New York State has Zero Confirmed Cases; Of 12 Samples Tested, 11 Have Come Back Negative and One is Outstanding from New York City
New Yorkers Can Call 1-888-364-3065 with Questions or Concerns About Travel and Symptoms
State Health Department Website - NY.Gov/Coronavirus - Provides Coronavirus Updates for New Yorkers and Guidance for Healthcare Providers
Governor Cuomo: "We take situations like this very seriously. We understand the density of New York, the complexity of New York. Whatever happens internationally, it ends up at our doorstep eventually...Precaution is always the best practice. Preparedness is always the best practice, and that is what we do here in New York. At the same time, we have to keep this in perspective. There is no reason to panic. There is no reason to have an inordinate amount of fear about this situation. There are different viruses that develop on an ongoing basis. Take everyone seriously, but don't have an overly anxious reaction to any one situation."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an update on the status of testing for the novel coronavirus in New York State. As of today, samples from 12 New Yorkers have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. Of those, 11 have come back negative. One sample, from New York City, is awaiting results from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in New York State.
Additionally, today the Governor announced New Yorkers can call a hotline at 1-888-364-3065 where Department of Health experts will be available to answer questions regarding the Novel Coronavirus. The Department of Health has created a dedicated website as a resource for New Yorkers.
AUDIO of today's event is available here.
A rush transcript of today's event is below:
Governor Cuomo: We wanted to give you an update on developments with the coronavirus. As you know there have been about 14,000 reported cases of the coronavirus worldwide, about 305 reported deaths. Here in New York we had 12 cases that were investigated, 11 of the 12 turned out to be negative. One person is reported to have the coronavirus here in New York City, still testing. So the one person is still being tested. So 11 have been negative, the one is still being tested.
The federal government declared an emergency health action on Friday evening. That federal emergency health action is being implemented by the State Department of Health and by the Port Authority. The Port Authority runs our airports, this situation fundamentally involved, basically involved JFK Airport. Rick Cotton is the Executive Director of the Port Authority and Dr. Howard Zucker is the Commissioner for the State Department of Health. They have been working with the CDC and implementing the federal rules and regulations around this situation and we wanted to give you a brief update. We'll go first to Port Authority Head Rick Cotton, who will talk about how we're implementing the federal declaration, and then you'll hear from Commissioner Zucker.
Rick Cotton: Thank you Governor. As the Governor said, a public health emergency was declared by the federal government on Friday. Procedures were outlined for all airports. We have been working closely with the federal Centers for Disease Control and with the Custom and Border Protection to implement the required procedures. And those procedures are effective as of 5 p.m. today. After that point non-stop flights from mainland China will only be permitted to land at seven airports, and John F. Kennedy International is one of those airports. The guidance has also been clarified to be clear that it allows planes that are currently in the air from mainland China to land at any airport. Two non-stop flights from mainland China were scheduled to land at Kennedy this evening, and both of those flights have actually been cancelled. We are in close touch with the airlines to understand what their plans are going forward.
Port Authority has worked out and established the staffing necessary to cooperate with federal, state and local officials to ensure that the screening of passengers and transportation off airports if necessary will be in place. Those screening protocols are as follows. First, no foreign nationals, non-U.S. citizens who have had contact with mainland China in the past 14 days will be permitted by the federal government to enter the United States. Second, U.S. citizens who have been to Hubei Province, which is the center of the virus outbreak, in the last 14 days will be subject to mandatory quarantine. If those U.S. citizens who have been in Hubei Province within the last 14 days are symptomatic, those travelers will be immediately transported to Bellevue or to Jamaica Hospital. U.S. citizens who have been to Hubei province in the last 14 days but are not symptomatic - they will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine, and they will also be transported off airport to the quarantine facility. The transport will be provided by the City of New York, and the Port Authority will be able to provide all necessary support for that transport. The third group - U.S. citizens who have been to mainland China in the last 14 days but are not symptomatic - will be subject to different protocols. As long as they're non-symptomatic, they will be instructed by the Centers for Disease Control on self-monitoring and medical tracking requirements. They will be subject to restrictions on movements outside their homes, and guidelines will be provided to them to remain in touch with local health agencies as to their health status. Those are the screening procedures that have been mandated and we are fully prepared to institute them in cooperation with our federal and state partners as of 5 p.m. today.
Governor Cuomo: Thank you very much, Mr. Cotton. Dr. Howard Zucker who is talking about how the state is implementing federal actions, and if you could also Doctor give us a little perspective on this virus versus other situations we have ongoing or seen before.
Dr. Howard Zucker: Thank you. Let me tell you a little bit about what we know. So new viruses do surface on occasion and this is a new coronavirus that has never been encountered before - the process is evolving. The symptoms as you heard are similar to the flu or a bad cold - it's just a fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, respiratory symptoms. As the Governor mentioned there's over 14,00 cases internationally, and 300 plus that have died. As I mentioned it is an evolving process, we do have in the United States now eight positive cases.
Let me share a little bit about what we're doing - we are working with local governments on all aspects of this issue. We have developed a plan, as you have heard from Mr. Cotton, regarding those who are coming in from Hubei Province as well as those who are coming in from other parts of China. But we've been working with the hospitals, with the health professionals, with our national partners. I spoke with other states and we're working with all the state, county health officials - health officials across the nation on this. We are in constant communication with the CDC. And our lab - the Wadsworth Lab in Upstate New York - once they have the protocols from CDC, will soon be able to do testing right there at the lab.
Little bit about what you can do and the public can do - I think it's important to follow smart practices, to wash your hands, to sneeze into your sleeve, to stay home if you are sick, to also obviously see a health professional if you are ill and you are concerned. As the Governor asked us just now to do, I think it would be helpful to do a little bit of perspective about this because I know people are concerned. In New York State when the flu season began, we have had over 70,000 cases of the flu. We have also had unfortunately four pediatric deaths as well during that time. In the United States since the flu season began in October, there have been 15 million people with the flu, and we have had over 20,000 people who have died. And if you look globally, during any average flu season, there are usually about 4 million people who will get the flu. So I think it is really important to just keep this in perspective. It is an evolving process. We are on top of it. We will move forward. We are addressing this on all the different fronts that we need to address it in a very coordinated fashion. Thank you.
Governor Cuomo: Thank you very much Doctor. So the long and the short of it is the federal government has mandated certain actions. We are implementing those actions. Before the federal government announced anything, we were very diligent. We take situations like this very seriously. We understand the density of New York, the complexity of New York. Whatever happens internationally, it winds up at our doorstep relatively quickly. So, we have seen situations like this before. We are very proactive. I don't take anything for granted. Precaution is always the best practice. Preparedness is always the best practice, and that is what we do here in New York. At the same time, we have to keep this in perspective. There is no reason to panic. There is no reason to have an inordinate amount of fear about this situation. There are different viruses that develop on an ongoing basis. Take every one seriously, but don't have an overly anxious reaction to any one situation. I think that applies to this situation.