NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of people who may have been exposed to coronavirus in New York have been told to self quarantine.
The warning comes after a Westchester County man tested positive for the disease.
The man is 50 and lives in New Rochelle but works as an attorney at Lewis and Garbuz, P.C. in Manhattan. He’s a member of Young Israel of New Rochelle. Five hundred to 700 people who attended services there must quarantine themselves at home.
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Meanwhile, the death toll from coronavirus is rising in Washington State. Nine people are now confirmed dead there.
The quarantine order is massively disruptive for the faith community in New Rochelle’s north end. New York ordered Young Israel to halt all services, and people who worshiped there on Saturday Feb. 22 or attended a bat mitzvah and/or a funeral there on Feb. 23 must self-quarantine until March 8.
The synagogue is now at the center of concerns about the spread of novel coronavirus.
“We have a case in Westchester. A 50-year-old gentleman who did not travel to any of the places that are on the watch list,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday. “He did travel to Miami, but that is not a place that we have known that there’s any cluster of coronavirus.”
Cuomo started the day by sharing the news about the stricken man, who attended services at Young Israel of New Rochelle.
What first presented as a straightforward respiratory condition did not improve. He sought treatment at Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville on Feb. 27 and then was transferred to New York Presbyterian-Columbia, where the coronavirus diagnosis was confirmed. He’s in serious condition.
“The family of the individual being treated in New York City, right now that family is quarantined in their home,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer.
Latimer says the man is married with four children, two of which are in Israel. One attends Yeshiva University in New York City and one is a student at SAR High School in Riverdale, which closed Tuesday and did not respond to requests for comment.
Health officials are currently awaiting test results from one of the patient’s children after he too started showing symptoms.
His fellow classmates at Yeshiva University told CBS2’s Christina Fan they were nervous even though the school announced it’s disinfecting common areas.
“We definitely see Purrell that’s laid out on the security desk, but that’s about all that we’ve seen. It’s definitely scary to be here right now,” one student said.
“I think that it’s kind of irresponsible for the school that we still have classes right now,” another student said.
As word began to spread in New Rochelle Tuesday morning about exposure in the Jewish community, the Beth-El synagogue preschool closed as a precaution.
“My daughter-in-law is pregnant, so we’re a little bit concerned. My grandchild goes to Beth-El that was closed today,” said Westchester resident Linda Negrin. “You know, we’re concerned, but we’re not panicking.”
The governor said the patient has an underlying respiratory condition and is currently hospitalized in serious condition.
“NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center is treating a confirmed case of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The patient was transferred from NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital,” NewYork-Presbyterian added in a statement of its own. “We have been planning and preparing for this situation, and are following rigorous, CDC-recommended isolation procedures for the health and safety of all of our patients, employees, medical staff, and visitors.
“You’re going to see a continued spreading,” said Cuomo. “That spreading is inevitable.”
The Westchester Torah Academy in White Plains is also closed out of an abundance of caution. No one there is believed to have the virus, but administrators said they needed a day to assess the situation.
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A 39-year-old health care worker tested positive after returning from Iran with her husband, who’s also expected to have the virus.
They’re isolated in the Manhattan apartment with mild symptoms, as authorities work to track down people on their flight and the driver who took them home.
Transit officials say new protocols will ensure the entire fleet is disinfected every 72 hours.
Additionally, the governor signed a $40 million emergency management authorization for coronavirus response.