NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus continues to grow in New York.
As of Friday night, the total of confirmed cases in the state had reached 44, while New Jersey confirmed four cases.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced 11 new confirmed cases late Friday afternoon. Eight of the new cases are in Westchester County and three are in Nassau County. A total of 22 new cases were reported Friday, including the first two in Rockland County.
One new New Jersey case was reported Friday in Camden County. The others are in Bergen County.
CORONAVIRUS: CDC Latest | NY State Health Dept. | NYC Health Dept. | NY Hotline: 1-(888)-364-3065 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Hotline: 1-(800)-222-1222
There’s a lot of anxiety around the virus as new numbers and information come in, but there’s solid, practical advice that’s being made available in schools, offices, and even mass transit. All sorts of precautions are being taken as part of a new normal.
Crews are scrubbing a local medical clinic after a doctor who works there tested positive for the coronavirus.
In White Plains, the Maple Medical Group at 30 Davis Avenue is closed and being cleaned and disinfected after a doctor there tested positive for the coronavirus. His wife and four children have also tested positive, and are under self-quarantine. Workers have been tested and they’re determining which patients need to be contacted.
Precautions are being taken throughout the area in Westchester County. The Mastercard office building in Purchase closed after being visited by an employee from Brazil diagnosed with the virus.
Rockland County announced its first cases of the virus.
“We’re here to inform you that we have two cases of coronavirus here in Rockland County. This is no surprise. This is what we were expecting for a while now,” said Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Ruppert.
Dr. Ruppert said they’re doing well at home.
The majority of the New York cases are connected to a 50-year-old attorney from New Rochelle who works in Manhattan, Cuomo said.
“He attended functions at [Young Israel of New Rochelle]. He attended a bat mitzvah. There were a large number of people in this gathering, he contacted a large number of people. And we are very exhaustive in the testing followup,” Cuomo said.
“There may have always been a lot of people walking around with coronavirus already. There may be a lot of people walking around with coronavirus today who we don’t know, and who we’ll never know. You may very well have coronavirus, and you’re walking around, and it then resolves, and you never even know you had it,” Cuomo said. “People can have it already. People could’ve had it and it could’ve resolved by now. People can get it and not know they had it and it can resolve.”
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The numbers are rising as more people are being tested, but officials say there’s no reason to panic.
“The number has to go up. The number can’t go down. The number has to go up, because we are testing people. Because we want to find people who are testing positive, that’s how you contain it,” Cuomo said.
“I’m urging reality. I’m urging a factual response as opposed to an emotional response. I’m urging people understand the information and not the hype. We have more people in this country dying from the flu than we have dying from the coronavirus,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo again reiterated 80% of those infected will self-resolve, 20% may get ill and may require hospitalization, and it is most problematic for senior citizens, people with underlying conditions or compromised immune systems.
Cuomo pointed out of the 44 positive cases in New York, only five have required hospitalization, and they are all improving.
“This is like a flu on steroids,” Cuomo said. “If you look at the facts, facts dictate calm.”
There are 4,000 people in precautionary quarantine statewide, Cuomo said, including 2,700 in New York City and 1,000 in Westchester County.
There are 44 people under mandatory quarantine statewide, including nine in New York City, 33 in Westchester and one in Nassau County.
Friday night, Connecticut’s governor announced that a New York resident who tested positive for coronavirus works at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, and Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, Connecticut. Hospital officials say she came in contact with a limited number of patients and some employees between the two hospitals.
“We have one of the great hospital systems in the country and if anybody’s ready to handle this, it’s Danbury Hospital,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.
The woman is self-quarantined at her home in Westchester County.
One of the additional cases of coronavirus is a person in New York City. There are now five total cases in New York City. The number of people who’ve tested negative is 47, with 40 test results still pending.
Due to the growing concern of community spread, Mayor Bill de Blasio said new strategies are being implemented.
“If you’re well, and you don’t have any symptoms, it’s just go about the basic precautions. Wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Try not to be touching all the parts of your face that allow in the disease. Avoid handshakes,” de Blasio said. “Be vigilant about symptoms.”
“If you do have the symptoms: If you have a fever, if you have a cough, if you have a runny nose, if you have congestion, stay home,” de Blasio said.
“We’re focused on ensuring that New Yorkers get the message that if they are sick, if they have symptoms, cold-like symptoms, if they have traveled, we want them to reach out to the doctors. Even if they haven’t traveled, we want them to have a lower threshold of staying home when they are sick,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said. “The most important thing to note is if you’re sick, stay home. If you’re sick for more than two days, reach out to your doctor, ask for the test if you think you’ve got concerns.”
Officials emphasized the illness was airborne and could only be transmitted through fluids. City officials also said they believe the virus can only live on most household surfaces for a few minutes.
