Gov. Cuomo Declares State of Emergency as New York Coronavirus Cases Surge to 76

1010 WINS Newsroom
March 07, 2020 - 10:40 am
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BREAKING: Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the number of new coronavirus cases in New York reached 76 on Saturday as he declared a state of emergency to combat the virus.

The state of emergency means New York will be able to get more help fighting the outbreak in terms of supplies and workers.

Cuomo said there are 21 new cases in the state, including seven new cases in New York City and 23 new cases in Westchester.

That brings the total number of cases to 76: 11 in NYC, 57 in Westchester, 2 in Rockland County, 4 in Nassau County and 2 in Saratoga County. Of the 76 cases, 10 patients are hospitalized.

The 23 new cases in Westchester are all related to an infected lawyer in New Rochelle.

"Westchester is obviously a problem for us," Cuomo said. "They talk about contagion in clusters, and then the clusters tend to infect more and more people."

Cuomo said the state is instructing nursing homes and senior home living facilities in the immediate area of New Rochelle to suspend outside visitors.

The new cases in NYC include two people who got off a cruise ship and five that appear to have caught the virus from community spread, Cuomo said.

One of the apparent community spread patients has been hospitalized at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York State Sen. James Sanders Jr. said.

Sanders initially said 40 workers at the hospital had quarantined, but later said that wasn't the case.

The hospitalized man is a taxi or ride sharing app driver. According to NY1's Ruschell Boone, he drives for Uber, but the company told 1010 WINS it has yet to confirm that.

The governor also said 73 SUNY students returning from countries with coronavirus cases—including China, Italy and Iran—will land at JFK Airport instead of Stewart International Airport. He said they will be quarantined for at least 14 days before returning to school.

 

ALBANY (1010 WINS) — The rabbi of a suburban New York synagogue grappling with the coronavirus outbreak has tested positive for the illness, as the number of cases related to an infected congregant climbed higher Friday.

Rabbi Reuven Fink, of the Young Israel of New Rochelle temple, is among the 44 confirmed cases in the state, according to a statement posted Friday on the website of Yeshiva University, where Fink teaches two courses. The state confirmed 22 new cases Friday, doubling the number from a day earlier.

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“I can now reassure you that it is possible, Thank G-d, to get through this virus without a special vaccine. I have the virus and am doing reasonably well,” Fink wrote in an email to synagogue members, according to a letter posted online. “But I must caution all of you who have had personal contact with me to seek counsel from your health practitioner as to how to proceed.”

Many members of Fink’s congregation were asked to self-quarantine earlier in the week after the hospitalization of a person in the synagogue’s community, a 50-year-old lawyer who works in Manhattan. Since then, a growing number of friends and relatives of the lawyer have tested positive.

Most of the new cases announced Friday were connected to the Westchester case or were suspected of being related to it, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor said the cases from that suburban county included a 7-year-old boy and an 82-year-old man.

The list of new cases connected to the Westchester case includes a person in New York City, three members of the congregation, two friends, two people in nearby Rockland County who worked at a bat mitzvah at the synagogue and three cases related to the lawyer’s initial hospitalization in Westchester County, according to Cuomo.

Coronavirus
Photo credit David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Fink had isolated himself as a precaution earlier in the week, telling congregants in a Facebook posting that following the quarantine order is “a sacred obligation that we all must take very seriously.”

The upper Manhattan campus of Yeshiva University was already closed through Friday because the stricken lawyer’s son is a student there and has also tested positive for the virus. The university said it was advising Fink’s students to self-quarantine until further notice.

The synagogue’s website says it is closed through Sunday.

Cuomo said about 4,000 people across the state are in a precautionary quarantine, all but 300 in New York City and Westchester County. Another 44 people were in mandatory quarantine.

Cuomo said the lesson from the suburban outbreak is how easily the virus can spread when people gather.

“You can have one large gathering — 400, 500 people in a gathering — and you can infect a number of people,” Cuomo said.

Health officials had said earlier that people who attended services at the suburban synagogue on Feb. 22, and a funeral and a bat mitzvah on Feb. 23, must self-quarantine until at least Sunday.

There were scattered school closings in the region amid fears of a wider spread of the virus. Two elite private schools in Manhattan, the all-girls Spence and the all-boys Collegiate, closed Friday because a family associated with the schools was being monitored for the coronavirus.

Cuomo said the state is now able to perform about 500 tests a day.

NEW JERSEY CASES

Two northern New Jersey residents who have tested positive for the new coronavirus went to the same health care facility before they were eventually hospitalized this week, officials said Friday.

Bergen County Executive James Tedesco declined to identify the facility, which is in Bergen County, except to say that it is not an urgent care facility. Tedesco said the names of workers and patients who were at the facility when the two patients visited have been given to the state health department.

The facility remains open, Tedesco said.

Through a spokeswoman, the state health department said Friday it is “in the process of identifying healthcare, household, and other close contacts of these cases” to assess their risk of exposure and determine next steps, including self-quarantining.

Two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Bergen County this week. One, a man in his early 30s, is hospitalized in at Hackensack University Medical Center. Officials said the man, who lives with family in New York City but has an apartment in Fort Lee, New Jersey, felt ill Monday night and visited the facility before being hospitalized.

The second patient, a woman from Englewood, was released from Englewood Hospital Thursday and is in isolation at home, Tedesco said. She also had visited the unnamed facility Monday.

State officials identified a third and fourth case on Friday: a man in his 60s who is hospitalized at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital in Camden County, and a man in his 50s hospitalized at Englewood Hospital in Bergen County. No other details on these cases has been released.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.