New York governor declares state of emergency over coronavirus
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Saturday declared a state of emergency in New York as officials seek to combat the spreading coronavirus.
Officials have reported 76 cases of coronavirus in New York, including 10 people who are currently hospitalized, the governor said.
The majority of the confirmed cases, 57, continue to be in Westchester County, with 11 cases in New York City and the rest spread across Nassau, Rockland and Saratoga counties.
New York has commissioned “hundreds” of tests for coronavirus and plans to push for many more, Cuomo said.
“I would test as many people as you can test because you want to know,” he said.
New York had previously reported 44 cases of coronavirus as of Friday, and dozens of people have been under mandatory quarantine, instead of self-isolation, as a precaution, officials have said.
“There’s no doubt that massive quarantine is the best way to slow the spread,” Cuomo said Saturday.
The governor said officials are “hypercautious” about nursing homes and senior living facilities that may be especially vulnerable for the virus.
Cuomo said the emergency declaration will allow officials to speed up the purchase of resources such as hand sanitizers and other cleaning supplies. It will also allow officials to bypass certain purchasing regulations if needed and allows for more resources to go to local health departments responsible for monitoring those under quarantine.
“We now need the CDC to authorize automatic testing,” he said, adding it would “exponentially increase the number of tests you can do.”
“It’s one thing that you don’t do anything to help us, but at least don’t handcuff us, and that’s where we are right now,” he asserted.
More than 300 cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, have been confirmed in the U.S. across more than two dozen states.
The first deaths on the East Coast associated with the virus were reported in Florida on Friday, bringing the national death toll to 17, with most of those in Washington state.
Updated: 1:20 p.m.; 4:15 p.m.