As New York City braces for the spread of a dangerous coronavirus that originated in central China, Governor Andrew Cuomo's office on Friday said that four people in the state had been isolated and tested for the disease.
One of those individuals has tested negative for the virus by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The other three tests are still pending, according to a press release [see update below]. The governor's office did not identify the locations of the individuals, but in a press conference on Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said there are no known cases in New York City.
The outbreak, which began last month, has to date resulted in 56 deaths and nearly 2,000 cases, according to the New York Times.
As of Friday, there were two confirmed cases in the United States: one in Seattle and another in Chicago.
Mayor de Blasio spent the morning meeting with health and emergency response officials to go over the city's preparations against the outbreak as well as outreach to Asian communities.
He noted that with the largest Chinese population of any city in the world outside of Asia, New York City seems destined to see infections. "It’s not a question of if but a question of when we start to have cases of coronavirus here," de Blasio said.
He urged anybody in the city who has visited Wuhan or any of the other affected areas, been in contact with someone who has been in those places, and anyone who is experiencing symptoms to visit a doctor immediately. Symptoms include fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
[To learn about more the virus, read this explainer.]
Dr. Perry Pong, the chief medical officer of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in Chinatown, told Gothamist that his staff has not seen patients who have visited China recently.
But he said he expected that to change in the next few weeks as Chinese New Yorkers may be returning home from celebrating the Lunar New Year, which begins on Saturday.
"I don’t think they’ve come back yet," he said.
UPDATE: On Sunday, the governor's office announced that three more individuals in the state have been identified for testing. So far, the New York state Department of Health has sent seven total people for testing by the CDC. Three have come back negative and the state is awaiting four remaining test results. Those four people are being held in isolation until that time. To date, there have not been any confirmed cases of the virus in New York.