Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday warned New Yorkers and religious institutions that they could soon be hit with fines as high as $500 if they ignore social distancing guidelines — and he identified Sunday, April 5, as the date the city could begin running out of critical medical resources.
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Citywide, there are 26,697 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 450 deaths, the city announced around 7 p.m. Friday.
Friday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported 44,635 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York state. That number was reported before the city’s total increased to 26,697.
A week ago, New York City's confirmed case total was 5,683. A week before that: 154.
The numbers of cases are expected to only increase exponentially over the coming weeks and months as more tests are conducted.
At least 519 people have died in New York state due to the virus.
For almost a week, businesses not complying with social distancing have been subject to fines. Up until this point, the city has told individuals not to gather in large groups, and to limit their time outside to solitary exercise and getting groceries and medicine. As a result, the NYPD has instructed people to engage in social distancing and broken up large groups.
But some New Yorkers have not heeded the city’s warnings and still gather in crowds.
A plan to issue fines to those in public space, including parks and playgrounds, has not yet been finalized, but the mayor promised a decision this weekend.
“In the last day or so, we have seen some non-compliance that is really a concern,” he said at his daily coronavirus news briefing Friday evening. “People need to understand this is really, really serious.”
Meanwhile, the city says it will fine and potentially shutter any churches, synagogues, or other religious institutions that ignore warnings not to hold services this weekend.
“We need our faiths in this time of crisis, but we do not need gatherings that will endanger people,” the mayor said.
DE BLASIO: OUR MEDICAL SUPPLIES WON’T LAST PAST APRIL 5
De Blasio said he spoke to President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday afternoon, appealing for more medical personnel and military assistance, and cited April 5 as the date supplies could become dangerously depleted.
“I’ve put down that marker to the White House, that that is a decisive moment for city of New York,” he said.
In other news:
The mayor is advocating for a rent freeze on the city’s roughly 1 million rent-stabilized apartments, a move that would require state action to suspend the rent guidelines process.
De Blasio said he highlighted the dire conditions at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens in his conversation with Trump, a Queens- native. City health officials sent 64 clinicians to the hospital Friday, with 105 additional nurses to be re-deployed Saturday.
By Friday night, at least 450 inmates will have been released from city jails, de Blasio said.
The mayor acknowledged city workers who’ve succumbed to COVID-19: school principal Dez-Ann Romain, NYPD custodian Dennis Dickson, Department of Transportation employee Irene Weiss, and Department of Correction Investigator David Perez. He also acknowledged Kious Kelly of Mount Sinai West Hospital, believed to be the city’s first nurse to die of the virus.
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