Virus cases top 20,000
NEW YORK (AP and Staff Reports)--New Yorkers on Monday experienced their first full day of restrictions intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases in the state continued to surge.
However, as of March 23 at 3:15 p.m., 19 people were tested in Yates County and zero have tested positive. There are 17 who have tested negative, two individuals awaiting results and seven are currently in quarantine and being monitored by public health officials.
Schuyler County also has zero residents who have tested positive, Monday afternoon. 41 tests have been administered, 31 have been deemed negative and 11 people are under quarantine.
All of the state's "nonessential" businesses were closed under an order that also banned nonessential gatherings of individuals. New Yorkers may still go outside their homes to pick up groceries or exercise, but must stay 6 feet away from anyone who isn't a member of their household.
Here are the latest updates about the coronavirus in New York:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised 1,000 beds were coming soon to a vast Manhattan convention center that's being made into a temporary medical center as officials raced to prepare for an overwhelming number of coronavirus patients.
"This is going to get much worse before it gets better. We are still in the relative calm before the storm," Cuomo said during a stop at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. "You're going to see the number of infections, the number of cases, increase dramatically. You are going to see an overcapacity of our health system."
The number of people who have tested positive for the virus in New York state surged to more than 20,000, with more than half the cases in New York City.
Construction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency temporary hospital at the convention center will start this week and hopefully be done within 10 days, Cuomo said.
Capacity at the convention center could eventually be expanded to 2,000 patients, he said.
The true number of New Yorkers with the virus is unknown. Even though the state is now testing 16,000 people a day, many more ill people are being told by their doctors not to seek either a test or treatment, but to ride it out at home if their symptoms are not severe.
Urging sick people to quarantine themselves, rather than go to the hospital, is intended to relieve pressure on the overtaxed health system.
Cuomo has ordered existing hospitals to increase their capacity by at least 50 percent.
The scramble to add beds is part of a larger effort to line up adequate supplies of ventilators, masks and other medical equipment.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he spoke with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence about the city's urgent need for medical supplies to curb the spread of the coronavirus. De Blasio told a news conference that 400 ventilators now arriving from the federal stockpile will help, but that thousands more of the breathing machines are needed.
There have been at least 157 deaths in New York state. Around 2,500 people have been hospitalized.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough, and the vast majority recover. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Cuomo said state health officials are testing an experimental treatment on patients seriously ill with the virus. The treatment involves taking plasma from someone who has been infected, processing it and injecting the antibodies into a sick person to stimulate their immune system.
"It's a trial for people who are in serious condition," Cuomo said.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the trial, which will begin this week on a "compassionate care basis," the governor said.
Also, the state on Tuesday will begin to conduct trials of an experimental treatment with the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic Zithromax, a treatment touted by President Donald Trump.
People who were in close contact with someone who died of COVID-19 should not attend their funeral services because of the risk they could infect others, according to guidance from New York's health agency.
Robert Bumsted, Michael Hill, Associated Press writer Marina Villeneuve contributed from Albany and AP writer Jennifer Peltz contributed from New York.