The first case of novel coronavirus—or COVID-19—in New York State was confirmed on March 1.
The patient is a woman in her late 30s who was traveling abroad in Iran, where there is an outbreak of the virus. Her condition is mild, and she is currently isolated in her home in Manhattan.
From the beginning of the outbreak, Governor Cuomo has stated he believed it was not a question of if New York would have a coronavirus case, but when. New York State has been preparing for weeks, and are working to manage the situation.
The first positive test was confirmed by the state’s Wadsworth Lab in Albany, underscoring the importance of the ability for New York state to ensure efficient and rapid turnaround on testing.
New York State will immediately begin working with hospitals to help them replicate the state’s FDA-approved test and reach a goal of 1,000 tests per day. Additionally, the state will institute new cleaning protocols at schools and in public transportation.
Cuomo reminds residents that perspective is key and that the country has dealt with swine flu, Ebola, SARS and the seasonal flu. He states that leaders in New York are fully coordinated, mobilized and prepared to deal with the situation as it develops.
What can you do?
If you have symptoms and have recently traveled to China, Iran, or at-risk areas in Italy and South Korea, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has, you should seek medical care right away. Call ahead and explain your symptoms and travel.
Symptoms of the novel coronavirus are similar to the flu, and include coughing, fever and trouble breathing.
There are simple steps we can all take to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.
- Wash your hands frequently 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.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, like your cell phone.
New Yorkers can call the Department of Health’s coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 with any concerns about symptoms or travel. In addition, visit the Department of Health’s dedicated website for more resources and updates about COVID-19.
There will likely be more positive cases, but New York state is taking action to contain the potential spread of this virus.
Cuomo suggests that residents don’t allow fear and panic to outpace reason.
Click here to learn more about New York State’s response to coronavirus.
—Submitted by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo