NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The concern over large gatherings comes as the COVID-19 outbreak in the Tri-State area took a deadly turn this weekend.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday a third coronavirus-related death in New York State within the past week, a 79-year-old woman who was admitted to a hospital in New York City.
Cuomo said the state has tested 5,272 people, finding positive results for COVID-19 infection in 729 cases. Of those, 137 resulted in hospitalizations.
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During his update, the governor called on federal assistance to speed up labs from manual to automated testing — processing thousands of samples a day instead of 60 — and to use the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help convert existing facilities into possible medical centers to deal with the sick.
“You will not be able to flatten the curve to avoid the wave, you will be short thousands of ICU beds, thousands of ventilators,” said Cuomo. “The only way to prevent that today, given the time constraint, is to deploy the Army Corps of Engineers and use that capacity to retrofit existing facilities to free up hospital beds.
“A decision is easy when you have no options, and here this nation has no option,” he added.
Cuomo reacted Saturday to the first two coronavirus-related deaths in New York, that of a 64-year-old Rockland County man with underlying health problems and an 82-year-old New York City woman who had previously been hospitalized with emphysema.
The woman died Friday night at Wyckoff Medical Center in Brooklyn after first checking in to the hospital on March 3.
“We are very, very saddened, all of us, to hear of the first New Yorker to die related to coronavirus, this is a very painful moment,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
To date, more than 600 New Yorkers have officially been diagnosed with coronavirus, the most cases of any state in the country.
Newest confirmations include New York State assemblyman Charles Barron and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein of Brooklyn. Gov. Cuomo said both have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
It has come to my attention that two of our Assembly colleagues – Helene Weinstein and Charles Barron – have been diagnosed with COVID-19. It is important to note that both members have not been in Albany since early March for separate reasons.
— Carl E. Heastie (@CarlHeastie) March 15, 2020
A second member of the FDNY tested positive on Saturday. The FDNY tweeted: “This Firefighter was not exposed to COVID-19 through patient contact, and contracted the illness off-duty through community exposure.”
FDNY statement regarding second FDNY member who has tested positive for COVID-19: pic.twitter.com/La1XHTeh3F
— FDNY (@FDNY) March 14, 2020
Currently, 99 FDNY members are self-quarantined.
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Meanwhile, the New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot is asking everyone to take precautions.
“It’s incumbent on all New Yorkers to change our behavior so that when we say don’t go to work when you’re sick, don’t send your kids to school if they’re sick,” Barbot said. “It has implications beyond the individual.”
RESTAURANTS ABOUT TO GET HIT HARD
In another effort to control the spread of the virus, Mayor de Blasio said how city restaurants do business is going to have to change immediately.
Citing how the virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions in restaurants, bars and places where people gather, the mayor is set to sign an executive order Monday that will limit restaurants, bars and cafes to food take-out and delivery.
“Nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses, and concert venues must all close,” de Blasio said.
The order will go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m.
“This is not a decision I make lightly. These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality,” de Blasio said.
“We will come through this, but until we do, we must make whatever sacrifices necessary to help our fellow New Yorkers,” he added.
The New York City Hospitality Alliance said while it understands the need to do what the mayor will impose, the industry will need some kind of relief.
“In the coming days, if New York City’s restaurants will be forced to go deliver-only and risk their very existence to help stem the spread of this pandemic, then third-party delivery platforms must reciprocate and immediately waive or cap fees at 10%, or many of these restaurants will close for good before the week is through,” NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie said.