NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — At least four people are currently “under investigation” in New York for the potentially fatal coronavirus, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
"The State Department of Health currently has four persons under investigation for novel coronavirus that are under isolation as their cases are being tested at the CDC," Cuomo said in a statement. "So far, one of these cases has been proven negative and three are still pending. While the risk for New York is currently low, the Governor is calling for increased vigilance to ensure New Yorkers are protected."
The news comes on the same day that health officials in Illinois confirmed that a Chicago woman in her 60s was the second person in the United States confirmed to have the virus.
Cuomo, in a statement, said he wants New Yorkers to be prepared for a possible outbreak.
“We are undertaking a wide-reaching and rigorous effort with all stakeholders, including healthcare providers, airports and federal health officials, to put in place the appropriate precautions to keep New Yorkers safe,” the governor said.
Symptoms of the virus resemble a common cold. If you suspect you might be ill, follow the Health Department’s guidelines to protect yourself and others.
Individuals who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern, or have been in contact with somebody who has traveled to these areas, should call ahead to their healthcare provider before presenting for treatment.
Though there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says all precautions are being taken.
“We are preparing on the assumption that it's not a question of ‘if’ but a question of ‘when’ we start to have cases of coronavirus here in New York City,” he said.
Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot says the risk currently is low, but she's asking New Yorkers to be vigilant in taking care of their head.
She advises: “If they have traveled to Wuhan in the past 14 days, and they find themselves with symptoms of fever and a cough or shortness of breath, that they contact their provider.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began screening passengers returning from the center of the outbreak – Wuhan, China – at John F. Kennedy Airport and airports in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The city has since been placed under partial lockdown and its airport and railway stations have been closed to departing passengers.
Meanwhile, New Jersey health officials have confirmed that a patient who was hospitalized at Hackensack University Medical Center did not have the virus.
The disease has shut down parts of China and led to fears of a global epidemic. Currently, there is no cure for the coronavirus.
At least 26 have died from the disease in China – which is working to build a 1,000-bed hospital dedicated to infected patients.
The Wuhan outbreak is suspected to have begun from wild animals sold at a food market in the city. The market is closed for investigation.