Coronavirus Update: 2nd person dies from COVID-19 in Rockland County

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, March 16, 2020
Coronavirus Update: Westchester, Rockland counties declare states of emergency
Marcus Solis reports on the coronavirus outbreak in Westchester and Rockland County.

ROCKLAND COUNTY (WABC) -- Westchester and Rockland counties declared states of emergency amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak that has virtually shut down cities across the nation. This as Rockland County experienced its second death from the virus.

Meanwhile, drive-thru testing continues in New Rochelle as states across the United States look to ramp up testing.

Starting Wednesday all public and private schools will be closed for two weeks in both counties, though most have already shut their doors.

MARCH 21, 2020

The Superintendent of New Rochelle School District announced she has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Laura Feijóo informed of her health condition in a statement to parents and guardians.

"According to my doctor, I must be quarantined for two weeks from that date," she said.

Feijóo also announced President Amy Moselhi will be quarantined too, "given her very close proximity" to Moselhi through this crisis.

"Both President Moselhi and I will remain at home through the quarantine period and will continue to commit to the work we are doing in district," Feijóo said.

MARCH 17, 2020

A second person died from the coronavirus in Rockland County. The person is said to be 60 years old and had pre-existing medical conditions.

Mount Vernon declared a state of emergency. All departments and agencies have been told to take whatever steps are necessary to protect life, property, public infrastructure.

This includes fitness centers and the food industry.

The food industry is closed to in-restaurant dining, but will remain open for delivery/takeout services.

As of at 8 p.m. Tuesday, all beauty salons, nail salons and barbershops will also be closed and no longer providing services.

Public parks are closed and residents are asked to remain home between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.

MARCH 16, 2020

Westchester County has the second highest number of cases in the state, with two dozen new infections reported Monday.

"Our society faces a challenge ahead of us that can only be compared to what was faced when wartime provisions were enacted in our nation," Executive George Latimer said. "Like then, we will overcome this. It may not be overnight, but it will be together. We must ensure we are doing all we can do protect all who live in this great county."

County Executive Ed Day said Rockland now has a total of 18 positive cases, and he announced the following orders as part of the declaration:

--Emergency School Closing Order: All public and private schools that serve grades K-12 to suspend all classroom and extracurricular functions for two weeks, effective midnight Tuesday. All universities, colleges, and other public and private educational facilities must exclude students from those facilities before midnight Wednesday. Facilities that are solely dedicated to daycare, preschool and pre-kindergarten are exempt from this order.

--Hoarding Prevention Order: Only two "commercial units" (for example, two bottles of hand sanitizer) from the list of restricted items can be sold to a household or business per day.

--COVID-19 Test Protective Order: People who are awaiting test results to stay home and avoid interaction with the public until their test results are returned, at which time they will receive further instructions from their physicians or public health authorities.

--Buffet and Salad Bar Protection Order: Limits buffets and salad bars to pre-packaging their food for sale.

"We are taking these steps in service to the health and safety of our children and to ensure that all of our residents have a chance to purchase the medicine, soap, cleaning products, food, baby formula and even toilet paper that they need," Day said. "As we all take these necessary precautions we must not forget about our friends and neighbors. It is more important than ever that we work together and support those who are struggling. We are embarking on a very difficult journey, but I have faith in all of you, my friends and neighbors. Together we can overcome anything that stands in our way. We did it before and we will do it again."

MARCH 15, 2020

Rockland County Executive Ed Day intends to issue a Declaration of a State of Emergency Monday as additional actions are taken locally to deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus.

"This is a rapidly changing situation, but we have been working through the weekend to ensure everything is being done in a legal and proper manner," Day said. "We have been in close contact with our school Superintendents, Rockland BOCES and other local officials as we finalize the plans that will protect our children, our families and our neighbors. I once again ask our residents to stay calm and remember to look out for your friends and neighbors as we navigate this situation with COVID-19."

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said during a conference call on Sunday that the county would likely declare a state of emergency on Monday.

