The family and a neighbor of the 50-year-old New Rochelle lawyer who tested positive for coronavirus have become the four latest subjects to test positive for COVID-19.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, March 4 to offer an update of coronavirus in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the man’s 20-year-old son, 14-year-old daughter, wife and a neighbor who drove the man to NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville all tested positive.
There are now six confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York State. Though that number is expected to climb, the governor cautioned.
“By definition. the more people you test the more people you will find who test positive,” Cuomo said at the press briefing, predicting there will be "dozens and dozens" more confirmed cases in the state. (See full video above.)
"This will be a very significant challenge for our community," New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said. "Already hundreds of residents, chiefly members of the congregation of Young Israel of New Rochelle, have been quarantined as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the virus.
"At a minimum, this will be a deeply distressing and disruptive experience for the families affected. Investigation of potential avenues of exposure is ongoing and additional directives may follow as needed."
Cuomo said he would be meeting with school and government officials in Westchester at noon Wednesday to discuss the developing situation.
"We have an epidemic caused by Coronavirus but we have a pandemic that is caused by fear," Cuomo said at the press briefing. "Now what causes fear? Two things: People get afraid when they think they don't have the right information or they don't trust the information they're getting. Or the information they're getting is so frightening that they have the normal reaction.
"I think in this case, people are suspect about what they're hearing because government now is so polarized in so many ways.
"The environment is so political that you hear different messages about the situation and then it gets politicized. The Democrats say the Republicans are trying to minimize it. The Republicans say the Democrats are hyping it.
"So I think it's very important here in New York that I provide the factual information to people so they know these are just the facts."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said those who work with the New Rochelle attorney at his midtown-Manhattan firm are currently being tested by the city's Health Department while he is being treated at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center in serious condition.
As of Wednesday, there have been 94,348 reported coronavirus cases around the globe, including 129 in the United States. The World Health Organization’s risk assessment is “very high” on the global and regional level.
"Our view continues to be that containment of COVID-19 must be the top priority for all countries, but at the same time, countries should be preparing for sustained community transmission," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom said. "That’s why we’re suggesting a comprehensive approach. With early, aggressive measures, countries can stop transmission and save lives."
Shortages of basic health equipment due to the rapid spread of the virus is leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for COVID-19 patients, due to limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons," Adhanom noted.
“Without secure supply chains, the risk to healthcare workers around the world is real. Industry and governments must act quickly to boost supply, ease export restrictions and put measures in place to stop speculation and hoarding. We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting health workers first."
- Related story: Coronavirus Could Disrupt US Schools, Transportation, Says Acting White House Chief Of Staff
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."
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said that she is working to increase funding for our response and to ensure that our government has the resources it needs to combat coronavirus.
"Federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services must use their resources to monitor and prevent the spread of coronavirus, distribute tests to every community in the country, and develop and administer a vaccine to every person in America. "
This continues to be a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.
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