Gov. Cuomo Declares Emergency as NY’s Coronavirus Cases Reach 76

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses a regional summit of governors in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that New York State’s coronavirus caseload has risen to 76 from the previous day’s count of 44, prompting him to declare a state of emergency to speed up the medical response to the outbreak.

Of those cases, by far the largest concentration — 57 — is in Westchester County, north of New York City. The outbreak there has been traced to a synagogue in New Rochelle where the congregation was asked to self-quarantine earlier in the week after a person in the community was hospitalized with the disease. Since then, a growing number of friends and relatives of the patient, a 50-year-old lawyer who works in Manhattan, have tested positive.

The governor said the state’s push to do more testing should offer hope that the outbreak can be contained.

“We’re doing more tests. The more tests you can do, the better,” Cuomo said at a news conference in Albany. “That’s good news because we know who these people are and can put them in isolation.”

Cuomo said about 4,000 people across the state are in a precautionary quarantine, all but 300 in New York City and Westchester County.

Cuomo said the lesson from the suburban outbreak is how easily the virus can spread when people gather.

“You can have one large gathering — 400, 500 people in a gathering — and you can infect a number of people,” Cuomo said.