Coronavirus: New York school closed over virus fears as second case confirmed in state

SAR Academy closed its doors on Tuesday 

Danielle Zoellner
New York
@dani__zoellner
Tuesday 03 March 2020 15:37
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Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed a second case of the coronavirus in New York state on Tuesday, prompting two schools to close for the day
Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed a second case of the coronavirus in New York state on Tuesday, prompting two schools to close for the day

A New York City school is closed today because of a suspected case of coronavirus detected in the community.

SAR Academy, which is a Jewish school located in the Riverdale area of the Bronx, released a statement about closing for the day to follow New York City Department of Health guidelines.

The school said the closure was a precautionary measure and it was "important to remain calm".

Another Jewish school outside of New York City, Westchester Day School, announced it would be closed on Tuesday due to the closing of SAR Academy.

Both closures came as a Westchester man was confirmed as the second case in New York state to have the coronavirus. It is believed one of the man's children attends SAR Academy and is why the school was closed, the New York Post reports.

Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed the case when speaking on LI News Radio, a Long Island radio station, on Tuesday, adding the 50-year-old man has been hospitalised with an "underlying respiratory disease".

"The initial review of his travel doesn't suggest any direct connection to China or any of the countries on the watch list," he said. But the man recently travelled back from Miami, Florida, not while he was contagious, the governor said.

Also closed on Tuesday was Westchester Torah Academy in White Plains, New York, according to Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The closure is in response to the two confirmed cases in New York and brings the total number of closed schools up to three.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement the proper agencies were working to investigate who else the man came in contact with to stop the spread of the virus.

“City and State disease detectives are working closely to identify close contacts and the appropriate next steps. The test was conducted by the New York City Public Health Laboratory on our first day of testing,' Mr de Blasio said.

"With the results confirmed within a number of hours, we were immediately able to take next steps to stop the spread of this virus," he added. "We have said from the beginning that it is likely we will see more positive cases of the Coronavirus. We are working closely with our State and Federal partners to ensure we are taking the highest precautions to keep New Yorkers safe."

On Monday night, Mr Cuomo signed a bill giving the Health Department $40m in funding to handle coronavirus preparations.

"We are going to see a continued spreading and that spreading is inevitable," the governor said. "I said you'll start to see community spread cases that you can't track back to one place or one visit."

He added: "This is New York. We deal with things like this and we're stronger for it."

The first known case of the coronavirus in New York state was confirmed on Monday. A woman living in Manhattan who recently travelled to Iran is currently isolated in her apartment with the virus.

As of Monday, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 91 cases of the coronavirus in the US with a total of six deaths.

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