Health officials on New York’s Long Island said 83 people in Nassau County are being monitored over coronavirus concerns, but added that, as of Wednesday, there were no confirmed cases of the illness in the area, and that the individuals aren’t necessarily exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
"This has been getting a lot of press and rightly so," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a press conference on Wednesday. "But we are advising everyone to remain calm in Nassau County. We have no confirmed cases at this time."
Curran said that amid coronavirus concerns, residents should be mindful that it's also the middle of a busy flu season, and that everyone should be practicing good hygiene measures such as washing hands with soap and water, using hand sanitizer, and covering sneezes and coughs. She also advised staying home from work or school if you are not feeling well.
“We have boots on the ground and we are monitoring this situation in Nassau very, very closely and have been right from the very beginning to respond to any cases should they emerge in our county,” Curran said.
Officials further stressed that the 83 individuals being monitored aren’t necessarily exhibiting possible symptoms of COVID-19, but that they had recently come from an area where there are confirmed cases. The individuals are being asked to quarantine themselves for a period of 14 days based on flight logs.
“We have a procedure in place where, as airplanes arrive — and right now only American citizens are allowed to arrive as of a few weeks back — we receive notification off a list from the CDC that comes down to us of anybody that’s coming into our county who lives here, who has a potential exposure, meaning they’ve been in mainland China sometime in the last 14 days,” Dr. Larry Eisenstein said. “It is our job to within 24 hours of receiving this notice — and as you know an airplane can arrive at basically anytime — to reach out to them, to let them know that we are asking them to isolate themselves.”
Eisenstein said most of the individuals involve residents who are self-isolating in their own homes.
As of Wednesday, Nassau County officials received 320 names on such lists from the CDC, with a total of 175 people who have experienced “a partial time where they were removed from contacting other people.” The 83 people currently being monitored are checking their temperature each day, and reporting to health officials, Eisenstein said, adding that the county is following state protocols.
“There are no cases confirmed in Nassau County, and that is very important,” he said.
In a separate press conference on Wednesday, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio called for expanded travel screenings for people returning from areas currently dealing with large outbreaks of the virus. At least 38 countries have reported cases of coronavirus. As of Wednesday, New York had no confirmed cases of the illness, which has sickened over 81,000 people worldwide.