Coronavirus News: Positive case of COVID-19 in Westchester County, 1st community spread in state

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A man in Westchester County has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that this appears to be the first "community spread" case of the illness in the state.

The New Rochelle man in his 50s with an underlying respiratory illness is hospitalized in "severe condition" at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia 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.

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The governor says a community spread case has tested positive in Westchester County.



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.

He lives in New Rochelle with his family and works at a law firm in Manhattan.

He has two sons with a connection to NYC. Both sons are isolated at their home in Westchester. One is a student at SAR Academy in Riverdale but is not showing symptoms.

Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck, Westchester Torah Academy in White Plains, and Salanter Akiba Riverdale (SAR) Academy and SAR High School in Riverdale, Bronx are all closed. The schools are associated with a child of the Westchester County man who has tested positive.

Yeshiva University has identified an undergraduate student as the other son of the Westchester coronavirus patient.

That student has not been on campus since February 27, the university said.

Temple Young Israel in New Rochelle, where the patient is a congregant, has been ordered to suspend services for the foreseeable future. Some congregants have been ordered to self-quarantine due to possible exposure.

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The NYC Health Department said Tuesday that five additional COVID-19 cases are still under investigation.

The governor said the state is also testing two families in Buffalo who recently returned from Italy. They are being tested and are quarantined.

Cuomo signed a bill Monday to direct $40 million to help the state hire more staffers and buy equipment to help respond to coronavirus. The legislation also gives the governor the authority to declare a statewide disaster emergency for an urgent disease outbreak and temporarily suspend state and local laws and regulations to cope with it.

State University of New York schools plan to send home students who are studying abroad in counties with high prevalence of the virus, according to the governor's office.

Cuomo said the state public health laboratory is teaming up with hospitals with a goal of ensuring the state can handle up to 1,000 coronavirus tests per day.

He also said New York will institute a new cleaning protocol at schools and in the public transportation system.

RELATED: All coronavirus coverage from Eyewitness News

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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