NEW YORK -- The wife of the 50-year-old New Rochelle lawyer connected to a cluster of coronavirus cases spoke out Sunday.
Adina Garbuz, who was also infected -- along with her two children and neighbor, as well as one of her husband's friends and members of that man's family -- released a statement on their family's situation:
I am speaking to you wearing two hats- as wife of Lawrence Garbuz and as partner of our law firm, Lewis and Garbuz, P.C. We would have preferred this all remain private but since it is no longer, I wanted to at least share some truths and allay people's fears. Other than Lawrence no one else in my family has been sick other than a slight cough.
When I was first informed of the positive result, I and my entire family immediately provided any and all information to several Departments of Health well into the wee hours of the night in hopes of letting this all be contained as quickly as possible for all of us. We all together pray and hope for the safety and good health of everyone. My family has continued to provide all information requested to best assist in curtailing this epidemic.
As for my husband, while he still remains critical, I and my family remain very hopeful of his full recovery. He is a tenacious person in all aspects of his life and I know he will come out of this strong. He is a very caring hardworking person who constantly cares for his clients and those around him over himself. I think it is from this that he was run down and susceptible to the illness he acquired. So, I ask all of us who are running on the hamster wheel of life, particularly us New Yorkers, to learn from this and take a moment to take care of yourself. We should use this an opportunity to re-calibrate and de-stress. Nothing can be more important than our health.
From a young child, all Lawrence has ever wanted to be was a lawyer that worked hands on helping people. He is a brilliant attorney who is particularly sensitive to his clients but whose expertise is coming up with creative solutions to trusts and estates issues such as planning for those with disabilities, family disputes, tax issues and the like. He is admired by many judges for the same reason. He is a mentor to many in his field and spends much of his day answering colleagues' questions. Yet, he is a very humble person who never touts his many successes in his professional world. You would never hear this from him. I only share this now as so much is being said about him already.
As for our law firm, Lewis and Garbuz, as soon as I was made aware of the diagnosis, I personally immediately contacted everyone in our firm and all were quarantined. All have been working remotely ever since. No one is commuting into the Manhattan office and no one will be until we have clearance to do so.
I would also like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of you for the outpouring of love from literally around the world and in particular members of my community who in their own way, many but not all of whom are under quarantine, are living this surreal life with us. We have wonderful friends who have cared for us despite the running fears all around us. They know who they are and we are ever grateful to them. It is my understanding that community members have been respectfully complying with health department orders to stay in. Special arrangements are being made for virtual religious services so those can remain at home as mandated.
I want to thank those who helped us get the best care possible by working their channels to get Lawrence moved to Columbia ICU where the medical care and personal sensitivity has been exemplary.
Lastly, when I first heard that Lawrence was positive, I immediately recognized there was going to be pandemonium all around us. Other than offering what I could to stop this from spreading further, all I and my family care about is that my husband/ their father get better. We shuttered the windows, turned off the internet and together stayed strong and in good spirits. I am incredibly blessed that my children while still relatively young have the wisdom to know to keep their heads clear and focus only on the important, the health of their dad and those around us.
Thank you all for your positive thoughts and prayers- I believe it is what will get us all through this trying time. I beg you all to stay calm and keep out of the hoopla. Be smart with good hygiene and know this too will pass.
Good wishes and positive thoughts for us all!
The Westchester outbreak has been traced to a synagogue in New Rochelle where the congregation was asked to self-quarantine after the man in the community was hospitalized with the illness and is in critical condition.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the disease appeared to have been passed from the lawyer to his family and other people close to them in New Rochelle, a suburb north of New York City.
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New Yorkers can call the State hotline at 1-888-364-3065, where experts from the Department of Health can answer questions regarding the novel coronavirus.