NEW YORK - The Big Apple now has more than four dozen confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday there are now 53 confirmed cases in New York City. That includes 52 city residents and a Westchester man who remains hospitalized in Manhattan.
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The statewide total stands at 216, with most patients concentrated to the Westchester city of New Rochelle, which is just north of the Bronx.
Thirty-two patients, or about 15 percent of people who have tested positive, were hospitalized statewide as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo says the state will start contracting with private labs to conduct coronavirus tests, saying not enough are being offered by the federal government.
The mayor told New Yorkers that while the government is looking out for them, everyone needs to do their part to stop the spread of the virus.
"The government cannot solve this alone. It has to be in every family, on every block, in every workplace. Everyone has to participate from those basic things, washing your hands, hand sanitizer, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze onto the kinds of decisions we make in our life, starting with being very sensitive to the vulnerable people," de Blasio said.
A reminder that the city is sending out coronavirus updates through a text alert system. You can sign up by texting "COVID" to 692692.
EUROPE TRAVEL BAN
President Donald Trump said Wednesday night he was suspending all travel to the United States from Europe for 30 days, beginning Friday at midnight, as he seeks to combat the pandemic.
Trump said the restrictions won't apply to the United Kingdom, and the U.S. would monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier. The restrictions also do not apply to legal permanent residents and "generally" immediate family members of U.S. citizens, according to the federal government.
In guidance, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the travel ban will suspend entry of most foreign nationals who have been to "certain European countries" during the past 14 days.
ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE POSTPONED
Cuomo and St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers announced Wednesday night that the parade will not step off on Tuesday in Manhattan.
"Today I had several conversations with the organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade to determine whether the parade should move forward in light of the evolving coronavirus situation and increased case count in the New York City area," Cuomo said in a statement. "Following those conversations, I recommended and the parade's leadership agreed to postpone this year's parade due to the high density and the large volume of marchers and spectators who attend."
It is not clear when the parade will be rescheduled.
NBA SEASON SUSPENDED
Also Wednesday evening, the NBA announced it suspended its season "until further notice" after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus, a move that came only hours after the majority of the league's owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.
The Jazz last played the New York Knicks just seven days ago at Madison Square Garden. There was no confirmation as of this writing if the Knicks players will need to be tested.
The Brooklyn Nets last played the Jazz on January 14, in Brooklyn.
NEW ROCHELLE HOT SPOT
The state has identified the center of coronavirus activity in New Rochelle and will close schools and facilitates within a one-mile radius of the area for two weeks. The containment area will not restrict movement in and out.
"This is the single greatest public health challenge we have in the state right now," Cuomo said Tuesday while addressing the "cluster of cases" in Westchester during a briefing in Albany.
BROADWAY USHER TESTS POSITIVE
A Broadway usher is among the latest people to test positive for the new coronavirus, according to the Shubert and Nederlander organizations. The organizations released a joint statement, in which they said the usher worked on March 3 through March 7 at the Shubert's Booth Theater. Prior to that, the usher worked at the Nederlander's Brooks Atkinson Theater on the evening of February 25 and the matinee of March 1.
The organizations say the part-time employee is currently under quarantine.
They say productions of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" at the Booth Theater and "SIX" at the Brooks Atkinson Theater will go on as scheduled on Wednesday, and that anyone who wants to exchange tickets for another performance can do so "at the point of purchase."
MTA CLEANING EFFORTS
The MTA says it ramping up its cleaning efforts to fight the coronavirus.
Starting Wednesday, transit workers will clean and disinfect stations twice a day, instead of just at night.
But the MTA still plans to clean each train car every 72 hours.
Speaking on "Inside City Hall" Tuesday night, interim New York City Transit president Sarah Feinberg reminded commuters to stay away from mass transit if they can.
"If you can telecommute, fantastic. If you can walk to work, great. Now is a great time to do that, but most people can't, most people depend on the subways and buses. We are here to provide safe and efficient transportation for them. Certainly if you can avoid big crowds, now is the time to do that. The medical experts have said that is the right thing to do, but a lot of people can't so we're going to be here to transport them," Feinberg said.
Feinberg said New York City Transit will continue the extensive cleaning as long as the virus remains a threat. Feinberg added that budgeting and overtime would be a challenge but the priority is to keep New Yorkers safe.
EVENTS CANCELLED, IN-PERSON CLASSES CANCELED
The coronavirus concerns forced City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to postpone his State of the City address that had been scheduled for Thursday.
In a statement, Johnson said, "I was looking forward to the speech but it seemed like an unnecessary risk. We will still announce the policies and proposals we had planned for the State of the City on Thursday."
No new date has been set for Johnson's address.
Several events around the city have been canceled or postponed over coronavirus concerns.
The New York International Auto Show has been pushed back from early April to late summer. The event at the Javits Center will now run from August 28 to September 6.
The New York City Half Marathon has also been cancelled. The race was supposed to take place on Sunday. Registered runners will have the option of a full refund of their entry fee, or guaranteed entry to next year's half marathon.
One event that is moving forward as scheduled is the Big East Tournament, which started Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Big East Conference is encouraging anyone attending the games to closely follow CDC and Health Department recommendations related to coronavirus.
Cuomo announced Wednesday afternoon that all SUNY and CUNY schools will switch to "remote learning" starting March 19.
John Jay College closed their doors Wednesday after a student tested positive for the coronavirus.
The president of the college sent out a letter saying the student is at home recovering. They were on campus Thursday evening for one class and did not develop symptoms until Saturday. That student did not return to the campus this week.
New York University planned to conduct classes remotely starting Wednesday and continuing through at least March 27.
Fordham University will move to online or electronic instruction Wednesday, and has canceled all on-campus events through March 29.
Pace University, starting Wednesday, will move to online classes through March 29, cancelling in-person classes.
Cornell University went even further, announcing after spring break it would conduct only online classes through the end of the semester.
The city has no plans to close any public schools over coronavirus, but Cuomo said Monday that a school will be closed for at least 24 hours if a student or staff member tests positive.
De Blasio has said he does not foresee mass school closures like those in Italy or Japan. He also does not expect schools to be closed for an extended period of time.
Globally, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
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