As the number of confirmed new coronavirus cases increased Tuesday, Governor Cuomo pointed to New Rochelle in Westchester County as one of the largest and most significant clusters in the United States.
As a result, New York State is imposing a containment zone within a mile of the city at the epicenter of the outbreak, which is just north of the Bronx.
“We are also going to use the National Guard in the containment area to deliver food to homes, to help with the cleaning of public spaces,” Cuomo said at the news conference Tuesday.
The containment area will not restrict movement in and out, but schools within the zone will be shuttered for two weeks, beginning on Thursday. Those schools and other areas where people congregate, like houses of worship, will undergo a thorough cleaning before reopening later this month. Local elected officials say they got no notice about the planned closures.
“I was not briefed on the details at all,” said Westchester Assemblywoman Amy Paulin. “We had just what everyone else here heard, which was, yesterday, the governor announced that they were going to close New Rochelle schools, which was new to those of us who represent New Rochelle.”
While fears about the coronavirus seem to have put all other issues on the back burner in Albany, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie stomped out rumors that state officials may suspend the legislative session or pass an early budget and go home.
“We are government and we feel we should be the most responsible people in the state and to provide leadership, so we are going to do our jobs. There has been no discussion with the governor about a rushed budget, ending session. Nothing like that,” Heastie said.
Getting enough testing done has also been a big challenge for the state. Late Monday, the CDC approved testing at Northwell Labs located in the five boroughs and on Long Island. That should allow the state to jump from 80 tests a day to a 1,000.