New Cases Include 8 in Westchester, 2 in Rockland and 1 in New York City
NYS Interagency Task Force Continues to Coordinate with Local Governments and Healthcare Partners to Monitor and Respond to the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
Governor Cuomo: "I'm not urging calm. I'm urging reality. I'm urging a factual response as opposed to an emotional response."
During a briefing on the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today confirmed 11 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 33 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the new cases identified since yesterday, eight are located in Westchester County, two are located in Rockland County and one is located in New York City.
Of the 33 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:
- Nassau County: 1
- Rockland County: 2
- New York City: 4
- Westchester County: 26
AUDIO of today's update is available here.
PHOTOS of today's update will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript is available below:
Good morning. Brought a whole group this morning to handle the devilish LCA. I want to start this morning by just going over some general process issues. We have been asked a lot of questions this week about numbers and exactly how this situation is operating. So I want to start by going through the protocols that we are following and hopefully there will be clarity across the board.
We have organized an emergency management system - response capacity. When you have a statewide situation that requires immediate government action and coordination among different agencies, with local governments, that is our emergency management system protocol.
We have a New York State task force that has been working on this, which has obviously been interagency. These are the members of it. Some of them are here with us today. You see who is on it and who is not. Rob Mujica is not on it, he has been focusing on the budget.
Three basic areas that we have been operating on. The testing priorities, quarantine and containment tracking. And I will go through them quickly. On testing priorities, first priority for testing is people who have been in close contact. We define close contact as within six feet of a person that is known to be positive. Second, people who have travelled to a country with level two or three travel health notice from the CDC and are experiencing symptoms. Third is a person who is in quarantine and has developed symptoms while in quarantine. Fourth, a seriously ill individual who has not tested positive for other viruses - so, when the person has gone into the hospital they run the viral screen, doesn't test positive for any other viruses, then test for the coronavirus. Fifth, any other case in which in the opinion of the healthcare professional and the local health department, they believe requires testing. So they would call up and consult with the department of health on that one.
Quarantine, there's two types of quarantine. We keep going back and forth between the words "quarantine" and "isolation." Let's say they're basically synonyms, but isolation is the technical word. It's really mandatory or directed versus what we call precautionary. Mandatory quarantine - anyone who tests positive, anyone who has been in direct contact with a person who's tested positive, anyone who's returned from a country CDC level 2 or 3 and is experiencing symptoms, any other person who their health professional and health department believe needs to be quarantined and they'll speak to DOH to make that determination. That's mandatory quarantine. Precautionary quarantine - you return from a country with CDC level 2 or 3, but you are not symptomatic. That's precautionary quarantine. Proximate to a person who is positive, proximate not direct - direct is within six feet. Proximate exposure is I was in a car with a person, I was in the office with a person, etcetera. Third, any person who the local health provider and the local health department thinks should be quarantined, and again, they'll consult with New York State Department of Health on that.
The last system that is operating is containment tracking. We're mapping all these cases, we're analyzing them, we're investigating them. Every time you get a positive you run that case back to see who else could've been infected and we're communicating that.
The number of precautionary quarantines is at 4,000 statewide. You can see the list there. It's basically all across the state, obviously heavier in New York City and in Westchester: 2,700 New York City, 1,000 Westchester, and then 115 Erie, 70 Nassau, Tompkins 15, Suffolk 15, Albany 11, Broome 4, and you can go right down the list, Schenectady 12, Warren 6.
Mandatory quarantines: 44 statewide, New York City 9, Westchester 33, Erie 1, Nassau 1.
In terms of new cases, yesterday we had 22 cases. Today we have 33 cases, so it's gone up by 11. There is one new case in New York City that is a case where a person has tested positive. It is connected to the Westchester case. Three members of the young Israel congregation connected to the Westchester case. All of the new cases are connected to the Westchester case. Two friends, people in Rockland County who worked at the Bat Mitzvah. And three patients, I'm sorry, three people connected to the visit at the Lawrence hospital. That brings, those are 11 new cases, 22 go to 33. Just the general context question, the number will continue to go up, I've said every day the number will continue to go up. The number must continue to go up because it is mathematics. The more you test, the more positives you will find, and remember we're predominately testing people who have a higher probability because they're in the chain of contact with a person who has already tested positive.
So people see the number go up and they say oh the number's going up. The number has to go up. The number can't go down and the number has to go up. Because we are testing people. Because we want to find people who are testing positive. That's how you contain it. Find the person who got infected, quarantine them and reduce the infection rate, that's what it's all about. Also, some of the news stories sum up what I have been saying to say Cuomo urges calm. I'm not urging calm. I'm urging reality. I'm urging a factual response as opposed to an emotional response
I'm urging that people understand the information and not the hype. We have more people in this country dying from the flu thank we have dying from coronavirus. All the experts say 80 percent will self-resolve, 20 percent may get ill, may require hospitalization. And it's most problematic for senior citizens, people with immune-compromised situations and people with an underlying illness.
The fact of our own experience, "kay I don't believe anyone." Okay. The fact of our own experience - we have 33 cases, five of the 33 are hospitalized, that's about 15 percent. Verifies the about 20 percent may be hospitalized. Of the people who have been hospitalized, they are improving. Right? So those are the facts. What are we concerned about? Senior citizens, senior citizens in congregate facilities, people with compromised immune systems. Those are the populations we have to most protect, which are also the populations that are most affected by the normal flu. That's why I go back to what I said to my brother: this is like a flu on steroids. You catch it the same way, the target population who's most vulnerable is the same, you take the same precautions. Dr. Zucker every flu season says to me, "You should tell people don't shake hands and don't hug." Why? Because that's how you communicate it. Use hand sanitizer. So it's the same precautions, it's the same issue, look at the facts. I know this is a great issue on all the TV stations and everybody has an opinion - look at the facts. If you look at the facts, facts dictate calm.