As you may have heard, last night we learned of the first confirmed case of novel coronavirus — or COVID-19 — in New York State.
The patient is a woman in her late thirties who was traveling abroad in Iran, where there is an outbreak of the virus. Her condition is mild, and she is currently isolated in her home in Manhattan.
From the beginning, we have believed it was not a question of if New York would have a coronavirus case, but when. That's why New York State has been preparing for weeks, and we are diligently managing the situation.
It's important that we don't allow fear and panic to outpace reason.
Learn more about New York State's response to coronavirus.
Last night's positive test was confirmed by the State's Wadsworth Lab in Albany, underscoring the importance of the ability for our state to ensure efficient and rapid turnaround on testing.
New York State will immediately begin working with hospitals to help them replicate the State's FDA-approved test and reach our goal of 1,000 tests per day. Additionally, we will institute new cleaning protocols at schools and in public transportation.
Perspective is key here. This isn't our first rodeo — we have dealt with the swine flu, Ebola, SARS and the seasonal flu. We are fully coordinated, we are fully mobilized and we are fully prepared to deal with this situation as it develops.
What can you do?
If you have symptoms and have recently traveled to China, Iran, or at-risk areas in Italy and South Korea, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has, you should seek medical care right away. Call ahead and explain your symptoms and travel.
Symptoms of the novel coronavirus are similar to the flu, and include coughing, fever and trouble breathing.
There are simple steps we can all take to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, like your cell phone.
New Yorkers can call the Department of Health's coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 with any concerns about symptoms or travel. In addition, visit the Department of Health's dedicated website for more resources and updates about COVID-19.
We expect there to be more positive cases, but rest assured that New York State is taking all necessary actions to contain the potential spread of this virus.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo