March 3, 2020 By Allie Griffin
A 50-year-old Westchester man is New York’s second confirmed case of novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today in Albany.
The man — a New Rochelle attorney who has an underlying respiratory illness and is in serious condition — is being treated at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan and is believed to have contracted the virus through community spreading. He hasn’t traveled to any of the areas facing an outbreak, but recently returned from a trip to Miami, Cuomo said.
The governor also signed a law today to funnel $40 million towards emergency management for the state’s novel coronavirus response. The money will allow the state to hire additional staff and procure equipment and other resources necessary to respond to the virus.
In addition, Cuomo announced that his paid sick leave budget proposal will now specifically protect people who must be isolated at home or in a hospital due to coronavirus and ensure they will keep their jobs.
The Westchester man who contracted coronavirus works in Manhattan and Cuomo said Tuesday that it is unknown how he commuted into the city or if he used public transportation.
The state is working to trace his steps — however at a press conference later in the day, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that whether or not the man used public transportation was not a top concern since the virus cannot be contracted through casual and short term contact.
Meanwhile, the MTA announced yesterday that it is implementing “enhanced sanitizing procedures” across the transit system including all subway and train cars, stations and buses. Each will be cleaned daily, so that no car or bus in a fleet will go beyond a 72-hour period without a full cleaning.
MTA cleaners will also be disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as poles, handrails, seats, benches, turnstiles, MetroCard machines and elevator buttons regularly.
New York’s first case of novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, was confirmed Sunday. A 39-year-old Manhattan woman who had recently traveled to Iran contracted the virus there. She is not in serious condition and is self-isolating in her home, the governor said.
Two major publications, the New York Times and the New York Post, came under fire for using images of Flushing’s Chinatown in their coverage of the state’s first case — which was miles away from Flushing.
Despite the two confirmed cases in New York, the governor maintained that the overall risk of novel coronavirus in the state remains low. However, he said the government is working quickly to ensure the virus remained contained.
“While New York’s overall risk level remains low, these actions will provide our doctors, hospitals and first responders with the tools they need to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers, and to prepare for any possible scenario,” Cuomo said.