Health and Science

New York City confirms first coronavirus case

Key Points
  • New York's first case falls on the heels of newly confirmed cases in Washington state and California reported over the weekend.
  • Public health officials in Seattle reported the nation's first two deaths and several new cases Saturday and Sunday.
  • Some 50 residents and employees of a nursing care facility outside of Seattle were being tested for the new coronavirus.
Tourists wearing masks walk through Union Square in New York City on February 28, 2020, amid fears of the coronavirus and a global pandemic.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

New York officials have confirmed the state's first coronavirus case, a woman who recently traveled to Iran and is currently isolated in her Manhattan home. 

"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. Now our first case has been confirmed," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Sunday, adding that health officials have been "in a state of high alert for weeks."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it was the first confirmed case in the state. The patient is a woman in her late 30s who had recently been to Iran and was isolated in her home, he said.

"The patient has respiratory symptoms, but is not in serious condition and has been in a controlled situation since arriving to New York," he said. Local cases were expected, Cuomo added, saying he has asked state lawmakers to approve $40 million in emergency funding to combat the fast-spreading virus. 

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Coronavirus cases emerge in the US

Cuomo and New York Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said the general risk to New Yorkers was low, urged the public to remain calm and said they were on top of the situation.

"There is no reason for undue anxiety," Cuomo said.

Barbot said the department has been preparing for local cases and has already traced the patient's contacts.

"While we hoped this moment wouldn't come, it was something we prepared for," she said in a statement. "As we confront this emerging outbreak, we need to separate facts from fear, and guard against stigma and panic." 

New York's first case falls on the heels of confirmed cases in Washington state and California reported over the weekend. Public health officials in Seattle reported the nation's first two deaths in a suburb and several new cases Saturday and Sunday, adding that 50 residents and employees of a nursing care facility were being tested for the new coronavirus after several people there tested positive for COVID-19.

Health officials in Santa Clara County, California, confirmed three new cases over the weekend, bringing the total in that Silicon Valley county alone to seven. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 69 cases in the U.S. as of Friday.  

Since emerging from Wuhan, China two months ago, COVID-19 has spread to at least 60 countries, infecting more than 87,100 people and killing at least 2,980 as of Sunday, according to data compiled by the World Health Organization. It has shuttered commerce across most of China as officials there tried to contain the fast-spreading outbreak. Fear of the virus have unnerved investors, shaving 12% off the Dow Jones Industrial Average last week, marking its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis.