Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers to stay calm but cognizant in the face of the growing coronavirus threat.
"As of this hour, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the city of New York," de Blasio said Wednesday at City Hall. "Every single potential case that was tested came back negative, and that is a very good thing. That does not reduce our vigilance one iota. We're in a state of high vigilance, high readiness, all elements of the city government to address this crisis."
That readiness includes 1,200 available hospital beds and 1.5 million masks distributed for health care professionals.
It also includes an appeal to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"We believe that if they would empower local laboratories, we could work with them to do high-quality testing faster that would allow us to stay ahead of the situation," de Blasio said, adding: "We also call upon the CDC to add to its testing regimen for travelers. Right now it is too narrowly focused on travelers coming out of China. We think that has to be expanded to any traveler coming from a country that's seen a major surge in cases."
City officials said New York last month shared the message that federal officials gave Tuesday: It's not a matter of if, but when. And they said New Yorkers should use proven techniques for stopping the spread of germs.
"It is inevitable that we will have someone who has coronavirus," New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said. "It was also be likely that we may have a limited amount of community-, person-to-person spread. And that's why we need New Yorkers to lean in to the messages that we've been giving from Day One in terms of the importance of washing their hands frequently, covering their mouths and their nose when they cough or they sneeze, and if they've traveled to one of these countries and they're feeling symptomatic, to reach out to their provider."
De Blasio said those countries include not just China, but Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.
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