As of publication, there is one woman in New York City who has a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus. The woman, who is in her mid-30s, traveled from Iran and got the deadly virus while traveling through the country. She traveled with her husband, who is also being tested for the virus and is following all safety protocols.
“This evening we learned of the first positive case of novel coronavirus—or COVID-19—in New York State,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “The patient, a woman in her late 30s is currently isolated in her home. The patient has respiratory symptoms, but is not in serious condition and has been in a controlled situation since arriving to New York. The positive test was confirmed by New York’s Wadsworth Lab in Albany, underscoring the importance of the ability for our state to ensure efficient and rapid turnaround, and is exactly why I advocated for the approval from vice president Pence that New York was granted. There is no cause for surprise. This was expected. As I said from the beginning, it was a matter of when, not if there would be a positive case of novel coronavirus in New York. Last week I called for the Legislature to pass a $40 million emergency management authorization to confront this evolving situation. I look forward to its swift passage. There is no reason for undue anxiety. The general risk remains low in New York. We are diligently managing this situation and will continue to provide information as it becomes available.”
Last week, Nassau County had its own coronavirus scare when it was believed that six Nassau County residents might have been infected and were ultimately tested.
Soon after, the county received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all residents tested negative for the virus.
“To date, Nassau County has tested six individuals for the virus and all six have tested negative,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement. “Nassau County continues to be in close procedural coordination with state and federal partners in order to ensure the health and safety of all residents. The Nassau County Health Department employees and residents being monitored have been outstanding in meeting all CDC protocols.”
The county will follow state and federal guidelines in monitoring travelers that fall under the federal travel order. Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein and the Department of Health are asking people to remain calm and attentive, and to practice general sanitary precautions. CDC guidelines emphasize washing hands with soap and water, using hand sanitizer, covering one’s mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing and avoiding contact with others when sick.
Information is rapidly changing regarding the coronavirus. The CDC is a reliable source for information on COVID-19, and continues to update its website as new information becomes readily available. For more information, residents should visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html, the CDC’s website. There is also a New York State coronavirus hotline at 888-364-3065 where residents can call as well.
In case the deadly virus was to strike, NYU Winthrop Hospital, the Long Island hub of NYU Langone Health, is proceeding full-throttle in its preparedness to accommodate and minimize the impact of any potential outbreak.
“NYU Winthrop Hospital didn’t just spring into action today,” said NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Bruce Polsky, who is the chairman of the Department of Medicine and an infectious disease specialist. “We’ve been engaged in preparedness since the first case was reported in China; we’re not new to this. There’s no greater cause today for alarm among Long Islanders than there was yesterday or last week.”
Polsky advises those who experience troubling coronavirus-like symptoms to stay home and consult a physician remotely using a virtual urgent care. If people are unable to access a virtual urgent care they should visit their doctor or a regular urgent care facility before visiting hospital emergency departments. Doctors or urgent cares may be able to identify illnesses unrelated to coronavirus.
NYU Winthrop Hospital also has isolation rooms for treating coronavirus patients and containing the virus’ spread. If coronavirus cases become widespread, the hospital has additional locations on its hospital campus to serve as patient-isolation locations. Emergency department and infectious disease experts are currently preparing those spaces for potential patients as a precautionary step.
The Mineola School District is also taking safety precautions as well in case the coronavirus may affect students.
“The district has installed additional hand sanitizers throughout our buildings and employed additional cleaning measures to support these best practices,” Mineola Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler said in a statement.
Nagler met with Dr. Eisenstein to review guidelines for the responding of the growing concerns about the coronavirus.
“The commissioner has insured us that there is no reason for us to change any of our activities, however, we should be implementing prudent practices to promote a healthy environment. We will continue to keep you updated as soon as more information is communicated to us,” Nagler said. “The health and safety of our community remains our highest priority and collectively we can work to ensure this goal.”