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New York joins 4 other states in declaring state of emergency amid coronavirus outbreak

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency amid the coronavirus outbreak. At least 90 people have been diagnosed in New York State as of Saturday night, with the majority of cases based in Westchester County, 

As of Saturday afternoon, New York joined four other states in the U.S. in declaring a state of emergency to help combat the spread of the virus.

There have been more than 102,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 78 countries, according to Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering. In the U.S., there have been 17 deaths due to COVID-19, including 14 in Washington state, one in California, and two in Florida.

In a press statement, the governor said the state of emergency will give the "certain powers to help local health departments that are very stressed."

"As the local health departments continue to monitor and quarantine people, we have a more expedited purchasing protocol to get them all the tools they need to contain the virus spread," he said. "In the meantime, we are cracking down on price gouging which continues to be a problem, and I want businesses to be aware that you could lose your license because we are very serious about this."

The declaration will allow the state to expedite procurement of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and other resources; allow qualified professionals aside from doctors and nurses to test individuals for coronavirus; expedite additional testing supplies, equipment, personnel, and lab space; permit EMS to transport patients to quarantines other than hospitals; and set guidelines for price gouging and enforcement investigation.

Additionally, New York consumers can now submit complaints and concerns about price gouging.

Here are the other states that have declared a state of emergency.

California

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California on March 4, a day after the state reported its first death from coronavirus. As of March 6, there are 69 confirmed cases and one death in California from COVID-19, according to the California Department of Public Health. The state reported that 24 of those cases are from repatriation flights and the remaining 45 cases are a result of travel, person-to-person exposure, community spread, and two cases from unknown sources. 

"The State of California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus," said Newsom in a press statement. "This emergency proclamation will help the state further prepare our communities and our health care system in the event it spreads more broadly."

The declaration includes protections against price gouging, will allow out-of-state health care workers to assist in California health care facilities, and will enable health care facilities to accommodate incoming patients.

Florida

Florida was put under a state of emergency on March 1 at the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis. As of Saturday, there are 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, including seven that were repatriated, according to the Florida Department of Health. The state has two reported deaths due to coronavirus, and there are currently 278 people being monitored. 

"The State of Florida is fully committed to leveraging all resources to prepare for and respond to COVID-19," DeSantis said in a press statement. "Our state agencies and personnel have been monitoring COVID-19 since January and are focused on containment and prevention." 

The declaration enabled Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to help manage the state's response throughout the outbreak, and provided quarantine and case monitoring guidelines. DeSantis has also requested additional state and federal funding to help with the outbreak response.  

Maryland

On the same day that Maryland announced its first confirmed cases of coronavirus, Governor Larry Hogan announced a state of emergency to help combat further spread. As of March 7, there are three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the state's Department of Health, and there are 44 patients being tested. The confirmed patients contracted the virus while traveling and have been quarantined to their homes, but are "in good condition," according to the governor. 

"With this declaration, I am officially authorizing and directing the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to ramp up coordination among all state and local agencies and enable them to fast-track coordination with our state and local health departments and emergency management teams," Hogan announced March 5. 

Hogan's administration has also introduced legislation that would allow the governor to use resources from the state's rainy day fund to help with coronavirus response. 

Washington

The state of Washington was the first in the U.S. to declare a state of emergency. On February 29, the same day the state — and country's — first coronavirus death was reported, Governor Jay Inslee announced a state of emergency and directed state agencies to "use all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to the outbreak." As of Saturday, there are 102 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 16 deaths due to the virus, according to the state's Department of Health.

"This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state," he said in a press statement. "Washingtonians can be assured we've taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our health care partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a world-wide pandemic."

Under Inslee's directive, states agencies and departments can use resources to "do everything reasonably possible" in assisting affected areas. It also allows the state to use the Washington National Guard if it becomes necessary. The Washington military department's State Emergency Operations Center has been activated at the highest level since January to help with the response.

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