The wife, son, daughter and a neighbor of a Westchester County man who tested positive for the novel coronavirus have also contracted the virus, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In a press briefing held later on Wednesday, he announced five additional cases in a family that had contact with the 50-year-old New Rochelle man.
Yeshiva University, where the man’s 20-year-old son attends school, said in a statement that it was informed of his positive COVID-19 test result on Wednesday morning, and as a result, has canceled all classes on Wilf Campus in Washington Heights for the day, including in-person graduate courses and a boys’ high school.
“This precautionary step will allow us to work with the city agencies and other professionals to prepare our campus and ensure the uncompromised safety of our students, faculty and staff,” the statement said. “All classes and operations at our other campuses continue as normal.”
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said two close contacts of the student, who has not been on campus since Feb. 27, were transferred to Bellevue hospital on Wednesday for testing.
SAR High School in the Bronx, where the man’s daughter is a student, had closed on Tuesday and remained closed on Wednesday. Cuomo said that the man’s New Rochelle neighbor who tested positive for the virus was the person who drove him to the hospital.
The news comes a day after Cuomo said the man, who is an attorney in midtown Manhattan and has underlying respiratory issues, was hospitalized “in serious condition,” and that one of his children was showing possible symptoms while another was not. All family members had been in isolation at the family’s home.
On Wednesday, De Blasio said the man's condition was improving and added that his wife works at the same midtown law firm that he does. One intern and seven employees who work with the man at the 42nd Street office are undergoing testing, De Blasio said.
Health officials said the man had no prior travel history to countries currently experiencing a coronavirus outbreak, and that they were investigating whether he used public transportation while infectious. He had visited a hospital in Bronxville before being transferred to New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
Cuomo later Wednesday traveled to Westchester County to come up with a localized plan to help track contacts and prevent further spread. There, he learned of five new cases in a family that had contact with the lawyer, bringing the state's total number to 11.
Additionally, all State University of New York's and the City University of New York's study abroad programs in China, Italy, Japan, Iran and South Korea have been suspended effective immediately, and the state is making arrangements to bring back all non-essential students, faculty and staff currently abroad in those countries. All returning staff, students and personnel will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
New York’s first case involves a 39-year-old health care worker who visited Iran and has been recovering at home. Her husband is also recovering at home but his test results were negative, Cuomo said.
Cuomo said that the coronavirus has caused an “epidemic, but we have a pandemic caused by fear.” He repeated that about 80 percent of patients who test positive for coronavirus will self-resolve and have mild cases, while about 20 percent will require some type of treatment.
“The more people you test, the more you’re going to find,” he said. “So let’s keep that in mind.”
De Blasio previously said that the city has 1,200 beds prepared for a potential outbreak in the area.