Long Island officials step up response to coronavirus outbreak

Officials on Long Island are taking more steps to respond to the growing coronavirus outbreak.

Nassau County government and health officials declared an imminent threat to public health on Thursday morning after the number of novel coronavirus cases in the county climbed to at least 40.

"We're now clearly seeing with this virus seniors and certain underlying health conditions place people at high risk," Nassau Health Commissioner Lawrence Eisenstein said. "And so we don't want these people to going to large gatherings."

The message: take a break from hugging and handshaking. Officials announced that many assisted- and senior-living facilities are temporarily limiting or in some cases eliminating visitors. 

"Under current regulations, an adult-care facility must restrict or prohibit visitors to the facility where the operator has reasonable cause to believe such visitors could impact the safety of those living there," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. 

Some doctors' offices are even posting signs outside notifying patients if they're experiencing coronavirus symptoms such as fever, coughing, or shortness of breath to call before even going inside to avoid taking a risk.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone declared a state of emergency to hopefully get more access to funding after eight new positive cases were confirmed doubling the county's total.

"Governments are doing what you're supposed to do in a situation like this," Bellone said. 

New York State issued an emergency order directing state-regulated health insurers to waive any copays or deductibles for patients who need tests for the coronavirus.