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'We are now the epicenter.' Mayor says NYC coronavirus cases soar to 5,683

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that there are at least 5,683 positive cases of coronavirus in New York City and 43 fatalities.

News 12 Staff

Mar 20, 2020, 8:24 PM

Updated 1,579 days ago

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'We are now the epicenter.' Mayor says NYC coronavirus cases soar to 5,683
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that there are at least 5,683 positive cases of coronavirus in New York City and 43 fatalities. 
De Blasio said those numbers accounted for one-third of all cases in the U.S. and two-thirds of the cases in New York state.
"We are now the epicenter," he said.
Currently, there are 1,514 cases in Queens, 1,402 in Manhattan, 1,740 in Brooklyn, 736 in the Bronx and 285 in Staten Island.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said there are 52 coronavirus cases in the NYPD, including 1 person hospitalized with pneumonia symptoms.
New York City health officials have directed medical providers to stop testing patients for the coronavirus, except for those sick enough to require hospitalization, saying wider testing is exhausting supplies of protective equipment.
 
In an advisory issued Friday, the health department said outpatient testing should stop unless results would impact a patient's treatment.
 
It said demand for unnecessary testing is contributing to a national shortage of masks, gowns, collection swabs and other supplies, all of which need to be discarded by health care workers after each test.
 
“We have been clear that testing is best indicated for people who are symptomatic, have chronic underlying illnesses, and are not getting better,” said New York City's health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
 
She also urged the public not to seek treatment just because they are sick, noting that the disease is mild for most and resolves within a few weeks.
 
“Only go to the doctor if you are getting worse,” she said, noting that every trip to a medical clinic by a sick person potentially exposes others to the disease.
 
The order came amid a huge surge in testing in New York. After a slow start, testing sites have proliferated, and many officials have said that widespread testing is a key to fighting the spread of the disease.
 
As of Friday morning, more than 32,000 people had been tested in the state, almost a third of them in the last day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
 
More than 7,000 New Yorkers have tested positive. More than 1,200 have been hospitalized.
 
Similar restrictions on testing have been implemented in other parts of the state.
 
Albany Medical Center and St. Peter's Health Partners said they were also suspending community testing to conserve resources.
 
“The difficult decision was made in order to conserve testing resources for those at highest risk, including inpatients, symptomatic direct care workers and those with high-risk exposure to the virus,” according to a release.
PHOTOS: The impact of coronavirus around the world
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AP wire services contributed to this report.


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