"Our county has been coordinating with the State to ensure an effective means of slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus," Latimer said. "Cancelling group events and meetings, limiting access for non-essential social contacts and anticipating additional testing and healthcare needs are all part of our response in concert with the Governor and his administration. Closing schools-with adequate childcare and nutrition provisions-is the next step we will undertake this week."

MARCH 14, 2020

Hundreds of people are being tested for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in New Rochelle Saturday as the Westchester County city begins its first full day of testing at the new drive-thru facility that opened in Glen Island Park Friday.

The six-lane testing center can initially handle 200 cars per day, though the number of people tested will depend on the number of people in each vehicle.

Priority is being given to New Rochelle residents quarantined in and around the one-mile containment zone, who can get tested first by appointment only and do not have to exit their vehicles.

This, Cuomo says, makes it even safer that going to a medical facility.

"If they walk into a hospital, they're now exposing people in the emergency room, they're exposing staff," Cuomo said. "So it's actually safer to keep them in their car."

Workers in full-body protective suits swab patients, and the samples are then to a lab with results in as little as 24 hours.

The mobile testing facility will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and New Rochelle residents who would like to be tested can make an appointment by calling 888-364-3065.

MARCH 13, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo opened the state's first drive-thru coronavirus testing station in Glen Island Park in New Rochelle on Friday.

The six-lane testing center will initially handle 200 people a day, with priority given to New Rochelle residents quarantined in and around the one-mile containment zone.

They will be given priority and can get tested first by appointment only, and they do not have to exit their vehicles. New Rochelle residents who would like to be tested can make an appointment by calling 888-364-3065.

"There are six lanes that are operating," Cuomo said. "The medical staff will come to you, does the test, takes the swabs. You pull out of the lane, and the swabs are sent to a lab to be tested. Results will come back to you."

New Rochelle residents get first opportunity, but people all throughout Westchester County can be served.

Officials hope the station will help drastically increase the number of people getting tested, which so far has been limited.

All schools have closed in New Rochelle during the crisis.

The containment area began on Thursday, with the National Guard helping deliver food to quarantined residents.

MARCH 12, 2020

Camouflage-clad National Guard troops began unloading and distributing food to residents Thursday in New Rochelle, Westchester County.

400-thousand pounds of food will be distributed in the one-mile area designated as a containment zone.

The center of the containment zone is the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue.

A 50-year old congregant, who is a New York City lawyer, has been linked to dozens of infections.

The number of positive cases in Westchester now stands at 148.

In the containment zone, schools and houses of worship are closed, and will be scrubbed and sanitized.

Businesses can remain open and people are free to travel within it. The goal is to limit further spread via mass gatherings.

In the Wykogyl community, the Girl Scouts have put up purple ribbons of support.

Preparations are underway for a mobile testing center to be established at Glen Island Park. The county executive says that will help give officials a more accurate picture of community spread.

MARCH 11, 2020

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Westchester County has reached 121, according to New York Governor Cuomo.

That's the most in the state that began with a case in New Rochelle, where the national guard arrived on Thursday.

Several schools and houses of worship in New Rochell are closed for two weeks.

Cuomo said the National Guard would help deliver food to quarantined people.

An attorney who practiced in Westchester, White Plains is among the 13 new positive cases.

As a result, 6 courtrooms at the Westchester Courtroom were closed for cleaning.

Employees and other individuals who had contact with that attorney are staying at home and health officials are conducting outreach.

MARCH 10, 2020

New York officials are shuttering several schools and houses of worship for two weeks in New Rochelle and sending in the National Guard to help with what appears to be the nation's biggest cluster of coronavirus cases.

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.

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

  • Wednesday, March 4, 2020 - Recommended closure until March 19, 2020 (Precautionary quarantine must continue until March 19, 2020.)
  • Hempstead Elementary

  • Friday, March 6, 2020 - Recommended closure until March 21, 2020 (Precautionary quarantine must continue until March 21, 2020.)
  • Pomona Middle School

  • Friday, March 6, 2020 - Recommended closure until March 21, 2020 (Precautionary quarantine must continue until March 21, 2020.)
  • 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:

    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.

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