ALBANY, NY — On March 2, at least 93 cases of COVID-19 were detected in the U.S., including two in New York State. On that same day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a briefing that the state would begin using a new test for the virus developed by the Wadsworth Center, a research-intensive public health laboratory housed within the New York State Department of Health (DOH). The center is partnering with hospitals to expand testing capacity to up to 1,000 tests per day statewide. The center will provide guidance to hospitals on how to replicate and validate the test.
The use of the test to detect the novel coronavirus was approved by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on February 29. It is the first non-CDC test to be approved.
The governor also announced new cleaning protocols for schools and public transportation systems.
Last week, the Cuomo administration announced it is requesting a $40 million appropriation for the DOH to hire additional staff, procure equipment and any other resources necessary to respond to the potential novel coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo will also propose legislation to allow him the authority to take certain statewide actions in response to the outbreak. DOH is also convening local health departments and hospitals statewide to review protocols, best practices and procedures to help ensure they are prepared to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Although as of this writing there have been no cases detected in Sullivan County, the county has activated its Incident Command System (ICS) procedures for the COVID-19 concerns as it did with the measles outbreak last summer. ICS provides for coordination of resources and personnel in an emergency.