New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state is creating a “containment area” in New Rochelle, New York to deal with the coronavirus outbreak there. You can see a map of the containment zone above and below. “It is a dramatic action, but it is the largest cluster in the country, and this is literally a matter of life and death. That is not a rhetorical statement,” Cuomo said in a news conference.
The National Guard is being deployed to bring people in the containment area food and clean the area, and a satellite testing facility will be set up inside of it, the governor announced in a March 10, 2020 press conference that marked a dramatic escalation in how New York State is treating coronavirus. “This is unique in the United States of America,” said Cuomo.
According to Cuomo, from March 12, 2020 through March 25, 2020, for two weeks, schools and some larger facilities in the one-mile radius containment area will be closed. Officials will go in and clean the schools and “assess the situation. This will be a period of disruption for the local community; I understand that. Local shop owners don’t like the disruption, nobody does… this can’t be a political decision. This is a public health decision,” Cuomo said.
There are 173 positive coronavirus cases in New York State with 14 people in the hospital, said Cuomo. “People are at home recovering from flu-like symptoms,” Cuomo said. However, in New Rochelle, there is a cluster of cases that requires a special public health strategy, says Cuomo.
Here’s a map of the New Rochelle containment area as released by Cuomo.
New Rochelle is the hometown of attorney Lawrence Garbuz, who was identified by The New York Post as a Westchester County, New York lawyer who tested positive for coronavirus. Other people associated with Garbuz, including family members and a neighbor, then contracted the virus, The Post reported.
Officials said it’s an evolving situation. Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State’s Health Commissioner, said in the news conference that “social distancing” and how people gather together is an issue. He said that people gather together in school systems. Officials want to minimize that, and they know where the center of the activity occurred in New Rochelle. “We felt that a radius of a mile from that spot would be effective in an effort to try to decrease that spread,” said Zucker, adding that authorities are trying to “break the spread of this disease” by going to where the “hotspot” is located. Cuomo said only large facilities, such as temples, schools, Boys and Girls Clubs and so forth, where many people congregate, were being shut down in New Rochelle. All businesses, such as grocery stores, are not being closed.
Here’s what you need to know:
Most New York Cases are in Westchester County
Cuomo held the press conference with multiple New York officials. In the update, he said there were 108 positive coronavirus cases reported in Westchester (with 10 new); 36 positive cases in New York City (17 new); 19 cases in Nassau (2 new); 6 cases in Rockland (2 new); 2 cases in Saratoga; 1 case in Suffolk; and 1 case in Ulster. The total of positive cases for New York State was 173, with 31 new.
“This is a selective sampling,” Cuomo said. He said officials were testing people associated with people who tested positive. “These are positive cases tested primarily from a universe of people connected with someone who tested positive. They do show a continuing problem in Westchester County. And it’s not Westchester County, it’s New Rochelle,” said Cuomo. “New Rochelle is probably the largest cluster in the United States with these cases, and it’s a significant issue for us.”
He pointed out that New York has the second highest number of confirmed cases after Washington State, with 179. But there are 22 deaths in Washington State, and 0 in New York, according to Cuomo, whose statistics showed 760 U.S. cases with 26 deaths.
The governor of New York said that the Washington State cluster was in a senior citizens home.
“Senior citizens, people who are in the vulnerable population, underlying illness, compromised immune system… that’s who we’re trying to protect here,” he added. “It’s about the senior citizens.”
“What is the net effect of the disease?” asked Cuomo. He said “people talk about it like the Ebola virus” but only 14 of the 173 people are in the hospital. The rest are at home “recovering from flu-like symptoms.” Most of the 14 are members of the vulnerable community.
There are 114,595 total cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins. There have been 4,028 total deaths worldwide and 64,046 recoveries. There are 46,521 pending cases. “That’s the entirety of the universe,” said Cuomo.
“New Rochelle is a particular problem. It is what they call a cluster. The numbers have been going up. The numbers continue to go up. The numbers are going up unabated. We do need a special public health strategy for New Rochelle,” said Cuomo, unveiling the map marked “New Rochelle Containment Area.”
“We are going to focus on an area, a concentric circle, around (the site of) the majority of the cases around New Rochelle,” he said. “Much of the transmission tends to happen on a geographic basis.” He pointed out that kids go to school or people walk their dogs and they say hello to another person and the virus spreads all of these ways.
“Remember how this spreads… droplets of a sneeze, a cough, it’s on someone’s hand, you shake hands, now you have an issue. Containment strategies focus on geographic areas,” said the New York governor, adding, “This is the single greatest public health challenge we have in this state right now.”
He said he had accepted a plan which will deal with this containment area.
A satellite testing facility will be brought into New Rochelle from Northwell Health. “They will set up a facility within that containment area that can do testing,” said Cuomo.
The temporary facility will be opened to do testing “right in that area.”
He added: “We are also going to use the National Guard in the containment area to deliver food to homes, to help with the cleaning of public spaces.” He said there’s a debate about how long the virus can live on hard surfaces. “You have differing opinions now. Some opinions are the virus can live on a hard surface, such as stainless steel or plastic, for two days or more. If that’s the case, that would be a significant issue as to why it’s transmitting the way it does.” He said the National Guard would be helpful with the cleaning.
Cuomo said the economic impact of coronavirus on New York State is being assessed.
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