Cuomo urges NYers to avoid densely packed gatherings as coronavirus cases in state climb to at least 105

Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged New Yorkers to avoid densely packed gatherings as he announced Sunday morning that confirmed coronavirus cases in the state have climbed to at least 105.

The governor says the 105 cases include 82 in Westchester; 12 in New York City; five in Nassau County; one in Suffolk County; one in Ulster County; two in Rockland County; and two in Saratoga County.

Cuomo said people who feel sick should stay home, and people should avoid densely packed areas including full train cars whenever possible. He said he has been speaking with business leaders in the state and is urging them to implement liberal sick leave policies and work-from-home options to help contain the spread of the virus.

"An infected person in a large gathering can infect many people quickly -- that's what we're seeing in Westchester, and that's why we want to avoid large gatherings, we want to avoid density," Cuomo said.

But the governor also urged calm, saying, "There's a level of fear here that is not connected to the facts. There's more fear, more anxiety than the facts would justify." He noted that most people who contract the virus recover, but said there are concerns about vulnerable populations including the elderly and those with underlying conditions.

 
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The governor said the single best way to contain the virus is by testing as much as possible, then finding and isolating positive cases. But he faulted the federal government for previously being slow in allowing states to do their own testing -- and now in allowing commercials labs to test as well.

The update on the outbreak came as Cuomo visited a testing facility on Long Island, at Northwell Health Imaging at the Center for Advanced Medicine in North New Hyde Park. The governor said the facility is one of the most sophisticated labs in the country -- but said it has not been able to use its capacity for automated testing for the virus without federal approval.

After his visit, Cuomo said later Sunday that the FDA has now approved the lab for manual testing -- but still not for automated testing, which he says would greatly expand its ability to test.

Citing testing approval slowness, Cuomo said, "We don't have the testing capacity that we need. Not everyone who wants test can have a test -- we have to prioritize the people who get tests to fit our capacity."

"CDC, wake up," the governor said. "Let the states test, let private labs test, let's increase as quickly as possible our testing capacity so we identify the positive people so we can isolate them, and we're successful in our containment."

News 12 will host a 30-minute call-in show Monday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. where experts will answer your questions about the coronavirus. The show will be followed by a special Facebook Live Q&A.

 GET INFORMATION: Coronavirus details from the CDC

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