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New York Man Hospitalized With Coronavirus; Origin Unknown (2)

March 3, 2020, 3:11 PM

A 50-year-old lawyer who works in Manhattan and lives in the New York suburb of Westchester County has been hospitalized and tested positive for the coronavirus.

The New Rochelle man doesn’t have a history of foreign travel and it wasn’t immediately clear if he’d had contact with known cases in the U.S. Health authorities around the country are closely watching for coronavirus cases with unknown origins, a sign that the virus could be spreading from person to person.

The man lives in Westchester with his family. A school in the Bronx attended by one of his children has been closed as a precaution, Cuomo said.

“We are now going through possible connections,” Cuomo said. The man had recently traveled to Miami, but not to any country with an ongoing outbreak.

Confirmed cases have surpassed 100 in the U.S., including people evacuated from areas with outbreaks. New York City has at least one other confirmed case so far, a Manhattan woman in her 30s who contracted the virus while traveling in Iran. She was isolated in her Manhattan apartment as of last weekend.

Countries world-wide are trying to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people, most of them in China where the outbreak began. Governments have restricted travel, while companies have encouraged employees to work from home and canceled events.

In the U.S., federal and local health officials have said more cases are likely to be diagnosed now that states, cities and counties can do their own testing. Problems with a test developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for weeks delayed the rollout of diagnostics, which may have resulted in some patients not knowing they had the illness and infecting others, complicating efforts to contain it.

University of Chicago Medicine on Tuesday is waiting for test results to come back for a patient admitted Monday who is suspected of having coronavirus, according to an emailed statement. The hospital’s infectious-diseases and infection-prevention teams are working closely with local, Illinois state and federal health officials and “following rigorous isolation and infection control protocols to ensure the safety of our staff, patients and our neighbors,” the hospital said in the statement.

As the Seattle area contended with what could be hundreds of patients -- and six deaths so far -- the number of cases in New England ticked higher Monday. The public health department in Massachusetts reported that a woman in her 20s tested positive for Covid-19, in what would be the state’s second case if it is confirmed by the CDC. In New York state, two families are being monitored for the virus after traveling to Italy, Cuomo said, where there is an ongoing outbreak.

“They are being tested and are isolated in their homes,” Cuomo said. The state university system is contemplating bringing back students who are in study-abroad programs, Cuomo said.

The state is increasing its testing efforts and Cuomo has ordered insurers to end co-pays for those seeking testing and treatment.

The Westchester man, who commutes to Manhattan for work, has an underlying respiratory condition. People with existing illnesses or who are elderly face more risk from the virus. Most people experience only mild symptoms, not unlike a cold or flu.

Cuomo said the patient went into the Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville and was transferred to a hospital in Manhattan.

The school attended by the man’s child, SAR Academy and High School in the Bronx, is following city policies by closing, according to an announcement sent to parents and faculty.

In the Massachusetts case, the victim recently traveled to Italy with a school group and is recovering at home, the state said in a press release. The state also said it has tested 12 people since January and that as of last week 608 people have been subject to self-quarantine. Of those 377 have completed monitoring and are no longer quarantined.

(Adds details throughout)

--With assistance from Crayton Harrison, Michael McDonald and Shruti Date Singh.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Keshia Clukey in Arlington at kclukey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Crayton Harrison at tharrison5@bloomberg.net;
Drew Armstrong at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net

Stephen Merelman, Timothy Annett

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.