A second New Yorker has been diagnosed with coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday morning.
State officials said the patient, a New Rochelle man in his 50s, appears to have contracted the illness through community transmission — meaning that he had acquired it locally, as he had not visited other parts of the world where the virus is prevalent.
Cuomo confirmed those details during a Tuesday morning press conference, during which he also announced that the SAR Academy and School in Riverdale closed this morning as an extra precaution, because one of the man’s children attended there.
The governor and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said the newest coronavirus patient has an underlying respiratory condition which aggravated his symptoms. The victim initially checked in to Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, but was later transferred to an unnamed New York City hospital, where he remains in isolation.
State officials are monitoring his family and looking to track down others who may have had close contact with him.
Two families in Buffalo who recently traveled to coronavirus-stricken sections of Italy are also isolated at their homes and under monitoring, Cuomo added.
The news came nearly 36 hours after the state’s first reported coronavirus case involving a Manhattan woman who recently visited Iran. She’s experiencing mild symptoms and is currently convalescing in isolation within her home along with her husband, who’s also believed to have contracted the illness.
While the spread of coronavirus is inevitable in New York, Cuomo repeated assurances that New Yorkers should be concerned about the illness — but not to panic over it.
“The real fact that’s relevant is that 80% of the people who get this virus will self-resolve,” Cuomo said. “They may not even know they’ve had the virus. Twenty percent of them will get ill, and the lethality rate estimated by the CDC is 1.4 percent — but again, that’s with seniors, immune-compromised individuals and people with underlying illnesses” at risk of serious complications.
“I am telling you it is inevitable that this will continue to spread,” he added. “At the end of the day, most people who get infected won’t even know they had it.”
At Tuesday’s press conference, Cuomo signed legislation that the state legislature hastily passed Monday authorizing a $40 million emergency appropriation to respond to the coronavirus, as well as emergency measures giving state government the authority to issue quarantines and take further steps to handle the crisis.
Cuomo said the state’s also working to increase the testing capacity, and is in consultation with private laboratories to expand coronavirus tests. The governor is also seeking an amendment to the paid sick leave law that would guarantee anyone quarantined as a result of coronavirus receives pay from their employer, along with preservation of their job.
The State University of New York is also set to decide today whether to recall its students studying abroad and bring them home, Cuomo added.
This story was updated at 9:55 a.m.