New York, NY / USA – February 28, 2020: Woman with medical mask walking in Chinatown, New York City. (Shutterstock)
By Larry McShane, NY Daily News
Gov. Cuomo declared a state of emergency Saturday as the New Rochelle coronavirus virus cluster continued to expand, with 23 new cases bringing Westchester County’s infected population to 57 people — the most in New York state.
Cuomo announced the number of people testing positive statewide has now reached 76, climbing steadily over the last few days. There were also new cases in the Rockaways and in Saratoga County, he said, and a pair of Rockland County positive tests were also linked to the same New Rochelle lawyer who was one of the first two reported cases of the virus.
“We have a situation in New Rochelle,” the governor said at his daily update on the virus. “You’re seeing those numbers in New Rochelle expand as you have seen in other clusters. One becomes two, two becomes four, four becomes 10, then 12. And then 12 people go out and touch 200, and 400, and 800.
“And that’s what we’re dealing with now.”
The number of New York City cases had more than doubled from 5 to 11, the governor said. The numbers include two people who were diagnosed after exiting a cruise ship, said Cuomo.
The state of emergency allows the state to hire more staff as local health departments become stressed by the growing number of victims, the governor added.
The New Rochelle man at the center of the cluster in the city’s northern suburbs was hospitalized Feb. 27 in critical condition, with nearly five dozen cases now linked to the man. Mayor de Blasio said Friday that the man’s condition was improving.
But the virus spread from the father of four to his wife and two of their kids, to neighbors and friends, and even to his local rabbi.
“Westchester County is an obvious problem for us,” said Cuomo. “The clusters tends to infect more and more people.”
The infected person in the Rockaways is a male Uber driver hospitalized in stable condition, with officials unsure how he contracted the coronavirus, according to a source.
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