The patient was described as an 82-year-old woman who also had emphysema, a lung condition that causes shortness of breath.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said the woman died at a hospital in New York City late Friday, called the woman’s health condition important context.
The patient “had an underlying respiratory illness, emphysema, for which she had been hospitalized for previously,” before contracting the new coronavirus on top of the illness and passing away, he told reporters in a conference call. She was hospitalized on March 3.
The new virus causes a disease called COVID-19. Symptoms are similar to the flu and include shortness of breath, aches, and fever.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that the patient was in critical condition since being hospitalized at Wyckoff Medical Center and that she had “advanced emphysema.”
“We’ve known from the outset that these people are the most at risk in this pandemic, and today’s news is a sad confirmation of that reality,” he said.
New York officials said the state saw an increase of 100 confirmed cases overnight, bringing the total to 524. Nearly 20 percent, or 117 people, are hospitalized, though that percentage is likely misleading, according to Cuomo.
“The more tests we take, the more that number will go up,” Cuomo told reporters. “Nobody believes there are only 500 cases of coronavirus in New York today. We believe there are thousands of people who have coronavirus, maybe tens of thousands.”
Over 1,700 people are in voluntary isolation in New York City, de Blasio said on Friday, with 29 people in mandatory quarantine. One-hundred fifty four patients in the city have tested positive.
Both the city and state have declared states of emergencies over the new virus, banning large gatherings and asking residents to take certain precautions to try to stem the spread of the illness.
Cuomo ordered a containment zone in part of New Rochelle, a town just outside the city that has one of the largest clusters of cases in the nation, and announced on Friday the opening of a drive-through testing facility there.