As New York State has surpassed 10,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced measures to increase hospital capacity and acquire vital equipment such as ventilators and masks.
A total of 10,356 have now tested positive in New York. With 45,437 tests having been done in the state, 22.7 percent of those tests have been positive.
"We are taking more tests in New York than anyplace else," Cuomo said at a midday news conference in Albany on Saturday, March 21. "The more tests you take, the more positives you find. We are now doing more tests per capita than China or South Korea."
- Related story - COVID-19: 'I Believe It's Going To Be Months, But We're Going To Get Through It,' Cuomo Says
The number of cases in New York City has surged to 6,211, accounting for 60 percent of the cases statewide. (For a rundown of new cases and the areas with the most cases, see the first image above.)
"This virus spreads in density," Cuomo said. "That's what you're seeing in New York City.
"The Westchester number is slowing. We did a containment in New Rochelle and now what was our hotspot has been stabilizing and that's been good to see.
"You see Nassau increasing, Suffolk increasing That's just the widespread increase we were expecting.
"We're trying to reduce the spread and the rate of the spread to over a period of months. Over a period of months, our healthcare system can deal with the numbers."
To that end, he said four field hospitals of 250 beds each will be outfitted in the Javits Center in Manhattan.
In addition, four temporary hospitals built by the Army Corps of Engineers serving 250 patients each in a tent configuration with staff are planned for the SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Westbury and Westchester County Center.
"That will give us a regional distribution and a real capacity if we can get them up quickly enough," Cuomo said.
After he said the state "scoured the earth" for much-needed supplies, two million high-protection masks are being acquired.
"We are sending one million masks to New York City and 500,000 to Long Island on Saturday," Cuomo said.
In addition, two New York companies are converting to mask production.
The state also has secured thousands of much-needed ventilators.
"We've identified 6,000 ventilators from throughout the world and will be acquiring them over the next few weeks," Cuomo said. "We are also looking at technology that would allow one ventilator to be used to treat multiple patients."
The current hospitalization rate for the cases in New York has lowered to 15 percent as of Saturday from a high of 21 percent earlier in the week.
Cuomo also said the state will conduct immediate trials for drug therapy with hydroxychloroquine and zithromax, acquiring 10,000 doses from the FDA, for patients with severe symptoms who elect to use it.
Cuomo said President Trump has made a disaster declaration, allowing FEMA to step in and cover most, or possibly all, of its costs.
"We're working on every level," Cuomo said. "Every piston is firing. Everything that can be done is being done. New Yorkers are lucky - we have a very experienced team that's doing this. This is not their first rodeo. They've been through a number of emergencies at a number of levels."
"NY State on Pause" measures
The order mandates that 100 percent of the workforce must stay home beginning Sunday, March 22 at 8 p.m. excluding essential services.
All non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are temporarily banned.Enacting Matilda’s Law to protect New Yorkers age 70 and over and those with compromised immune systems with these requirements:
- Remain indoors
- Can go outside for solitary exercise
- Pre-screen all visitors by taking their temperature
- Wear a mask in the company of others
- Stay at least 6 feet from others
- Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary
All barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing salons, nail salons, hair removal services and related personal care services will be closed to the public effective Saturday, March 21 at 8 p.m.
New York will implement a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants.
Casinos, gyms, theaters, retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys are closed until further notice. Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure.
Testing is free for all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a healthcare provider.
Your local health department is your community contact for COVID-19 concerns.
- Earlier report: NYS On Pause: Cuomo Orders COVID-19 100 Percent Non-Essential Workplace Reduction, New Rules
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