Coronavirus is taking over the globe, and the news cycle. With one officially confirmed patient in NYC (and another just outside the city in Westchester), it’s natural to start panicking. But the city is on it.
Both NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio have said that it was always a matter of “when, not if” someone in New York would come back positive with the disease, and officials have been preparing for this outcome for weeks.
New Yorkers can call the State Department of Health’s coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 with any concerns about symptoms or travel. Plus, there is a dedicated website for more resources and updates about COVID-19.
New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said that “New Yorkers remain at low risk for contracting COVID-19. As we confront this emerging outbreak, we need to separate facts from fear, and guard against stigma and panic.”
NYC is focused on testing as many people as possible in order to contain spreading of the disease. It is now possible to do this much faster because testing kits have been provided by the CDC and federal government and tests will no longer have to be sent out for results.
They’re also moving legislation forward to get $40 million for additional medical staff and equipment, and are initiating new cleaning protocols for schools and other public spaces. A special effort is being taken to care for senior citizens and those who are debilitated, since they are the most vulnerable to be affected by the virus.
And this morning, the MTA released an updated document of precautionary measures, which includes (in their own words):
- Enhancing sanitizing procedures across NYCT (the subway system), MTA Bus, Access-A-Ride, LIRR and Metro-North by disinfecting the full fleet every 72 Hours
- Disinfecting frequently-used surfaces in stations, such as turnstiles, MetroCard and ticket vending machines, and handrails daily
- Deploying PSAs in stations and on train cars and buses to complement customer messaging across more than 5,500 digital screens
- Continue to stockpile cleaning materials and hygienic supplies
- Working around the clock with CDC, DOH, and other government agencies to monitor and respond
As far as general precautions you can take, it’s still: wash your hands/use hand sanitizer, cover your mouth when sneezing/coughing, and get to the doctor/hospital if you are starting to feel ill.
Stay safe out here!
featured image source: Shutterstock