Two Buffalo families that traveled to Italy being tested for coronavirus

Mar 3, 2020

Two Buffalo families that recently traveled to Italy are being tested for coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday morning.

"We also have two families in Buffalo who traveled to Italy and the part of Italy that has had an outbreak. Those two families are now being tested and they are isolated in their homes," Cuomo said at a news conference in Albany.

The Erie County Department of Health confirmed that individuals in Erie County are being tested for the novel coronavirus.

"These individuals have a recent travel history to a high-risk region in Northern Italy where there is widespread community transmission of this new coronavirus," said a statement issued late Tuesday morning.

The health department says testing samples are being delivered to an Albany laboratory today.

Cuomo announced a second person has tested positive for COVID-19 in New York. A 50-year-old man from Westchester County has been hospitalized. The governor said the man, who works in Manhattan, did not travel to anywhere on the coronavirus watch list. On Monday, it was announced that a 39-year-old healthcare worker has the virus and is being isolated in her home.

The governor has signed a $40 million emergency management authorization for the state's response to the coronavirus. The appropriation will allow the state to hire additional staff and procure equipment and other resources to respond to the situation.

"You cannot contain the spread. You slow it. You can limit it. But you can't contain it," Cuomo said. "You're going to see a spread."

The governor said 80% of people who get virus will self-resolve and 20% could become ill. He said the lethality rate of the virus is 1.4%, double the normal flu rate.

Cuomo said he will amend his Paid Sick Leave budget proposal to specifically protect people in isolation or quarantine for coronavirus from being terminated and to protect their pay.

He also said a decision from the State University of New York system will be made sometime today regarding whether students studying abroad should come home.