New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is accepting a recommendation to shut down a one-mile radius in New Rochelle, Westchester County, because of the coronavirus outbreak. He has called on the National Guard to help in the effort to curb the spread of the virus in the suburb just north of New York City.
Cuomo describes New Rochelle as having “a particular problem” with a cluster of cases and contains a much higher number of positive cases than New York City.
He said officials are focusing on a one-mile radius around the center of where the outbreak started and setting up a containment area between March 12 and March 25.
Here some of the latest developments:
The dramatic move is an attempt to stop people from gathering within one mile from the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue. Buildings in the area will also be sanitized with the help of the National Guard, which will also assist with the delivery of food.
“It is a dramatic action, but it is the largest cluster of cases in the country,” he said. “The numbers are going up unabated, and we do need a special public health strategy for New Rochelle.”
People will be permitted to enter and leave the area. The focus is “not really people, it’s facilities,” he said.
New Rochelle is at the center of an outbreak of more 108 cases in Westchester County, out of 173 statewide as of Tuesday.
The state will take the opportunity to aggressively clean the area during that two week period to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Schools and other “large congregate facilities for gatherings” in the containment area will be closed and sanitized.
There will also be a satellite testing facility set up by Northwell Health to increase testing in the city of New Rochelle.
Earlier, three students tested positive for the coronavirus forcing the East Ramapo School District in Rockland County to cancel classes for two weeks.
They are three of five students tested and believed to be related to two adult residents, a man and woman, who learned of their exposure after working with a caterer at a New Rochelle synaogue.
The students attend Hempstead Elementary, Pomona Middle School and Ramapo High School.
“These schools are now considered potential exposure sites and anyone who visited the schools on the exposure dates may have been exposed to COVID-19 and must precautionary quarantine for fourteen days. This includes all faculty, staff, students, visitors and parents who spent time within the schools,” County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said.
Anyone who visited the following locations in Rockland County may have been exposed to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and must precautionary quarantine:
Ramapo High School
Pomona Middle School
In addition, anyone who visited the following locations in Rockland County may have been exposed to Coronavirus (COVID-19):
150 Remsen Avenue, Monsey, NY
– Friday, February 28, 2020, between 11:00 a.m. and 11:45 p.m.
– Saturday, February 29, 2020, between 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
The Atrium Ballroom, 401 NY-59, Monsey, NY
-Monday, March 2, 2020, between 2:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m.
“It was previously believed that these infected individuals had not worked as caterers during these events and it was only through the detective work of one of our investigators that this discovery was made,” said Dr. Ruppert. “Any person who believes they may have been exposed should contact their health care provider by phone right away. I also ask that anyone who becomes ill with this disease be completely forthcoming with our investigators, it is only with your help that we can prevent the spread of this disease.”
The Health Department is asking all health care providers to immediately report all possible cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the Rockland County Department of Health Communicable Disease Program staff by calling 845-364-2997 during normal business hours, or 845-364-8600 after hours/weekends. Health Care Providers can call this number for additional information.
The Rockland County Department of Health is monitoring several people under quarantine and is following CDC and New York State Department of Health protocols.
It is recommended that Rockland residents take the following precautions to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19):
– Stay home if sick and contact your medical provider before visiting their office.
– Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
– Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
– Avoid shaking hands.
– Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
– Stay up to date on CDC travel health notices: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.
The New York State Department of Health has established a Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 to speak with a NYSDOH expert who will answer questions, Monday – Sunday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. After hours, you may leave a voicemail that will be returned.