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Cuomo declares state of emergency in response to coronavirus

Office of the Governor

The number of coronavirus cases has more than doubled in New York in recent days. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced Sunday morning the number of cases in the state has increased to 105, up from 89 Saturday and a sharp increase from the 44 cases that had been reported Friday.

Westchester County continues to report the most cases with 82. There are 20 other cases downstate, primarily in New York City and Long Island. But on Saturday, Cuomo said coronavirus had spread upstate with two cases being reported in Saratoga County near Albany. There is now one reported case of COVID-19 in Ulster County. Western New York remains free of any confirmed cases.

Cuomo did declare a state of emergency Saturday to bolster the medical response to the outbreak.

"I have officially done a declaration of emergency which gives us certain powers," Cuomo said. "We're going to be doing purchasing and hiring more staff, especially to help local health departments that are very stressed."

Cuomo said testing for coronavirus is continuing.

"We are testing aggressively especially along suspected populations by following the infection tree because we want to identify people," Cuomo continued. "We want to put them in a position where they're not going to infect anybody else."

Cuomo announced Saturday the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is among the upstate labs that will conduct coronavirus testing. 

So far, no one in New York has died of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

So far, Buffalo State has yet to receive any SUNY students who were studying in Italy, Japan or South Korea. Buffalo State is one of three SUNY campuses that has been designated as a site for precautionary quarantines. A vacant dormitory -- Tower 2 -- would be used. On Saturday, Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner released a statement saying the local campus will not be hosting any students returning from Italy this weekend.

Concerns about coronavirus have led to a drop in local blood donations. ConnectLife says warnings for people to stay home have resulted in cancelled blood drives and individual appointments. The group is encouraging eligible donors to keep their appointments and that blood drive sponsors continue hosting scheduled drives. Officials say it's important that the agency has a sufficient blood supply to meet the needs of the region's hospitals.

The Catholic Health System is restricting visiting hours at its hospitals and nursing facilities because of coronavirus. Effective Monday, visiting hours will be restricted to 11am - 7pm. Exceptions will be made for vistors of Hospice patients or those receiving end-of-life care. The restrictions will be in place at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Kenmore Mercy, Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Sisters of Charity Hospital and its St. Joseph Campus.