Health and Science

New York officials confirm second case of coronavirus in state, identify case as community spread

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Key Points
  • A man north of New York City is hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus, the second confirmed case in the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
  • Cuomo told Long Island radio station 103.9 that the unidentified man from Westchester County commuted to work in Manhattan and lives in a home with school-age children.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference to discuss the first positive case of novel coronavirus or COVID-19 in New York State on March 2, 2020 in New York City.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

New York officials have identified a 50-year old man who worked in New York City as the second confirmed case in the state, adding that it "appears to be an example of community spread."

New York City Health Department officials later confirmed that the case is, in fact, the first community transmission of COVID-19 in the city.

The man lived in Westchester County with two children and works at the Manhattan law firm Lewis and Garbuz, P.C., the health department said in a press release. The patient has two children who attend school in the city —a girl who goes to SAR Academy and High School in the Bronx and a boy who attends Yeshiva University in Manhattan. SAR Academy voluntarily closed Tuesday as a precautionary measure.

City health officials are "providing anyone who may have had incidental contact with precautionary measures and information," the agency said. "City agencies have personnel on the ground and are working closely with the law firm, building operators and academic institutions to ensure employees are being given appropriate guidance."

Cuomo said the man was hospitalized because he has an underlying respiratory illness and no known travel history to China or other countries on the virus watch list. He had also traveled to Miami, but the visit was not recent enough to pose a threat, he said.

Cuomo said the legislature passed "critical" emergency funding $40 million to help combat the fast-spreading virus.

The governor said more cases are expected as the outbreak spreads and testing ramps up. Cuomo added that more schools may voluntarily close until they can determine if the children of the infected man may have exposed other children to the virus. 

"You cannot contain the spread. You can slow it, you can limit it, but you cannot contain the spread," Cuomo told reporters at a press conference. "It is inevitable that it will continue to spread."

This is the second confirmed case of coronavirus in the New York City area after the first case, a 39-year-old health care worker who lives in Manhattan, was announced on Sunday. 

There are two other families in Buffalo, New York, that had traveled to Italy and are currently quarantined and awaiting their test results, Cuomo said.

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that the patient has two children. Only one of them attends SAR Academy.