Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today accepted the recommendation of State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker for new emergency measures to contain the novel coronavirus cluster in New Rochelle. The area currently has 108 confirmed cases and is considered a "cluster." The protocols include closing schools, houses of worship and other large gathering facilities within a one-mile radius in New Rochelle for a two-week period, from Thursday, March 12th to Wednesday, March 25th.
The Governor has deployed National Guard troops to a Health Department command post in New Rochelle to assist with the outbreak. The troops are mobilizing to deliver food to homes and help with cleaning public spaces in the containment area.
The Governor confirmed 31 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 173 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 173 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:
Westchester: 108 (10 new)
New York City: 36 (17 new)
Nassau: 19 (2 new)
Rockland: 6 (2 new)
|(Photo: Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)|
The Governor also announced the State will partner with Northwell Health to set up a satellite testing facility in New Rochelle. Visits would operate by appointment only. More information will be posted soon on the State Department of Health website.
"The largest cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country is located in New Rochelle, and as the numbers continue to go up we need a special public health strategy to contain it," Governor Cuomo said. "We are moving from containment to mitigation, and because much of the transmission of this disease tends to happen on a geographic basis, we are attacking this hotspot at the source. As the number of positive cases rises, I am urging all New Yorkers to remember the bottom line: we talk about all this stuff to keep the public informed — not to incite fear — and if you are not a member of the vulnerable population then there is no reason for excess anxiety."
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "As we see the number of cases continue to rise based upon close contacts with persons who are positive for COVID-19, there is a particular need to reduce the opportunity for further close contacts. These opportunities include schools, churches, synagogues, and other event spaces where large numbers of people gather and remain together for extended periods of time. Although we believe that the risk generally to New Yorkers is low, I have recommended this strategy to reduce opportunities for further spread with the goal of reducing the number of new cases we are seeing in New Rochelle."
The list of facilities in the containment area is being promulgated in consultation with local partners including the County Executive and the Mayor of New Rochelle.
The State will work with impacted schools to ensure any child who currently depends on food assistance programs will continue to relieve those benefits during the two-week period.