COVID-19 Strikes NY-NJ Transportation Chief
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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
The coronavirus is liable to affect anyone, even those in high positions. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that Rick Cotton, the head of the Port of New York and New Jersey, has tested positive for COVID-19, CNN reported Monday.
Cotton has been placed in quarantine at home. His senior team will also be quarantined, Cuomo told a morning news conference.
The governor expressed the possibility that Cotton came into contact with the virus while working in and around the main airports in the metropolitan area, LaGuardia, Kennedy International, Teterboro and Newark’s Liberty International.
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Among other major transportation services, the Port of Authority administers the PATH rail system, the port itself, and bridges, tunnels, commuter ferries, bus terminals and buildings, including the World Trade Center.
Stricken Official Attended Transportation Breakfast Last Week with other Industry Executives
According to the CNN report, Cotton attended a transportation breakfast last week with other members of the industry. “The attendees are talking to medical staff and will act accordingly,” Metropolitan Transit Authority CEO and Chairman Pat Foye added.
Across the Hudson River, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency on Monday. Eleven people have tested positive for coronavirus and “officials say they expect more cases,” the New York Post reported.
“We have been ahead of the curve in terms of our whole-of-government preparations and this declaration will help keep us there,” Murphy said in a video statement on his Twitter account.
According to the Post, Murphy’s executive order means that “state agencies and departments to utilize state resources to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases.”
Colleges and Universities Alter Class Schedules to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus
Both states have seen closures by some of their top colleges and universities. Among them:
- Columbia University: shifted to remote classes for the remainder of the week.
- Yeshiva University: cancelled all classes for the remainder of the week.
- Fordham University: suspended face-to-face instruction until Wednesday.
- Princeton University encouraged students to stay home after spring break and meet their academic requirements remotely; and will move all lectures, seminars and precepts to virtual instruction starting March 23.
- Barnard College: suspended classes through Tuesday at Morningside Heights and will move to remote classes through the end of the week before spring break.
- Iona College in New Rochelle cancelled all in-person and online classes as of 10 p.m. Monday and will start spring break four days early.
In addition, several primary and secondary school systems in both states have closed for several days for coronavirus preparations.
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