NEW YORK — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that he deployed the National Guard to a New York City suburb in the hopes of containing the spread of the coronavirus.
Cuomo's announcement comes as five people in New Rochelle, New York tested positive for COVID-19 overnight. The New York City Health Department noted that the city has 24 residents who have tested positive for the illness.
Cuomo said the National Guard would set up a "containment area" for two weeks, from March 12 to March 25. Facilities and schools within the area will be closed off as cleaning and disinfecting are conducted, according to Cuomo.
"This can't be a political decision. This is a public health decision," Cuomo said.
The state will also partner with Northwell Health to deploy a satellite testing facility in New Rochelle.
Cuomo reiterated the fact that most people will recover on their own, but "the vulnerable populations should be taking precaution."
The closure impacts new Rochelle Public Schools, according to the school district's superintendent, Dr. Laura Feijoo. New Rochelle High School, Albert Leonard Middle School and Ward Elementary will reopen on March 26.
"We believe students are safest in schools and are eager to reopen as soon as possible. It is inevitable that one of our students or staff will contract the virus. What is in our control is to be ready, calm, decisive, and responsive to any and all circumstances which may arise. Our PREP Plan, which has led the State through this difficult time, does just that. As always, the CSDNR is fully committed to all of our students. We will continue to update you with prompt and accurate information," Feijoo said in a statement.
She also said that while students are home, they should not "congregate unnecessarily."
New York state now has a total of 173 cases in the state: There are 108 cases in Westchester County, 36 cases in New York City, 19 cases in Nassau County, six cases in Rockland County, two in Saratoga, one in Suffolk County and one in Ulster County, according to Cuomo.
There are over 116,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with over 4,000 deaths. Over 64,000 people infected with COVID-19 have recovered, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
This story was originally published by Kristine Garcia on WPIX in New York.