“Very often, when new viruses are identified, there are studies that are done in laboratories that don’t look like real-life conditions. So we think, like other coronaviruses and cold viruses, this one also has a life on surfaces that is short, not as long as quoted by the WHO” said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, deputy commissioner of New York City Department of Health. “In the laboratory, I can make anything live long in the laboratory.”
Dr. Daskalakis said most coronavirus can typically live on a surface like an office desk or similar for roughly 2-3 minutes.
“All of our scientific advisors within the Department of Health agree that it’s on the order of minutes,” he said.
De Blasio said the city has ramped up its testing capacity and can now perform hundreds of tests per day.
De Blasio said a Manhattan resident in his 50s tested positive and had a nexus to the New Rochelle case.
“He has mild symptoms at this moment. We are testing his family and the disease detectives are following up on his contacts,” de Blasio said in a radio interview.
Two schools in Manhattan have been closed as a precaution. The Spence School sent a letter to parents saying a family is being monitored after a parent was exposed to the virus during recent international travel. The Collegiate School will also be closed because the parent of a middle school student may have been exposed.
The mayor said he is open to other city schools closing, but in the meantime, he’s urging parents to keep their kids home if they’re showing any signs of sickness.
In Lower Manhattan offices at 40 Worth Street street were temporarily closed after a woman tested positive and is recovering at home.
Rabbi Reuven Fink, the rabbi of Young Israel of New Rochelle where the attorney at the center of most cases worships, is also among the more than a dozen patients connected to the lawyer. Rabbi Fink also teaches at Yeshiva University.
“Rabbi Reuven Fink, the Rabbi of the Young Israel of New Rochelle, who has been in self-quarantine for being in contact with his congregant who has tested positive has announced to his congregation that he also tested positive with the coronavirus,” the school posted overnight. “Rabbi Fink teaches two undergraduate classes at our Washington Heights campus. We have reached out to his students and recommended as a precautionary measure to self-quarantine until further notice.
— Yeshiva University (@YUNews) March 6, 2020
Rabbi Fink wrote an article about being diagnosed with the coronavirus.
“I have the virus and am doing reasonably well… but I must caution all of you who have had personal contact with me to seek counsel from your health practitioners as to how to proceed,” he wrote.
“A crisis can bring out the best in people. It is bringing out the best in us,” he added, mentioning neighbors and volunteers shopping for those in need, particularly those who were elderly and sick.
Long Island’s first case was confirmed Thursday in Nassau County.
“The District has been in close contact with Nassau County and New York State health officials, and we have been told that at the current time, there is no reason to take any additional precautionary or preventative measures that those we already have in place,” Lloyd said in a statement.
Also on Long Island, Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre released a statement Friday saying a part-time employee tested positive He’s a 42-year-old man from Uniondale and had underlying health conditions. He’s now at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola.
Three new Nassau County cases were identified Friday.
As coronavirus concerns build, many worries now center around testing to determine how many are infected. There are questions as to how many test kits are currently available in New York and across the country.
This is especially important since not everyone shows symptoms.
Friday morning, President Donald Trump signed a sweeping spending bill to combat the spread of coronavirus, pumping $8.3 billion into prevention efforts.
“I asked for 2.5 and I got 8.3. I’ll take it,” Trump said.
Money from the bill will also go towards research to produce a vaccine.
It comes a day after Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the administration’s admitted a shortfall in the number of coronavirus testing kits that are available.
“We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward,” Pence said.
Congress is investigating the slow rollout of the kits, which are just now reaching labs across the country. There are only 400,000 tests available nationally.
During a visit to the CDC on Friday, however, the president said test kits are becoming more widely available.
“Anybody that needs a test gets a test,” Trump said.
Cuomo outlined testing priorities in New York going forward:
- Those who have been in close proximity to a person who has already tested positive
- People who have traveled to a country with level 2 or 3 health notice from the CDC and are experiencing symptoms
- People in quarantine and develop symptoms while in quarantine
- A seriously ill individual who has not tested positive for other viruses
Meanwhile, store shelves are empty as people continue to buy out hand sanitizer and other anti-bacterial products and prices are skyrocketing online due to price gouging.
New York City pharmacies are having trouble keeping up with demand.
“Soon as we get it, it’s off the shelf. So when an order comes in, within about an hour, it’s all gone. We try to keep it to a limit, three to a customer,” store owner Leon Tarasenko said.
One New Jersey woman says she went to six stores before finding hand sanitizer.
“When I went to pay, she said $50, and I think that’s disgusting and they’re taking advantage of people right now,” she said.
Online, sales of virus protection products have skyrocketed, up 817% in the last two months. Amazon says it is blocking or removing thousands of offers where “bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis.”
Now, states and cities are cracking down.
New York City is issuing $500 fines to any stores found price gouging.