TODAY'S PAPER
Good Evening
Good Evening
NewsHealth

State official: Manhattan woman is first confirmed case of COVID-19 coronavirus in New York State

An undated image from the National Institutes of

An undated image from the National Institutes of Health shows the coronavirus. Credit: EPA / Shutterstock

A New York City woman has become the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the state, city and state officials said Sunday.

According to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office, the person who contracted the illness is a woman in her 30s who recently traveled to Iran. She lives in Manhattan, a state official said.

"There is no reason for undue anxiety -- the general risk remains low in New York," Cuomo said in a statement. "We are diligently managing this situation and will continue to provide information as it becomes available."

Cuomo said the woman who contracted the new coronavirus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, is currently isolated in her home.

"The patient has respiratory symptoms, but is not in serious condition and has been in a controlled situation since arriving to New York," Cuomo said. "This was expected. As I said from the beginning, it was a matter of when, not if there would be a positive case of novel coronavirus in New York.”

The governor said in an interview on CNN Monday morning that the woman is a health care worker and "she was not symptomatic when she was on the plane" returning from Iran.

In addition, the woman had not taken any public transportation, he said. "She acted in a textbook way."

A note to our community:

As a public service, this article is available for all. Newsday readers support our strong local journalism by subscribing.  Please show you value this important work by becoming a subscriber now.

SUBSCRIBE

Cancel anytime

Saying "I fully expect to find community spread," Cuomo added, "you can't allow fear to outpace reality."

He said the state would "ramp up" its testing and cited the state's previous experiences dealing with health challenges such as the SARS virus as an indication of its ability to handle these situations. 

The virus causes respiratory illness and has sickened more than 88,000 people around the globe and killed more than 3,000 people. Washington State officials late Sunday announced that a second person there has died of the disease.

State and local authorities stepped up testing for the illness as the number of new cases grew nationwide, with new infections announced in California, Illinois, Rhode Island, Washington State and New York.

Thirty-two possible cases of COVID-19 in New York State have been tested and 31 have returned negative results, according to state health officials.

As the fallout continued, Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar sought to reassure the American public that the federal government is working to make sure state and local authorities are able to test for the virus. Both said during a round of TV talk show appearances Sunday that thousands more testing kits had been distributed to state and local officials, with thousands more to come.

“They should know we have the best public health system in the world looking out for them,” Azar said, adding that additional cases will be reported and the overall risk to Americans is low.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot and Mayor Bill deBlasio both took to Twitter on Sunday night to assure New Yorkers. Barbot said the agency’s “disease detectives have already identified close contacts of the patient, who may have been exposed, and will take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of #COVID19.”

In Suffolk, testing on a patient in Suffolk who had been suspected of contracting the new coronavirus came back negative Sunday, state and county health officials said. The Suffolk health department said it was monitoring 21 individuals under home isolation.


In Nassau, there were 62 travelers under voluntary 14-day isolation, down from 74 on Saturday, according to the county health department.

Health officials in Washington State said Sunday night that a second person had died from the coronavirus.  Researchers said the virus may have been circulating for weeks undetected in the greater Seattle area.

In a statement, Public Health—Seattle & King County said a man in his 70s died Saturday. On Friday, health officials said a man in his 50s died of coronavirus. Both had underlying health conditions, and both were being treated at a hospital in Kirkland, Washington, east of Seattle.

Washington State now has 12 confirmed cases.

The first U.S. case was a Washington State man who had visited China, where the virus first emerged, but several recent cases in the U.S. have had no known connection to travelers.

In California, two health care workers in the San Francisco Bay area who cared for an earlier coronavirus patient were diagnosed with the virus on Sunday, the Alameda and Solano counties said in a joint statement.


Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington on Sunday said they had evidence the virus may have been circulating in the state for up to six weeks undetected — a finding that, if true, could mean hundreds of undiagnosed cases in the area. They posted their research online, but it was not published in a scientific journal or reviewed by other scientists.

A note to our community:

As a public service, this article is available for all. Newsday readers support our strong local journalism by subscribing.  Please show you value this important work by becoming a subscriber now.

SUBSCRIBE

Cancel anytime

Health