There are 463 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a news briefing in the Blue Room of City Hall Monday afternoon.
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So far, the city has recorded seven deaths, including a city worker with the Department of Correction. De Blasio said the man worked as an investigator and was not recently inside any correctional facility.
De Blasio announced that five new coronavirus drive-through testing centers will arrive in New York City in the coming days.
City officials did not provide immediate details on where the testing facilities will be located, but de Blasio stressed the drive through testing will be available for priority cases and by appointment only.
The mayor also signed an executive order Monday, suspending all visits to correctional facilities, mandating business closures for restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms and other public spaces and requiring all hospitals to suspend elective surgeries within the next 96 hours.
The order also suspends upcoming City Council hearings, land use procedures and suspends procurement rules in order to speed up contracting with certain businesses.
The mayor called on New Yorkers to exercise extreme caution in the coming days, encouraging people to avoid going outside, public gatherings and work from home.
“In general, the simple rule is when in doubt, stay home,” de Blasio said during the briefing.
De Blasio, who was fiercely criticized for continuing his usual morning workout at the Park Slope YMCA Monday morning — even as he warned New Yorkers to avoid such places — defended his decision.
"I knew in advance it was a very socially distanced situation. Almost no one was there," de Blasio said Monday when asked if he was ignoring his own advice during a public health crisis.
The mayor said New Yorkers will still have access to the city’s parks and open spaces, but they should exercise social distance if they’re spending time outside.
De Blasio was also critical of the federal response to the coronavirus crisis so far, saying the administration failed to prepare weeks in advance as signs of a growing epidemic were being reported.
The mayor said the city is currently working to expand hospital bed capacity by bringing hospital facilities back online as early as next week.
The new facilities include the Health + Hospitals Coler facility on Roosevelt Island, a recently built nursing home in Brooklyn, the Westchester Square Hospital in the Bronx and the North Central Bronx Hospital. In total, city officials estimate an additional 1,200 to 1,300 hospital beds will come online next week as a result.