City Officials: 21 Positive Coronavirus Cases in New York City

NY 1 - March 10, 2020

by NY 1

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City officials are now saying there are 21 cases of the novel coronavirus in New York City.

That count includes 19 city residents, a lawyer from Westchester who is hospitalized in the city, and an EMS worker who the FDNY announced tested positive Monday afternoon. It is unclear if that EMS member is a city resident.

The EMS member is believed to have contracted the virus from a person who traveled overseas, according to the FDNY.

Sources told NY1 on Monday night that the EMS tested positive at Staten Island University Hospital Northwell Health. Northwell Health was granted permission Sunday to conduct its own testing.

The FDNY says the EMS member partnered with five other EMS members and treated 11 patients in the past week. The five other EMS members have been told to self-quarantine, and the 11 patients have been notified and will be given guidance by the city's Department of Health.

The FDNY says 19 of its total members are currently self-quarantined.

Governor Andrew Cuomo stated Monday afternoon that there are 142 positive cases of coronavirus in New York.

No New York residents have died of the disease at this time. Cuomo says only six percent of the confirmed cases - eight out of 142 - have led to hospitalization statewide.

The state identified seven new cases in New York City and 37 across the state Monday afternoon.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had identified three new city cases - two in Brooklyn and one in Queens - Monday morning. He added more details Monday afternoon, identifying them as a 68-year-old Brooklyn resident, a 22-year-old Brooklyn resident and a 75-year-old Queens resident. De Blasio says all three are in the hospital, and says the 68-year-old man and 75-year-old man are both in the ICU. He says the 68-year-old man has both diabetes and heart disease, and the 75-year-old man has diabetes.

The governor identified four additional cases Monday afternoon. The mayor did not have significant details on these cases, but he did say that two were Bronx residents tied to a cluster of cases in Westchester, and two were Manhattan residents.

The city revealed on Sunday that a Bronx resident tested positive. De Blasio said Monday that she is 7 years old, attends Westchester Torah Academy (which has been tied to a cluster of cases in Westchester), has no pre-existing conditions and is quarantined in her home.

Cuomo began his Monday afternoon update from Albany by unveiling "New York State Clean," a state-produced hand sanitizer crafted to help battle price gouging.

It will be provided free of charge to schools, the MTA, prisons and other government agencies. The sanitizer could also be made available for purchase if price gouging continues.

Cuomo also noted that when looking at a map of the country, New Rochelle sticks out as a coronavirus hot spot.

The state will be looking to CDC for additional guidance.

In terms of school closings in the area, "we could be talking weeks," he said.

Should a student test positive in any school across the state, the school will be closed for an initial 24-hour period to assess all the facts, Cuomo said.

The governor also announced the executive director of the Port Authority, Rick Cotton, has tested positive for coronavirus. The mayor said Monday afternoon that Cotton is one of the two most recently identified Manhattan cases.

Cotton is working from home and staff members are following protocol and tests will be administered. The Port Authority says he is asymptomatic. The agency says any staff members who have had close contact with him in recent days are also working from home.

De Blasio says the situation is ever-changing and is urging anyone who feels sick to stay home.

"I think there's some misunderstanding out there about the disease and I really want to clear that up: You cannot get it from just being in a room where someone was; you can't get it because you're in a subway car and someone else was on that same subway car," de Blasio said. "It has to be direct, immediate contact, and it has to be a transfer of fluids like a sneeze, a cough, spitting, that gets into your eyes, nose or mouth directly."

The mayor explained that riding the subway may make it harder to avoid contact with others, and suggested waiting for less crowded trains or staggering work hours for those that can be more flexible.

The mayor also said that those who can telecommute should do so.

The mayor reiterated those at-risk for more severe coronavirus complications include people over 50 and those suffering from heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer and a compromised immune system.

Columbia University, Barnard College and Fordham University are suspending classes on Monday and Tuesday.

Columbia's president says the decision came after one member of the university was quarantined as a result of exposure to the coronavirus.

He didn't specify if it is a student or staff member, but says that person has not been diagnosed with the virus.

Classes will resume remotely through the rest of the week before spring break.

Columbia University as a whole is not shutting down and non-classroom activities will continue.

Fordham University says all residential students are encouraged to return home immediately.

Faculty will teach their classes online or electronically starting on Wednesday.

Fordham says it comes after an undergraduate commuter student exhibited symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.

The school says the student has been tested for the virus and is self-isolating at home pending the test results.

St. John's University is following a similar plan, announcing all in-person classes will be canceled Tuesday and Wednesday.

Online classes will launch on Thursday.

Elsewhere, the city is monitoring 11 residents at a nursing home in the Brooklyn.

They may have been exposed to the coronavirus by a health care worker.

The physician's assistant at the King David Center in Bensonhurst was not showing symptoms when he saw residents late last month, but later tested positive for coronavirus.

Going forward, all visitors are being screened by CDC and Health Department staff.

The 11 residents possibly exposed to the virus are in isolation for 14 days.

None are showing symptoms.

A spokeperson for the King David Center says the CDC is satisfied with its protocols and procedures, and has advised that coronavirus testing is not needed at this time.

The city fire department is pulling its firefighters from answering medical calls describing symptoms associated with coronavirus.

The order issued Friday says 911 calls for asthma attacks, fever, coughs and difficulty breathing will be answered by EMS workers.

Firefighters who would typically accompany an ambulance are being told to stand down.

The FDNY says it's prioritizing resources as confirmed cases of coronavirus rise.

The department says all firefighters have been trained to wear protective equipment if they encounter potential coronavirus cases while responding to calls.

Meanwhile, Northwell Health Labs on Long Island has received federal authorization to begin manual testing for coronavirus.

The lab says it can manually process 90 potential coronavirus samples within its first day of testing.

It's now seeking federal approval to perform semi-automated testing.

The lab says semi-automated testing would allow it to process hundreds of tests each day.