The New York State Department of Health is partnering with hospitals in an effort to conduct upwards of 1,000 tests for coronavirus per day across the state.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Wadsworth Center is teaming with local hospitals to expand surge testing capacity to 1,000 tests per day statewide for the novel coronavirus.
Cuomo said the Wadsworth Center will provide hospitals with instructions on how to replicate the State's test, as well as help them purchase some of the equipment necessary to develop and validate the test.
The announcement comes on the heels of the Food and Drug Administration's approval for the Wadsworth Center to begin tests for the coronavirus — the first non-CDC test that has been given approval by the FDA.
The approval comes at a critical time as the CDC and the Department of Health have expanded testing criteria to include travel from other countries - specifically Italy, South Korea and Iran - and others without travel history where individuals are hospitalized with respiratory symptoms with no other explanation.
So far, Wadsworth Center has received samples from 4 New Yorkers for testing: two came back negative; one came back positive, and one is still pending.
Previously, samples from 28 New Yorkers were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing, all 28 came back negative.
The first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in New York, a woman in her thirties, was done through the State's Wadsworth testing lab.
The governor noted that the state is also instituting new cleaning protocols for schools and at public transportation hubs to help curtail the spread of the virus.
As of Monday, March 2, there were 87,137 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the globe, including 1,739 new cases. Of those cases, 79,968 cases were confirmed in China, with 2,873 deaths reported. There have been 62 confirmed cases in the United States, with one death.
According to the Health Department, while there is currently no vaccine for the novel coronavirus, everyday preventative actions can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- Stay home when you are sick;
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
- Individuals who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern or have been in contact with somebody who has traveled to these areas should call ahead to their healthcare provider before presenting for treatment.
"We have the best health-care system in the world, and we are leveraging that system to help contain any potential spread of the novel coronavirus in New York," Cuomo said in a statement. "We will expand testing so we can do 1,000 tests per day thanks to the State's world-renowned Wadsworth Lab in partnership with hospitals.
“This isn't our first rodeo - we are fully coordinated, we are fully mobilized, and we are fully prepared to deal with the situation as it develops."
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, that "we are in unchartered territory. We have never before seen a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission, but which can also be contained with the right measures."
"If this was an influenza epidemic, we would have expected to see widespread community transmission across the globe by now, and efforts to slow it down or contain it would not be feasible. But containment of COVID-19 is feasible and must remain the top priority for all countries.
"With early, aggressive measures, countries can stop transmission and save lives he added. "We appreciate that people are debating whether this is a pandemic or not. We are monitoring the situation every moment of every day, and analyzing the data. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: WHO will not hesitate to describe this as a pandemic if that’s what the evidence suggests."
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