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Coronavirus Update: NYC Increases Testing Capacity, But Mayor Says More Supplies Are Crucial

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With more drive-thru coronavirus testing sites opening in New York City, the number of positive cases is expected to keep climbing.

By Friday night, there were 8,398 confirmed cases in New York State with 5,683 in New York City. There have been 43 deaths in the city.

That's leading to growing concerns over the need for medical supplies.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is demanding more action from the federal government.

As CBS2's Reena Roy reports, Brooklyn is the most affected borough, with more than 1,000 cases.

The Ida G. Israel Community Health Center is expected to start testing Friday, along with nearby Coney Island Hospital. A third site will also open next week in the parking lot of MCU Park.


On Thursday, the city announced expanded testing at 10 hospitals, seven Gotham health centers and four drive-thru sites. That's in addition to a state-operated drive-thru facility on Staten Island.

Tests are by appointment only, and health officials say those under the age of 50 with mild symptoms should stay home and continue social distancing.

A long line formed outside of the newly created COVID-19 testing site at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens on Friday, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports.

Emergency rooms across the city have been inundated with patients. We're told in some hospitals, doctors and nurses have to wear the same masks all shift as the most critical supplies, including ventilators, are running low.

"We literally will not have the things we need to save people's lives," de Blasio said Friday on Morning Joe. "I'm telling you in two weeks' time or three weeks' time, we will have nothing left. I have not gotten a hint of an answer from the federal government about when resupply is coming."

The mayor said even though he's getting some help from the federal government, it's still not enough.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text 692692 | Westchester Testing Call 1(888)-364-3065 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Case Tracker | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also called on the federal government to use its power to order manufacturers to speed up production of ventilators and protective equipment.

With positive cases climbing by 1,000 in a day and the death toll rising, the state will now only allow residents to leave their homes for essential services.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams supports the measure.

"We're doing this to protect the 20%, the vulnerable population who will see major symptoms and who will face death," he said. "So we have to do this now. We can't wait."

Cuomo also ordered all non-essential businesses to close.

Hospitals, utility companies, transportation, food stores, gas stations, pharmacies and restaurants serving take-out only can all remain open.

If you're not on the state's list, you must close your doors, and law enforcement will be checking.

"Clearly the NYPD is gonna play a major role in enforcement along with other agencies we depend on like the FDNY, the sheriff's office," de Blasio said.

The NYPD says so far they've had to issue very few summonses to those already asked to shut down, like large venues and bars. Cooperation has been high.

Schools and businesses are already closed, and now even more will have to follow suit.

As families prepare to hunker down, more structure is coming for students in the form of online learning.

Principal Gideon Frankel from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts outlined his expectations in a video message.

"So you can expect two to three live or video-recorded direct teaching opportunities a week from the teacher to the students and also two to three assignments that require students to write or respond to an article or have a discussion or send in their own video," he said.

New York City is in the center of the epidemic, and de Blasio says until more substantial help comes from the federal government, desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Until we have some evidence that our federal government is awake and conscious of the crisis, we really are on our own at this point," he said.

Meanwhile, city agencies are taking precautions of their own, including the Department of Sanitation, which closed eight of its garages for the day in Brooklyn and the Bronx so they can be deep-cleaned and disinfected.

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