First Coronavirus Case Confirmed in New York

A health worker demonstrates how to don protective gear. Photo: Boston Globe/Boston Globe via Getty Images

On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement confirming the first case of Covid-19 novel coronavirus in New York. The patient is a woman in her late 30s who contracted the virus on a trip to Iran. According to the statement, she is “currently isolated in her home” and has “respiratory symptoms, but is not in serious condition.” According to state officials who spoke with the New York Times, the woman lives in Manhattan.

“There is no cause for surprise — this was expected,” the statement reads. “As I said from the beginning, it was a matter of when, not if there would be a positive case of novel coronavirus in New York.” Governor Cuomo also hailed the lab in Albany where the test was conducted. Up until this weekend, labs in New York were not allowed to test cases locally and were required to send samples to the CDC. The lab in Albany where the test was implemented was allowed to do so after the governor appealed on Saturday to allow local testing for faster responses. Cuomo also mentioned his call for $40 million in emergency management funding to help the state prepare for an outbreak, which the CDC has called “inevitable” on a national level.

In a statement provided on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that New York City health officials have “been in a state of high alert for weeks, and are fully prepared to respond.” He added that the city could provide 1,200 hospital beds for coronavirus cases without impacting any other patient’s medical care. Mark Levine, a city councilman from Manhattan, told the New York Times that health officials are trying to determine who else may have been exposed to the confirmed case: “Health officials have traced all recent contacts of the patient and are keeping them under observation.”

Also on Sunday, Rhode Island and Illinois confirmed their first cases of coronavirus; on Friday, Oregon state health officials announced the first “presumptive” case in the state. On Saturday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency to handle the public health crisis: Already, two residents of the Seattle area have died after becoming infected with the coronavirus, which are the first reported deaths in the United States. As of Sunday, there were 76 confirmed cases nationally — though experts estimate there could be as many of 1,500 people infected in Washington state alone. Researchers who have analyzed cases in Washington also noted a similarity in the cases of two patients who had no contact with each other, suggesting that coronavirus has been spreading there undetected for weeks.

This post has been updated.

First Coronavirus Case Confirmed in New York