Close to 1,000 people in Westchester County, New York, who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are self-quarantining or being quarantined to combat the spread of the disease.
Health department officials are monitoring the people involved to ensure they are observing the 14-day quarantine.
Earlier this week, news broke that 50-year-old attorney from New Rochelle, who works near Grand Central Station, was recently hospitalized with the potentially deadly virus.
The infected man's son, a student at Yeshiva University, also tested positive for the disease, along with two other family members and a neighbor, bringing the total COVID-19 cases in New York State to six — all of which are in the NYC area.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday morning in a news briefing with Westchester County officials that the New Rochelle attorney is in stable condition and improving.
Gov. Cuomo emphasized at the news conference that the particular challenge of the COVID-19 virus is that unknown incubation period.
He likened symptoms of the disease to a "flu on steroids."
The New Rochelle man is so far the only New Yorker to be hospitalized with the disease. The man was at particular risk, the governor said, because of an underlying respiratory disease.
State officials have traced the movements of the man and his family members over the past several days and asked people who came in contact with the family to self-quarantine.
The attorney's colleagues at his midtown law firm are being tested for the virus; several tests are still pending, though none so far have come back positive for the coronavirus.
Employees at Lawrence Hospital, where the man was first transported, are being tested, as well as his neighbor's family.
The Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy, where the man's 14-year-old daughter is a student has been closed until at least next Tuesday, March 10.
Cuomo urged anyone who came in contact with the student to self-quarantine, at least through Friday, March 6.
The Temple Young Israel in New Rochelle has been asked to halt services "for the foreseeable future." Members of the temple who came in contact with the attorney's family last weekend at a funeral Saturday and a bat mitzvah Sunday are being ordered to self-quarantine.
Yeshiva University will be closed through Friday. The university is conducting its own investigation and will coordinate with state officials going forward.
"We feel comfortable that this is an intelligent plan going forward," he said. "It tried to minimize the imposition on people while protecting public health. I think that is an intelligent resolution and we will re-visit it as we get more information."
Westchester residents seeking general information about COVID-19 can call 2-1-1 with questions.
A hotline for those under self-quarantine can be reached at 866-588-0195.
Photo: Getty Images