Stay home rules extended in NY amid glimmer of hope

“This virus has kicked our rear end"

WBEN Newsroom
April 06, 2020 - 2:33 pm
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NEW YORK (WBEN/AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended stay-at-home restrictions through the month and increased fines on violators to up to $1,000, citing fresh evidence Monday that the outbreak-fighting rules could be helping the state avoid a worst-case catastrophe.

New York state has tallied 4,758 deaths from COVID-19, with 599 reported in the last 24 hours. It remains the most impacted state with more than 130,000 laboratory-confirmed cases and close to 17,000 people hospitalized.

But the number of new people entering hospitals daily has dropped, as have the number of critically ill patients requiring ventilators. Recent data suggests the state could be at or near the peak of the outbreak, state officials said.

Warning it was no time the relent, Cuomo said schools and nonessential businesses will remain closed until April 29. He said the maximum fine for violations of state social distancing protocol will soon be $1,000, up from $500.

“This virus has kicked our rear end. And we underestimate this virus at our own peril. We’ve learned that lesson,” Cuomo told a news briefing at the state Capitol. “Now is not the time to slack off on what we’re doing.”

Cuomo stressed that even if New York has reached the peak, numbers could persist at these levels, which would continue to stress struggling hospitals.

Here are the latest coronavirus developments in New York:

CORONAVIRUS POLL

Most New York state residents say they are either quarantining themselves or social-distancing, according to a poll released Monday.

The Siena College poll reported that 14% of New Yorkers said they were under mandatory quarantine and 42% were self-quarantining. Another 39% of the respondents said they were not quarantining, but cutting back on going out and being around others.

And 4% said they were going about life as usual.

The statewide poll was conducted March 30 to April 2. Pollsters randomly called 402 adults and drew 400 responses from a proprietary panel.

The poll also found most New Yorkers with health and financial concerns.

Just over half of New Yorkers were concerned with being able to meet their monthly financial obligations and 37% were concerned with being laid off.

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BRONX FIELD HOSPITAL

An emergency field hospital is under construction at a park in the Bronx as New York City races to add hospital beds.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed Monday that a 200-bed facility to treat COVID-19-positive patients will be set up in Van Cortlandt Park.

The 12-acre site will be up and running in about three weeks, City Councilman Andrew Cohen told the Daily News.

New York state is scrambling to roughly triple its hospital capacity as coronavirus cases surge. There is a coronavirus ward in tents in Central Park, and a makeshift hospital has been set up in a Manhattan convention center.

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CROWDED FUNERALS

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio implored the city’s Hasidic Jewish community to comply with social distancing rules after large crowds gathered for a funeral in Brooklyn over the weekend.

Video posted on social media shows officers blaring sirens as they drove up to dozens of mourners Sunday for a 78-year-old rabbi who reportedly died of COVID-19, according to the New York Post.

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“It’s just too dangerous,” the mayor said Monday at a press briefing. “We cannot tolerate at this moment in history any gatherings. We have no choice and the NYPD has no choice but to immediately break them up.”

An NYPD spokeswoman told the newspaper that mourners at two separate funerals asked for more time to grieve, and officers “wanting to be respectful because they were in mourning,” gave them about five minutes before starting to play a recording urging social distancing.

The crowds eventually tapered off. There were no arrests or citations issued in either case.

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A VIEW FROM THE ZOO

Wildlife seems to have taken notice of the scarcity of people on New York’s streets, where pigeons can be seen strolling in shuttered playgrounds. Some Bronx Zoo animals, too, appear to have registered the absence of the usual crowds, director Jim Breheny says.

Taking a break from his desk recently for a walk in the closed park, “I went by the bears, and I said something to the bears, and just hearing me,” they looked up, he said. “They look at me now like it’s novel to see somebody.”

The zoo, closed since March 16, is contending with the startling finding that one of its tigers tested positive for the coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S. or a tiger anywhere. The 4-year-old Malayan tiger, named Nadia, and six other tigers and lions have had coughs and sometimes other symptoms but are expected to recover.

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HOSPITAL GOWNS

De Blasio visited the Brooklyn Navy Yard to promote companies teaming up to make surgical gowns for supply-strapped medical workers.

De Blasio says the city’s public hospital system has enough surgical gowns for this week, but some private hospitals and other facilities like nursing homes are running low.

Crye Precision, a design and manufacturing company, is making gowns with the help of women’s wear brand Lafayette 148 and other sewing shops at the Navy Yard, the mayor said.

City officials project that more than 300,000 gowns will be produced by the end of the month by factories across the city.

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