New York Gov. Cuomo deploys National Guard to New Rochelle, establishes containment center to stem coronavirus

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New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo briefing on updates on spread of covid-19 in New York State at NYPA White Plains Office.

Lev Radin | Pacific Press | Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has deployed the state National Guard to New Rochelle, a coronavirus hot spot just north of New York City, he said Tuesday.  

“This is unique in the United States of America, we haven’t seen this anywhere else. Think about it, New Rochelle has double the cases of New York City, it’s true, it’s a phenomenon,” he told reporters at a press conference. Westchester County, where New Rochelle is located, currently has 108 COVID-19 cases out of the 173 confirmed infections across the state, according to state health department data. 

Cuomo compared the number of cases in New York to Washington state where the outbreak there has spread to at least 162 people, killing 22 mostly elderly residents, according to the Washington state health department. Across the U.S., at least 25 people have died, but none in New York so far. A man in his 60s has died from COVID-19 in Bergen County, N.J., according to a statement released by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver.

New York National Guard troops have already been dispatched to a health department command post in New Rochelle “to assist with the outbreak,” according to a slide he presented at the news briefing.

“We have moved from a containment strategy to more of a mitigation strategy,” NY state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. 

Cuomo stressed that the state isn’t restricting people from leaving the area. “You’re not containing people, it’s facilities. Somebody who lives in that containment area could be in this room today. There’s nothing you can do about that,” he said.

Cuomo said schools in New Rochelle will be closed for two weeks beginning Thursday.

“This will be a period of disruption for the local community. I understand that,” he added. 

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates. 

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that Cuomo deployed the New York National Guard, not U.S. troops, to New Rochelle.

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