NY to contract private labs for testing as new cases are found in Westchester

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New York will begin contracting with private labs across the state to “greatly increase” testing capacity for coronavirus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo began his news conference Wednesday saying that 200,000 people in China are being tested for coronavirus daily. In South Korea, he says 15,000 are being tested daily.

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In the U.S., Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that only 5,000 have been tested since the outbreak began.

Gov. Cuomo says he has already spoken to 28 private labs to step up testing in New York.

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“The more tests we do, the more the numbers will increase,” says Gov. Cuomo. 

The governor also announced that there are at least 13 new coronavirus cases in Westchester, bringing the statewide total to 212.

In Westchester, there are now 121 cases. That number is expected to continue to rise.

Rockland County currently has six cases.

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan confirmed that there are now two cases in Ulster County. Officials say the second patient is a senior citizen from the Town of Shawangunk who lives with his family. He tested positive at the Crystal Run Healthcare facility in the Town of Wallkill.

Officials say the man “traveled to Crystal Run to get the actual test” and did not have a “pattern of international travel.”

Ulster County officials say the man may have had contact with employees at the Wallkill Central School District. The Ulster County Health Department has recommended closing the district through the weekend to allow for cleaning and disinfecting of the facilities.

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Earlier today, it was announced that a Westchester attorney, who practices at the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, tested positive for coronavirus. The attorney was diagnosed Tuesday after experiencing flu like symptoms. The attorney was in both Westchester County Matrimonial and Family Courts on March 2, 3, 4, and 5.

The Westchester County Department of Health and all relevant parties: attorneys, judicial, uniformed, non-judicial personnel have been contacted and recommended to self-isolate and speak with their physicians.

He also announced that CUNY and SUNY students would move to a “distance learning model” beginning on March 19. He says it will help “reduce the density” of students on campus and minimize the risk of the virus spreading.

MORE: A list of area schools, universities and events closed amid COVID-19 outbreak

Students will be allowed to stay in dorms or return home for the rest of the semester.

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