Mayor Bill de Blasio briefs media on first registered community transfer covid-19 patient in New York at City Hall.
Lev Radin | Pacific Press | Getty Images
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed Thursday two new cases of COVID-19 — a man and a woman with no known connection to other people recently diagnosed with the virus.
“To ensure we are able to test as many people as possible, we urgently need the CDC to increase our supply of COVID-19 test kits and expedite the approval of any testing approaches developed by private companies,” the mayor said in a tweet Thursday morning.
The two new cases increase the city’s total cases to four, according to de Blasio. New York City is also investigating at least 5 others for the virus, according to city’s website.
Earlier in the day, de Blasio told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that local health officials had found “four people as of this morning who have tested positive.”
“Of the tests we’ve completed, 25 have come back negative so far,” he said.
Representatives from New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene declined to share with CNBC what hospitals the patients are being treated in.
On Sunday, New York officials confirmed the state’s first coronavirus case, a woman who recently traveled to Iran and is currently isolated in her Manhattan home.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed Wednesday five new COVID-19 cases in the state — hours after he said that a family of four in Westchester all had the virus. The two new cases Thursday bring the state’s total to at least 13.
As of Wednesday, there are at least 129 cases of the new coronavirus in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 49 of those cases are people who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, and the Diamond Princess cruise ship. At least 24 are travel-related infections, while 16 were caused by person-to-person spread. U.S. health officials are also investigating 40 other cases with currently no clear reason for infection, the CDC said.
Earlier in the outbreak, the CDC sent out test kits to public health labs across the country. CDC officials have since said those kits were defective, and it released new guidance and kits for detecting the virus. Cities and states are now working on improving their local capacity for diagnosis so that clinicians don’t have to depend on shipping the tests to CDC labs, which can delay the process.
Earlier this week, a top CDC official said the World Health Organization will likely deem the coronavirus a global pandemic once sustained person-to-person spread takes hold outside China.
The outbreak already meets two of the three main criteria under the technical designation of a pandemic, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said in prepared remarks to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
The U.S. currently has just 1% of the required respirator masks that would be needed for medical professionals if the COVID-19 outbreak erupts into a pandemic, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. House and Senate leaders reached a bipartisan deal Wednesday providing roughly $8.3 billion in emergency funding to help fight the outbreak in the U.S. It sets aside just $1 billion for medical supplies and health-care preparedness, according to a House Democratic aide.
—CNBC’s Will Feuer contributed to this report.