The 42-year-old man on Long Island who tested positive for coronavirus had underlying health risks before being hospitalized, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
During his second press briefing of the day on the spread of COVID-19, Cuomo was joined by top health officials from hospitals on Long Island, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran to offer an update on the virus in New York.
“Yesterday, we had 11 cases, and with the testing we did overnight, we had an additional 11 cases confirmed for a total of 22 in the state,” Cuomo said. “Eight of the new cases are in connection to an attorney in Westchester who practiced in Manhattan, two people in New York City have been hospitalized, and one man is currently in a Nassau County hospital.”
Health officials said that 83 people are being monitored for possible coronavirus exposure on Long Island, with six people testing negative. Approximately 26 cases are being monitored in Suffolk and 62 are under surveillance in Nassau.
Cuomo said that the man hospitalized on Long Island had underlying medical conditions that made him more vulnerable to coronavirus. He’s currently being treated and his condition has improved, the governor noted.
“Our health departments have been working around the clock to monitor this thing,” Curran said after the man tested positive at the Wadsworth Center in Albany. “When we got the positive result, we took the next step. The Department of Health launched a ‘contact investigation’ where a patient is interviewed.
“An analysis was then done, and investigators go out and look at the man’s routines, possible contacts and if anyone is deemed at risk (of coronavirus) they will be contacted by the Department of Health.”
Curran noted that the patient’s close contacts have already been told to isolate themselves. A Nassau County hotline is currently being set up to educate communities about coronavirus.
Howard Zucker, the New York State Department of Health Commissioner, said that the Nassau County man contracted the virus through the community, not from traveling. The man is not being treated in the Intensive Care Unit, Zucker added, though it is unclear which hospital he is being quarantined.
Bellone said that he held a tabletop exercise for emergency management teams, and he has briefed school superintendents and school districts. He said that they will soon begin educating fire chiefs and departments.
The governor said that the elderly community and those with underlying respiratory medical conditions are most at risk of contracting COVID-19.
“On the numbers. The number of people we find with the virus is going to continue to go up. This is by definition, since we are testing more people so that number is going up; it cannot go down, it can only go up,” Cuomo said. “We will have dozens and dozens and dozens of cases.
“The likelihood of finding positives is even higher, because these are not random samples. We’re most often testing people who were in contact with someone who already tested positive.
"The point of the testing is to do the best you can in terms of containing the virus. It’s imperfect, but the more you can contain it, the more you can limit the spread, the better. That’s why we’re doing (press conferences) on a daily basis.”
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