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Manhattan woman is New York's first confirmed case of coronavirus after traveling to Iran

Posted: 7:48 PM, Mar 01, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-02 12:53:13-05

NEW YORK — New York has its first confirmed case of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.

The woman, who is 39 years old and lives in Manhattan, contracted the virus while in Iran, officials said. She's currently isolated in her home. She is not in serious condition, but does have respiratory symptoms.

Cuomo, along with Mayor Bill de Blasio and city and state health officials, held a news conference Monday morning with further updates.

During the event, Cuomo said the woman flew back home to New York on Tuesday and did not take public transportation home from the airport. He confirmed she is a health care worker and knew to take precautions.

"We don't believe she was contagious on the plane or in the car," the governor said.

Her husband is also being isolated out of caution. "We assume the spouse will be positive," Cuomo said.

Confirming the initial news Sunday, Cuomo said, "the positive test was confirmed by New York's Wadsworth Lab in Albany, underscoring the importance of the ability for our state to ensure efficient and rapid turnaround, and is exactly why I advocated for the approval from Vice President Pence that New York was granted just yesterday."

"There is no cause for surprise -- this was expected. 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."

Cuomo again Monday said the general risk remains low in New York.

De Blasio said the city is fully prepared to respond to coronavirus cases.

"From the beginning, we have said it was a matter of when, not if, there would be a positive case of coronavirus in New York," he tweeted. "We will continue to ensure New Yorkers have the facts and resources they need to protect themselves."

Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot agreed that the city was prepared.

"Our disease detectives have already identified close contacts of the patient, who may have been exposed, and will take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19," she said. "Despite this development, New Yorkers remain at low risk for contracting COVID-19. As we confront this emerging outbreak, we need to separate facts from fear, and guard against stigma and panic."

More than 88,000 worldwide have been infected and the death toll worldwide has reached at least 3,000.

For those who feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and traveled to areas experiencing coronavirus outbreaks or came into contact with someone with COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about recent travel and symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

For more information about the coronavirus, visit the Health Department website.