Feeding the quarantined, and monitoring for symptoms are among challenges as coronavirus spreads as predicted

Posted: 7:49 PM, Mar 04, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-04 19:49:50-05

NEW YORK — The number of people in New York infected with the coronavirus continues to grow, as does the number of people under quarantine as a precaution, but health and government officials, as well as community leaders, say that the general public should keep fear and panic at bay, based on the way the unfolding situation is being handled.

"There's only one person who's had to be hospitalized," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during one of three different news conferences on Wednesday. At each one, he had to discuss the scope of the virus broadening.

As the governor pointed out, the virus has spread very much along the route it had been forecasted, among people who spend extended periods of time in close quarters with one another.

By the end of Wednesday, a total of 11 people in New York had contracted the virus, according to the governor and the state department of health.

A Manhattan woman, 39, was diagnosed last week. Then, on Monday, a man, 50, who's an attorney from New Rochelle who works in Midtown Manhattan, was diagnosed. He had an underlying respiratory condition for which he'd already been hospitalized.

The governor said that his condition had stabilized, and that his health was improving from the serious condition in which he'd been initially triaged at New York-Presbyterian Medical Center, where he remains.

On Wednesday morning, the governor announced that the man's wife, son, 20, and daughter, 14, were also infected by the virus. A neighbor of theirs who had driven the man to the hospital is also infected.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Cuomo announced that another man who's in regular contact with the 50 year-old New Rochelle man had also contracted COVID-19.

Family members of that associate have also tested positive. His wife, two sons, and daughter have contracted the illness, for a total of 11 people statewide.

All of them are either in Manhattan or in the New Rochelle area. All but the 50 year-old man are self-isolated in their homes.

In addition, many more people from the same community, who have not tested positive for the virus, and are nearly all asymptomatic, are at their homes as a precaution.

"The self-quarantine number," said Cuomo, is "about a thousand."

Virtually all of them are connected to the New Rochelle synagogue Young Israel, where the first infected family is affiliated. The synagogue is closed. So are three schools with connections to the synagogue, as well as Yeshiva University in Washington Heights, where one of the infected people is a student. They're all shut down through Friday at the earliest.

The quarantine is by order of the state, and overseen by the Westchester County health commissioner.

PIX11 News asked Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amlin how all 1,000 people stay fed, and otherwise supplied, during a quarantine that can last two weeks.

"Luckily, most people have family and friends," she said. "We would just ask that they not allow them inside," she continued. "They could certainly leave food at the doorstep and leave."

She added that if anyone is quarantined and in need of supplies and can't obtain them from friends or family, they can contact the Westchester County Board of Health, and they will provide items for them.