The COVID Crisis: New York Shutdown Extended 2 Weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo Says

New York state’s shutdown will be extended at least two more weeks, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Sunday briefing on the state’s efforts to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Cuomo’s executive order to “put New York on PAUSE” — an acronym for policies, assure, uniform, safety and everyone — has been extended to April 15, 2020, Cuomo said. All nonessential workers should stay home and all large gatherings will be banned until that date. The PAUSE order will be reevaluated every two weeks going forward, Cuomo said.

“We’re doing it in two-week intervals because every day is a new day, and we’ll see what happens day-to-day, but I think it’s not even questionable today that we’re going to need two more weeks,” Cuomo said Sunday.

More than 59,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in New York State as of Sunday, state health officials said. Of those cases, 965 people have died, up from 728 the day before. More than 8,500 people are currently in the hospital for coronavirus in the state. The vast majority of the state’s cases are located in New York City, which has reported 32,308 cases and 678 deaths.

Measures the state is taking to expand its hospital capacity will come to fruition this week, Cuomo said. The 1,000-bed makeshift hospital created at the Javits Center in Manhattan will open next week and the 1,000-bed USNS Comfort will arrive in New York City on Monday, the governor said.

Much of Cuomo’s Sunday press briefing was dedicated to discussing an effect of what the governor called a “rolling apex” of the coronavirus’ spread in New York State. The virus’ curve will peak at different times in different areas of the state. New York City will face the peak first, followed by Westchester and Long Island and then Upstate New York.

Cuomo continued to stress that public and private hospital systems around New York state will need to tear down an “invisible wall” that limits cooperation to more successfully fight the coronavirus outbreak. The Governor specifically mentioned Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, which has been overwhelmed with coronavirus cases in recent weeks, saying that other public hospitals in the city should be helping reduce the stress at the hospital by taking on patients.

In total, New York needs 140,000 hospital beds — almost triple the state’s 53,000 beds — to fight the coronavirus, Cuomo has said. The “rolling” nature of the virus’ apex should allow upstate hospitals to aid New York City during its peak, and have downstate hospitals aid upstate when its peak hits, Cuomo said.

Cuomo also addressed the travel advisory issued Saturday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from any non-essential domestic travel for the next 14 days. Cuomo said that the advisory is “not a lockdown,” and that its warning is consistent with what state health officials have already encouraged.

A measure taken by the state of Rhode Island to limit New Yorkers from entering the state by requiring people with New York license plates to be quarantined has also been repealed, Cuomo said. Cuomo said he spoke with the state’s Gov. Gina Raimondo and expressed that he believed the measure was not legal and uncalled-for. When asked about measures that Florida is taking to bar New Yorkers from entry, Cuomo said he had not heard of the efforts but would look into it.

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