ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A man from New York City’s suburbs was hospitalized in serious condition with COVID-19 on Tuesday, a case that prompted school closings and quarantines for congregants of a now-shuttered synagogue. The state’s second confirmed case also raised the possibility that the virus is spreading locally.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the 50-year-old lawyer from New Rochelle had no known travel history to countries where the outbreak of the new coronavirus has been sustained. But state and city officials said the man had done some traveling recently, including an early February trip to Miami.
“You’re going to see a continued spreading,” the governor said. “That spreading is inevitable.”
The man, who commuted by train to work at a small Manhattan law firm and has children attending a school and college in New York City, had an underlying respiratory illness that potentially put him in more danger from the disease, officials said.
The positive test prompted the closure of at least three schools, including a private school in the Bronx attended by a daughter of the man.
Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler directed Young Israel of New Rochelle temple to halt services immediately. Congregants who attended Feb. 22 services as well as a funeral and a bat mitzvah on Feb. 23 were directed to quarantine themselves at least through Sunday. County officials said they will mandate quarantines for those who do not comply.
The family was already quarantined at home.
Health officials scrambled to map out family members’ recent movements to find people with whom they may have come into prolonged contact. Officials were focusing on seven people at the law firm and looking into close contacts of the man’s children at the Bronx school and Yeshiva University.
The man’s college-age son has symptoms, while the younger daughter does not, officials said.
Yeshiva said it was remaining open but disinfecting “all relevant common areas.” The private university said in a statement that a student at its Cardozo School of Law was quarantining himself or herself — though not experiencing any symptoms — as a precaution because of contact with the ailing man’s law firm.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the patient had respiratory symptoms on-and-off for the last month, and it’s not known when he contracted the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The man became ill Feb. 22, was admitted to a hospital in suburban Bronxville on Thursday, and was transferred Monday to a New York City hospital and tested for the virus, said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, a city deputy health commissioner.
A 39-year-old health care worker who traveled to Iran became the first confirmed case of the virus in New York on Sunday. Officials said the woman has respiratory symptoms, but they are mild.
Cuomo also said two Buffalo families who traveled to northern Italy are under quarantine in their homes as they await the results of testing.
State University of New York schools plan to send home students who are studying abroad in countries with high prevalence of the virus, according to the governor’s office.
Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz contributed from New York City and Carolyn Thompson from Buffalo, N.Y.