First case of coronavirus hits New York City; Florida and Rhode Island report activity

The presence of COVID-19 in the U.S. continues to grow as New York City and the Tampa Bay area of Florida, and Pawtucket, Rhode Island, have tallied the first recognized cases in their respective states, bringing the total number of positive cases in the country to at least 76 as of Sunday night.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement Sunday evening announcing that a woman who had visited Iran has the novel coronavirus that is spreading around the globe and that she is “currently isolated in her home.” The New York Post reported that the woman, in her late 30s, lives in Manhattan, a borough of the most populous city in the United States.

“There is no cause for surprise — this was expected,” Cuomo said.

“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,” his statement read. He also urged calm, saying that “the general risk remains low in NY.”

The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, declared a public health emergency after the first two cases of COVID-19 were found. The Florida Department of Health announced that both adults, now isolated, are “presumptive positive” … one of whom is a resident of Hillsborough County and the other is from Manatee County.

DeSantis tweeted that he would be meeting Monday with the state’s top health officials to explore details of a “statewide response.”

Also on Sunday, Rhode Island officials announced the state’s first case–a presumptive positive infection in a man in his 40s who traveled to Europe and stopped in Italy in February. Italy has more than 1100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at last report. A statement released by a school in Pawtucket indicated that the person was part of a school trip to Europe.

According to an updated statement issued by Saint Raphael Academy, a private Catholic school, there is, in fact, a second presumptive-positive member of their community now. Two people on the trip to Europe that included students and faculty members have now tested positive by the state and are awaiting CDC confirmation. The school is canceling classes for the next two days.

State officials said they are reaching out to approximately 40 people who are known to have had contact with the first identified patient.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, attempted to allay fears, saying: “The risk here in Rhode Island, at this point, is low and we have been preparing for this for weeks. So the message is, ‘Be careful and be vigilant, but don’t panic.’”



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