Coronavirus News: 1 being tested for COVID-19 in New York City, states to begin own testing

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City is monitoring one person for the novel coronavirus, according to the health commissioner, while New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are implementing their own testing for the potentially deadly virus.

Results are pending for the individual, who is under the age of 50 and has respiratory symptoms after recently traveling to Italy.

Meanwhile, New York state is working on its own test for COVID-19 amid a growing backlog of testing at the CDC in Atlanta, and Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that he spoke to Vice President Mike Pence to discuss plans.

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As the number of people who need to be tested is going to increase due to the inclusion of more origin countries, Cuomo said it is "virtually inevitable" there will be a positive case in the state.

"As of this morning, 28 cases have been tested, 27 negative, one is still pending, but it is inevitable in my opinion, or virtually inevitable, based on mathematics and practicality," he said. "I don't want to get into this game, every day, 'Thank God no one tested positive,' and when someone tests positive, now everyone gets nervous. We will have people who test positive. You cannot hermetically seal the United States of America."

Cuomo also stressed that the state is preparing and rattled off the possible future scenarios, noting, "The worst case scenarios, they are problematic and disruptive."

"I don't give a darn about anybody's politics," he said. "We have to be ready."

New Jersey on Friday announced its own similar testing to be conducted at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories in West Trenton, using testing kits provided by the CDC.
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Anthony Johnson has updates on the coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey.



Additionally, lawmakers, including Sen. Bob Menendez, toured Hackensack Meridian's Center for Discovery and Innovation, where infectious disease experts and researchers are continuing to study the virus.

"The ability to test specimens in New Jersey accelerates the turnaround time for diagnosing cases and implementing public health measures," Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. "Testing capability will further enhance New Jersey's preparedness and response to this evolving health emergency."

Connecticut announced it will also conduct its own testing with CDC kits at the Connecticut Department of Public Health's laboratory in Rocky Hill.

"As our administration laid out this week, Connecticut is taking every necessary precaution and proactive step to ensure we are ready to respond to the novel coronavirus," Governor Ned Lamont said. "Being able to test for the virus locally will allow us to conduct diagnostics and take every measure in our capability in an expedited fashion."

There are three components to the CDC test for COVID-19, and the kits the CDC sent out nationwide earlier this month had a faulty third component, requiring most samples to be sent to the CDC in Atlanta for analysis.

The third reagent was giving inconclusive results when many laboratories were trying to verify that it was working. The CDC created that test, and the three components, before there was a US case. But once they had US cases to test with, the CDC concluded the test would function without the third component.

CDC has now informed public health labs that it is comfortable making a preliminary determination of unexplained symptoms with two of the three components of the test.

New Jersey and Connecticut are following CDC guidance and are ready to begin tests using two of the three components, but departments of health in New York City and New York state also have concerns with the second component producing accurate results.

Both agencies are continuing to talk with CDC before using the test to determine preliminary positive coronavirus, which will still have to be confirmed by the CDC.

So while this new test eliminates the multi-day lag time to determine preliminary positive, it will not be a confirmed positive until tested by CDC lab in Atlanta.

The CDC hopes all 100 public health labs across the country to be able to run tests by the end of next week.

RELATED INFORMATION:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

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.

New York State information about coronavirus

New York City information about coronavirus

John Hopkins' coronavirus tracking dashboard

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