The Westchester County lawyer who was New York state’s second reported case of the new coronavirus has improved and been released from the hospital, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday.
Lawrence Garbuz, a partner at the small Manhattan trust and estates law firm of Lewis & Garbuz who lives in New Rochelle, was hospitalized Feb. 27 and was said by authorities in early March to be in critical condition. But the governor said at a press conference that Garbuz had been released.
“Patient zero in Westchester, New Rochelle, who was very sick for a very long time—he has actually gone home,” Cuomo said Sunday. The governor didn’t identify Garbuz by name, but a spokesman confirmed that he was referring to the same 50-year-old Westchester lawyer who has since been identified as Garbuz.
Health authorities have estimated that Garbuz was in direct contact with as many as 1,000 people in the course of a single day before his diagnosis, according to a Wall Street Journal report on the Westchester COVID-19 cluster.
While Garbuz may have gone home, the situation in New York is expected to get worse before it gets better. Hospitals and emergency medical workers are under increasing strain and short of protective equipment. The number of 911 calls for several days last week was reportedly the highest since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Cuomo said Monday that the caseload is currently doubling every six days.
New York has 66,497 confirmed cases and 1,218 deaths, the governor added, 253 deaths more than Sunday. “That’s a lot of loss, that’s a lot of pain, that’s a lot of tears, that’s a lot of grief,” he said, urging New Yorkers to stay home and health care workers from across the country to help relieve others in New York.
Adina Lewis, Garbuz’s wife and law partner, has posted updates on Facebook about his status. On March 6, she wrote that the only manifestation of COVID-19 in other family members had been “a slight cough,” and said Lewis & Garbuz had transitioned to remote work, with everyone at the firm quarantining themselves.
“He is a tenacious person in all aspects of his life and I know he will come out of this strong,” Lewis wrote of her husband.
On March 18, she wrote, “Lawrence is awake and alert and seems to be on the road to full recovery.” Neither Lewis nor Garbuz could be reached for comment on Monday.