National Guard deployed to quarantined New Rochelle, NY

Members of the National Guard remain deployed in New Rochelle, NY, as cases of COVID-19 continue to grow. 

The National Guard was activated by President Trump in New York, California and Washington on Sunday but has been active in New Rochelle since March 11. 

As of Monday evening, New York has 20,875 confirmed cases. Westchester County, where New Rochelle is located, has 2,894 cases, the third-highest state total behind New York City and Nassau County. 

Officials attribute the in-state spread to a New Rochelle resident working as a lawyer in Manhattan. The resident was hospitalized on Feb. 22 and confirmed to have COVID-19 on March 3. 

New York Governor Mario Cuomo announced a one-mile containment area around  the resident’s synagogue and deployed the National Guard. 

The role of the National Guard has been to deliver food to quarantined families and meals to children who qualify for free lunch, cleaning and sanitizing public facilities, and setting up testing areas. 

“We had to drive through (the area of containment)for groceries, and every few blocks there’s a cop just sitting in his car, probably to break up any groups of people,” Billy Blancato, a sophomore finance major who lives in New Rochelle, said. 

Niall Ryan, a New Rochelle resident who will be attending Wake Forest University in the fall, said the news coverage of the Area of Containment can be misleading. 

“The pictures of ‘life in the quarantine zone’ circling on social media are actually of the testing facility, which is on the outskirts of town,” Ryan explained.   

Kate Ryan, a senior at The Ursuline School located within the Area of Containment, was unsurprised by the imposed restrictions. “The synagogue (the resident who tested postive for COVID-19) belongs to is literally a block away from my school… The week before we closed, our teachers had stopped speaking hypothetically so we were all prepared.” She added that despite the highly publicized nature of the deployment, the National Guard is not readily present. “My friends and I went hunting for (the National Guard) two days later but everything seemed to be business as usual,” Katie said. 

“There really haven’t been any big changes,” Blancato said.