NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed Sunday night the first positive test for coronavirus in the state.
The patient is a Manhattan woman in her 30s who recently traveled to Iran. She is currently self-quarantined in her home.
We have learned of the 1st positive case of COVID-19 in NY. The patient contracted the virus while in Iran & is isolated
There is no reason for undue anxiety—the general risk remains low in NY. We are diligently managing this situation &will provide info as it becomes available. pic.twitter.com/rLnObvrg3R
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 2, 2020
“The patient has respiratory symptoms, but is not in serious condition and has been in a controlled situation since arriving in New York,” the governor said in a statement.
Cuomo urged the public to remain calm, saying, “As I said from the beginning, it was a matter of when, not if there would be a case of novel coronavirus in New York.”
The confirmation comes on the heels of the city saying it was testing two residents for the virus. However, it is not known at this time if the woman was one of those two potential cases. The results of those cases were to take 36 to 48 hours to confirm.
“The positive test was confirmed by New York’s Wadsworth Lab in Albany, underscoring the importance of the ability for our state to ensure efficient and rapid turnaround, and is exactly why I advocated for the approval from Vice President Pence that New York was granted just yesterday,” Cuomo said in the statement. “There is no reason for undue anxiety — the general risk remains low in New York. We are diligently managing this situation and will continue to provide information as it becomes available.”
City and state health officials have previously tested several New York patients who have reported symptoms consistent with the virus, but until now each suspected case had proven to be a false alarm.
Earlier Sunday, health officials announced the first case of the new COVID-19 coronavirus had been confirmed in Rhode Island.
On Sunday, the Rhode Island Department of Health said the person is in their 40s and had traveled to Italy in mid-February. State public health officials are working with the hospital where the unnamed person is currently being treated to ensure all infection control protocols are being followed.
The person tested positive for COVID-19, and those results were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for final confirmation, Dr. Nichole Alexander-Scott, the state’s director of health, said Sunday at a press conference.
“At this point time, the general level of risk for Rhode Islanders is low. There is no need for panic, there is no need to be frightened,” Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said at the press conference.
The first two reported deaths in the U.S. happened over the weekend in the state of Washington, where a state of emergency has been declared. The U.S. has 85 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. Worldwide, the number of people sickened by the virus hovered Friday around 83,000, and there were more than 2,800 deaths, most of them in China.
Most infections result in mild symptoms, including coughing and fever, though some can become more serious and lead to pneumonia. Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses such as heart or lung disease, are especially vulnerable. Health officials think it spreads mainly from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States is considered small. But that number is expected to grow, and health agencies have been ramping up efforts to identify those who may be sick.
On Saturday, the White House announced new travel restrictions on Iran. It also told Americans to avoid traveling to areas in Italy and South Korea most affected by the virus. Several U.S. airlines are also pulling back flights. Delta and American have suspended flights to Milan for the next several weeks.
Passengers at John F. Kennedy Airport worried about a lack of coronavirus screenings got what they wanted this weekend.
“On the flight they did take my temperature before I got on the plane,” one passenger told CBS2’s Christina Fan on Sunday night.
“I think they do need to pay attention to what countries people are coming from,” another passenger said.
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that not only will passengers from highly infected countries be screened prior to boarding, they will be screened again after arriving in America.
“I’m more confident than ever that we are bringing a whole government approach. The president is directing the whole resources of the federal government,” Vice President Mike Pence said.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)