Coronavirus in N.Y.: Cuomo Confirms Second Case in the State
ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday morning a second confirmed case of coronavirus in New York, a man in his 50s in Westchester County, just outside of New York City, suggesting that it was spreading in communities with no known connections to hot spots for the disease.
The patient, whose test was confirmed overnight in New York City, is a lawyer who works in Manhattan and lives in New Rochelle. He had no direct link with any known center of the contagion, which was first identified in China in late December and has since spread around the world. He had recently traveled to Miami.
On Sunday, officials announced the state’s first case, a 39-year-old woman in Manhattan. She is a health care worker who had been visiting Iran, one of the epicenters of the virus’s rapid spread.
“Yes, people are going to get infected,” the governor said in an interview on Long Island News Radio, adding that “80 percent self-resolve,” referring to the estimated recovery rate for mild or asymptomatic cases.
Mr. Cuomo said the new patient, who had an underlying respiratory illness, was at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, N.Y., before he was moved to a hospital in the city, where he remained. Westchester County officials said they would offer an update later on Tuesday. The governor, a Democrat, said the state was also monitoring two families in the Buffalo area who had recently traveled to Italy, one the centers of Europe’s outbreaks.
“The real issue is how many people will get seriously ill,” Mr. Cuomo said. “How many people, God forbid, could lose their lives.”
The New York City mayor’s office said in a statement that the man was in “serious condition” and that officials were working to identify whom he may have come in close contact with.
The city’s public health laboratory confirmed his case on its first day of being allowed to test for coronavirus, the mayor’s office said.
“With the results confirmed within a number of hours, we were immediately able to take next steps to stop the spread of this virus,” the statement said.
Testing procedures changed over the weekend, when the state’s public health laboratory in Albany, Wadsworth Center, began administering coronavirus tests after receiving permission from the federal government.
Previously, health authorities could not test patients locally and had to send samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, limiting the number of people tested.
On Monday night, acting on a proposal by Mr. Cuomo, the State Legislature approved a $40 million emergency aid package to help the State Department of Health hire additional staff and equipment to help track and fight the disease. The governor said he would sign that bill on Tuesday, and he expected that additional measures to mitigate the disease could be necessary.
“Quarantine is going to have to be done,” Mr. Cuomo said. “All of these things could very well happen.”
He added that the State University of New York system was deciding whether to ask students abroad to return home.
Also on Tuesday, two schools in the New York City area were closed for “precautionary measures” — the SAR Academy and SAR High School in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, and Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Mr. Cuomo said during a news conference on Tuesday that one of the Westchester patient’s children attended SAR, which describes itself as a Modern Orthodox Jewish day school.
The school, which has more than 1,400 students, sent an email to parents and faculty saying it was canceling classes on Tuesday because of a “suspected case of coronavirus.” Administrators urged parents and staff to remain calm and follow advised preventive measures.
Representatives for SAR declined to comment further, referring questions to the State Department of Health.
The Westchester Day School, a private Jewish day school, closed over an “abundance of caution,” said Rachel Goldman, the school’s executive director.
Ms. Goldman said that the school itself did not have any reason to believe that any of its students, faculty or staff had coronavirus, but that it had opted to close when it learned that a person in one of the school’s feeder communities was suspected of contracting the virus.
That person, Ms. Goldman said, did not have any children who attended the school.
Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Michael Gold contributed reporting.