As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, there has been a centralized outbreak of particular concern in the small suburban city of New Rochelle, New York, just north of New York City, where dozens of cases have been confirmed.
In response to the New Rochelle coronavirus outbreak, the state’s Democrat governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced on Tuesday that a concentric “containment zone” has been established around the city to try and limit further spread of the illness and that the effort will include assistance provided by New York National Guard units, The Hill reported.
“Containment zone” established
Of the 173 cases of coronavirus confirmed in New York state as of Tuesday, at least 108 are centered in Westchester County, which is located just north of New York City and is home to the small enclave of New Rochelle. By comparison, as of that same day, there were only 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NYC proper.
“New Rochelle is a particular problem,” Cuomo said at a news conference on Tuesday. “It is what they call a ‘cluster’ — the numbers have been going up, the numbers continue to go up, the numbers are going up unabated, and we do need a special public health strategy for New Rochelle.”
The governor went on to explain how the concentric circle drawn around the city was intended to, hopefully, limit any further communal spread of the illness to that particular geographical location.
BREAKING: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces containment zone around New Rochelle, lasting until 3/25; National Guard to be deployed to assist in food delivery, cleaning.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 10, 2020
National Guard mobilized
“This is the single greatest public health challenge we have in the state right now,” Cuomo said of the outbreak in New Rochelle and the “special strategy” that was being implemented to try and deal with it.
The governor explained that a newly approved satellite testing facility would be set up within the containment zone to help identify and keep tabs on coronavirus cases there.
“We’re also going to use the National Guard in the containment area, to deliver food to homes, to help with the cleaning of public spaces,” Cuomo said.
He went on to explain the potential for the virus to live on hard surfaces like metals and plastics for at least two days and described how National Guard troops would assist in the effort to clean all potentially contaminated surfaces in public areas throughout the city.
New Rochelle lockdown
Admittedly, hearing that the National Guard will be deployed in conjunction with the lockdown and quarantine of an entire city is a bit worrisome and brings to mind images of soldiers and armored vehicles forming a perimeter to forcibly keep people from traveling in and out of the city. Martial law, in other words.
However, that doesn’t appear to be the case in this instance, at least not yet, as the soldiers will instead provide logistical assistance to the city in terms of delivering food and supplies to individuals quarantined in homes and aiding in the massive effort to disinfect the city’s public spaces.
Rest assured, though, that many will keeping a close eye on developments out of New Rochelle.