Health officials announced the 23rd case Friday morning — a man in his 50s who lives in Manhattan. He has mild symptoms and his family is being tested.
The newest case in NYC and all of the new cases in Westchester County are connected to a 50-year-old lawyer hospitalized with the disease, officials said.
Eyewitness News learned Friday morning that a rabbi is one of the patients in Westchester County.
The rabbi of Young Israel of New Rochelle, the synagogue at the center of the coronavirus, had tested positive. He was already in self quarantine. He also teaches classes at Yeshiva University in Washington Heights.
“I have the virus and am doing reasonably well,” he wrote in a letter to congregation. “Admittedly, it is hard to comply with the burden the State has placed on us. But as we see, despite all these measures the amount of people testing positive is increasing. We all have to be careful to comply. I have heard alarming reports that some of our members who should remain in quarantine have repeatedly violated it. This, obviously, is irresponsible.”
The case on Long Island is a 42-year-old man in Uniondale, Nassau County, who is hospitalized.
De Blasio said that the individuals in NYC are a woman in her 80s and man in his 40s. They are both hospitalized in critical condition.
Both have substantial pre-existing conditions, officials said. The man has respiratory issues related to smoking and vaping and the woman is an “advanced age.” One is being treated in Brooklyn and one is being treated in Manhattan.
The new positive test results for COVID-19 came a day after health officials in the state announced a cluster of cases connected with the lawyer hospitalized with the disease.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the disease appeared to have been passed from the lawyer to his family and other people close to them in New Rochelle, a suburb north of New York City.
In addition to the 50-year-old lawyer, who is hospitalized in New York City, tests have come back positive for his wife, two children and a neighbor, as well as one of his friends and members of that man’s family.
“There are going to be hundreds in Westchester,” Cuomo said of his expectation going forward. “The number of people who will be infected will continue to increase. It is going to be dozens and dozens and dozens.”
The Westchester County cases are suspected to be from “community spread.”
“New Yorkers should focus on facts not fear as we confront this evolving situation, and the facts do not merit the level of anxiety we are seeing,” Cuomo said. “The number of cases will increase because it’s math – the more you test, the more cases you find. We are testing more people, we are isolating anyone who may have come into contact with the virus, and we are getting people care if they need it.”
On Thursday, thecity health commissioner issued an order requiring city employees, including teachers, who traveled to an affected country and showing signs of coronavirus to get tested. Merely showing symptoms could also require testing. Any employees who refuse could be ordered quarantined and face discipline.
Officials say the New Rochelle lawyer had an underlying respiratory illness when he became infected with COVID-19.
He is hospitalized in critical but stable condition at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center in Washington Heights, the New York City Health Department said.
Initial review of his travel does not suggest any direct connection to China or any country on the watch list. He did travel to Miami and Israel during the past few months, but not during the two week incubation period.
He returned to Westchester some time ago and started showing serious symptoms last week. Officials say he had respiratory issues for the last month, became they more pronounced in the last couple of days.
The wife, children, and neighbor are all isolated in their homes. The 14-year-old girl is a student at SAR Academy in Riverdale. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the wife and daughter are asymptomatic.
The son did show symptoms but is getting better. A close friend and roommate of his have been tested out of precaution, but both tests came back negative.
Seven employees and one intern at the law firm where the man and his wife work were also tested and came back negative.
Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck, Westchester Torah Academy in White Plains, and alanter Akiba Riverdale (SAR) Academy and SAR High School in Riverdale, Bronx are all closed. The schools are associated with the Westchester County cases.
Temple Young Israel in New Rochelle, where the patients are congregants, has been ordered to suspend services for the foreseeable future. Some congregants have been ordered to self-quarantine due to possible exposure.
Prior to Thursday, a 39-year-old health care worker who had traveled to Iran, where there is a significant COVID-19 outbreak, was New York state’s only confirmed case with no connection to the lawyer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
New Yorkers can call the State hotline at 1-888-364-3065, where experts from the Department of Health can answer questions regarding the novel coronavirus.
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