioner Oxiris Barbot (@NYCHealthCommr) February 27, 2020
Testing to determine whether or not the resident, who is under 50 years old, has coronavirus will take at least 36 to 48 hours.
So far, six New York City residents have tested negative for coronavirus, along with one non-city resident who was cared for in a New York City hospital.
In New York state, 700 people are being monitored for possible coronavirus exposure. That includes 83 people in Nassau County, 29 in Suffolk County and eight in Westchester. Those individuals have been asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for two weeks.
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined New York City health officials on Wednesday to outline a plan of action for when the virus shows up in the city.
“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. Additionally, 1.5 million surgical masks have been purchased 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.
Schools are providing parents with information, hoping they’re the first line of defense to keep children home if they have flu-like symptoms and have been to the affected area or exposed to someone who has.
There are new concerns about the government’s response to the virus. A whistleblower claims that federal health employees who interacted with quarantined Americans lacked training and protective gear and then scattered into the general population.
The Department of Health and Human Service says it’s evaluating the complaint.
At the White House, the president insists the coronavirus response is under control and patients are improving.
“We’re doing a great job,” President Donald Trump said. “Those people are all doing well. They’re doing very well. The 15, of the 15, most of them are doing very well. One is quite sick, frankly.”
A California woman was diagnosed with the virus and health officials have no idea where she got it. They’re urgently trying to track down everyone who came in contact with her.
“This particular case could be the first possible instance of community transmission of COVID19 in the United States,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health.
She was treated at a hospital less than 10 miles away from Travis Air Force, where passengers from the Diamond Princess are under quarantine.
Around the world, battles against the virus are ramping up across at least 48 countries, with infections now on every continent except Antarctica.
In Japan, all schools in the country will be closed until late March.
The question now is how quickly can a vaccine be generated? Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are among the very few to receive the coronavirus in hopes of developing a vaccine.
“It’s significant in the sense that, that’s the start of the process by which we are able to determine how to stop growing it,” Dr. Paul Duprex said.
Successfully developing any vaccine could take up to a year or more.