Cuomo Declares Emergency Over Coronavirus, Urges New Yorkers to Remain Calm

March 7, 2020 Updated: March 7, 2020
FONT BFONT SText size

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Saturday over the coronavirus as the total cases in the state increased to 76. At the same time, he urged New Yorkers to stay calm and informed.

Cuomo said that the emergency declaration will help mobilize resources for local health departments.

“An emergency declaration allows the state to perform expedited procurement, leasing of lab space, hiring, and more,” he said in a statement on Twitter. “This will help us get resources to local health departments and others who need it quickly and efficiently.”

He announced during the Saturday press conference that there’re currently 76 coronavirus cases in New York State, with 32 of them new. Of the 76 cases, Westchester County, New York City, Nassau County, Rockland County, and Saratoga County have 57, 11, 4, 2, and 2 cases respectively.

Twenty-three new cases in Westchester County are all connected to New Rochelle, the main cluster of the New York coronavirus outbreak.

“We have a situation in New Rochelle, you’re seeing those numbers in New Rochelle expand as you have seen in other clusters around the country,” Cuomo said.

Some schools in that community have already been closed, and the governor suggested that he may consider closing more schools and expanding the closure to nursing homes and senior care facilities.

Cuomo also said he may close any imminent big gatherings in the New Rochelle community: “In terms of closing any gatherings, if that’s going to happen anywhere, it’s going to happen in New Rochelle.”

Cuomo: Risk to Public Health Still Low

During the press conference, Cuomo said one of the priorities for New York state is testing: “We are testing aggressively.”

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has allowed the state’s laboratories to do coronavirus testing and contract outside laboratories. New York state is asking the CDC for permission to conduct automated coronavirus testing and is still waiting for approval.

The governor reaffirmed that the risk to the public health of New Yorkers is still low unless they are senior citizens or residents with underlying conditions.

“Otherwise you will basically have symptoms for two weeks and you will recover,” he said.

Based on New York State data, 10 of the 76 patients—about 15 percent— were hospitalized.

“If you get the coronavirus, 80 percent of the people will walk around and self-resolve,” Cuomo added.

But he suggested that senior citizens or citizens with respiratory illness, compromised immune systems, cancer, HIV, pneumonia, and other underlying conditions think seriously about attending any large gatherings.