The death toll from the coronavirus in New York state now stands at 728 – up from 519 and 385 on Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday. New York is the U.S. epicenter of the virus outbreak and has far more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other state in the nation: More than 52,000.
Over 177,000 people have been tested, according to Cuomo.
Hospitalizations in the state are expected to peak in as soon as 14 days.
Cuomo says Trump approved 4 new sites for emergency facilities
President Trump has approvedto be used as emergency medical facilities: the New York Expo Center in the Bronx, the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and the College of Staten Island, Cuomo said.
"This is going to be a big advantage," he said. The locations will add another 4,000 hospital beds to the state's capacity.
Cuomo also said that some sites will be "COVID only" – "where people in those hospitals will just have the COVID virus, so the staff that is there is just working with one type of issue." Those locations are the South Beach Psychiatric Center in Staten Island, Westchester Square in the Bronx and SUNY Downstate (University Hospital) in Brooklyn.
The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds and 1,200 medical personnel, is expected to arrive in New York Harbor on Monday.
New York delays presidential primary and extends tax filing deadline
In light of the crisis, Cuomo announced the state is delaying its presidential primary and extending the state's tax filing deadline to July 15,
He said Saturday the primary, which was scheduled for April 28, will now be linked to congressional and legislative primary elections on June 23.
"I don't think it's wise to be bringing people to one location to vote," he said.
Other states including Louisiana, Connecticut and Maryland have also postponed their presidential primaries.
Cuomo responds to Trump's remarks on possible "enforceable" quarantine
President Trump said Saturday he is considering declaring an "enforceable" quarantine affecting residents of the New York metropolitan area. "I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing 'hot spots,' New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly," Mr. Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon.
Mr. Trump said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had told the president he wanted to stop the flow of New Yorkers who may be infected with COVID-19 into the state.
Cuomo said Saturday he had not spoken to the president about quarantining the metro region. Cuomo also said: "I don't even know what that means. I don't know how that could be legally enforceable. And from a medical point of view, I don't know what you'd be accomplishing," Cuomo said.