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Sibli Chowdhury Kayes | 12:31 am, 2020-03-08
New York (Channel TT): Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Saturday as the number of coronavirus cases in New York jolted upward, with 89 people now confirmed sick, including 12 in the Big Apple.
One of the new city cases is a 33-year-old Uber driver from the Rockaways who worked on Long Island; he is in isolation in Queens hospital in “serious” condition, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The governor’s announcement came as concerns about the outbreak grew in New York City, which has 12 confirmed cases, up from six that were disclosed as of Friday. The epicenter in New York State continues to be just north of the city, in Westchester County, where there are 70 cases in total.
Remaining “calm” is not a priority — testing is, he said. “I’m not urging calm,” Cuomo said, in a shot at those who have repeatedly called for calm in the face of recent COVID-19-roiled stock market swings. In the United States, more than 380 cases of the virus have been confirmed, and at least 19 people have died, according to a New York Times database.
Despite the spread in the state and the mounting toll of the virus, which has killed more than 3,500 people worldwide, Mr. Cuomo sought to calm the public during a news conference in Albany. “You know what’s worse than the virus — the anxiety,” Mr. Cuomo said, noting that most patients would suffer mild or no symptoms.
“I’m urging reality,” the governor said at a noon press conference in Albany. “I’m urging a factual response as opposed to an emotional response.”
Saturday’s totals reflect a one-day jump of seven new cases in the city — more than double the tally, five, of the day before. The Uber driver, who city officials said has an underlying respiratory issue, is being treated at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway.
He was not licensed by the city Taxi and Limousine Commission and so drove on Long Island, officials said.
The mayor said other new city cases include:
• The wife and 11-year-old daughter of an Upper West Side man in his 50s who tested positive. “They are currently in mandatory quarantine and are mildly symptomatic.”
• Two Brooklyn women in their 60s and 70s who recently returned from a cruise to Egypt. They are both at home in mandatory quarantine.
• A 30-something man from Brooklyn hospitalized in serious condition after returning from a trip to Italy.
• A Manhattan man in his late 50s, who tested positive “after spending time with a COVID-19 positive person on a recent trip to Chile,” the mayor tweeted. The man is “symptomatic and under mandatory quarantine,” he added.
As of early Saturday, 18 New York City residents are under mandatory quarantine and 2,255 are under voluntary quarantine, the mayor added.
No public school closings had yet been announced in the city, unlike in Westchester, the worst-hit county in New York with 69 total cases, almost all linked to a Midtown lawyer Lawrence Garbuz.
The majority of the new Westchester cases are linked to Garbuz, 50, officials said.
“Westchester is an obvious problem for us,” Cuomo said. “They talk about the contagion in clusters, and then the clusters tend to infect more and more people.” Three Jewish day schools, including the Salanter Akiba Riverdale (SAR) Academy in the Bronx, the Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck and the Westchester Torah Academy in White Plains, have been ordered closed.
Nursing homes and senior living facilities in the New Rochelle area will be asked to suspend outside visitors, he said. “Nursing homes are the most problematic setting for us,” given that the virus is most deadly for elderly and medically compromised patients, Cuomo said.