Latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic for March 21, 2020

LIVE BLOG - FOX 5 NY is updating this blog with the latest developments on the coronavirus outbreak so you can get the information in one spot. 

8:15 PM:  An inmate at a federal jail in New York City has tested positive for coronavirus, marking the first confirmed case in the federal prison system.

7:51 PM: According to Governor Ned Lamont, Connecticut’s total number of positive coronavirus cases has increased by 29 to 223. More than 3,100 tests have been conducted in the state so far, with approximately 43 people hospitalized. 5 people have died. 

7:37 PM: New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea says that as of March 20, over 50 NYPD officers have tested positive for coronavirus. 

6:52 PM: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced Saturday that 31 people in the city have tested positive for coronavirus and two people have died. Baraka also announced that he is asking residents to more strictly shelter in place in three different areas of the city:

  • Area 1: Bloomfield Avenue to Verona Avenue, and Lake Street to Route 21
  • Area 2: Springfield Avenue to West Market Street, and Martin Luther King Boulevard to South 12th Street.  
  • Area 3: Avon Avenue to Clinton Avenue, and Irvine Turner Boulevard to South 12th Street. 

Residents of those three areas are being asked only to come outside for emergencies. 

5:44 PM: Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation is giving $5M to coronavirus pandemic response efforts

5:32 PM: Oklahoma’s largest health system, Integris Health, is turning to the public and asking for donations of masks, hand sanitizers, disposable gloves known as nitrile gloves, touchless thermometers, impermeable gowns, eye protection and bleach and disinfectant wipes.

5:20 PM: Puerto Rico is reporting its first COVID-19 death. The Health Department says the victim is an elderly Italian woman who was aboard the Costa Luminosa cruise ship that stopped in the U.S. territory earlier this month. Officials say 21 people on the island have tested positive and another 71 are awaiting test results. 

4:49 PM: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that it has approved the use of a rapid coronavirus diagnostic test that returns results in approximately 45 minutes.

4:30 PM: The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 recorded in Africa rose above 1,000 Saturday, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 40 of Africa’s 54 countries now have cases.

4:01 PM: Spain remained on lockdown Saturday, as over 1,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the country since the beginning of the outbreak in February. 

3:36 PM: China reported Saturday that its mainland had no new home-grown cases of the disease for the third straight day, but 41 imported ones in the previous 24-hour period.

2:54 PM: The FAA has lifted its brief virus-related suspension of flights to NYC-area, Philadelphia airports.

2:32 PM: The Federal Aviation Administration is temporarily halting flights to New York City-area airports because of coronavirus-related staffing issues at a regional air-traffic control center. The FAA is reporting that an air traffic controller trainee at New York Air Route Traffic Control Center in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., tested positive for COVID-19 today. The trainee had not been at the facility since March 17, and officials are developing a plan to quickly sanitize/clean the affected areas. 
The center remains open and operational.

2:04 PM: Italy’s tally of coronavirus cases and deaths continues to soar, with officials on Saturday announcing new day-to-day highs: 793 dead and 6,557 cases.

2:02 PM: Murphy says the state is “nowhere near where we need to be” in terms of the amount of protective equipment for healthcare workers. 

1:46 PM: Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health Judith Persichelli says the state is looking to increase bed capacity ahead of the expected surge of patients. 

1:44 PM: Murphy urges residents to come together to flatten the curve, and halt the spread of coronavirus. 

1:42 PM: Murphy urges residents to get their information from reputable sources and government officials, and asks residents not to feed into disinformation campaigns.  He says is a one-stop for answers to frequently asked questions, updates, and a list of phone numbers and resources.

1:39 PM: Murphy: “At the end of the day, we will get through this.”

1:37 PM: Murphy says that any worker who is out of work should go to for advice and assistance. Employers should visit

1:34 PM: Murphy says that residents can still take a walk or go for a run outside, but residents are ordered to continue practicing social distancing. 

1:33 PM: Murphy says that all nonessential retail businesses are being asked to close to the public at 9 p.m. Saturday evening. Only grocery stores, food banks, pharmacies, medical marijuana dispensaries, gas stations, auto repair services, convenience stores, banks, hardware and home improvement stores, laundromats, office supply shops, pet stores, mail and delivery shops, and restaurants and bars providing take out services. All businesses must also move their employees to work from home whenever possible. 

1:32 PM: Murphy says he is urging those who have homes at the Jersey Shore not to go to them at this time, saying the local infrastructure is unprepared for the influx of part-time residents. 

1:29 PM: Murphy says he has signed an executive order asking New Jersey residents to stay at home and practice social distancing. Under the order, all gatherings are canceled until further notice, including weddings, parties and in-person services. 

1:28 PM: Murphy says that the increase is positive results is no reason for panic, but also no reason for “business as usual."

1:25 PM: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has announced the discovery of 442 new positive coronavirus test results in New Jersey, bringing the state's total to 1,327. He also says there were an additional 5 deaths, bringing the state's total to 16. He says the numbers will continue to grow significantly as the state continues aggressively testing for the virus. 

1:21 PM: Pence says that HHS has just placed an order for hundreds of millions of N95 masks to be distributed to healthcare workers across the nation. 

1:18 PM: Vice President Mike Pence says that testing is expanding rapidly across the nation, with over 195,000 Americans who have been tested for coronavirus. 

1:14 PM: Trump: “Every American has a role to play in defending our nation from this invisible, horrible enemy.”

1:12 PM: Trump says they have activated FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center to Level 1, its highest level. 

1:10 PM: Trump says he signed an executive order to help states and hospitals secure needed supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic. 

1:08 PM: Trump says that HUD has announced that foreclosures and evictions have been suspended for the next 60 days. 

1:04 PM: President Donald Trump is holding a press conference giving an update on the response to the coronavirus.

12:58 PM: USA Track & Field has joined USA Swimming in requesting that the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee push for the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

12:50 PM: The coronavirus has forced several of President Donald Trump's golf clubs, hotels and resorts to scale back operations or shut down entirely, the Trump Organization says. Among them is Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach, Florida, club where Trump spends many weekends during the winter months.

12:26 PM: While entry and exit from Wuhan, China remains tightly restricted, businesses such as supermarkets, convenience stores and shops selling fresh fruit, vegetables and other daily necessities can re-open.

12:13 PM: South Korea has reported 147 new infections of the coronavirus and eight more deaths, bringing its totals to 8,799 cases and 102 deaths.

12:07 PM: Singapore has reported its first two deaths from the coronavirus.

11:55 AM: Cuomo: “What we do in this moment of time matters. This is government, if it’s done well, it saves lives.” 

11:48 AM: Cuomo says the state does not have a significant issue of coronavirus spread in the prison system yet, but that they will address it if it becomes an issue.

11:45 AM: Cuomo says that New York is testing more people than any state in the U.S., with more tests per capita than China and South Korea. 

11:43 AM: Cuomo says New York State has enough masks to handle all of the needs of hospitals in upstate NY. 

11:40 AM: Cuomo says the state has located 6,000 ventilators from all over the globe that will be coming in over the next several weeks. Most will end up in New York City. 

11:38 AM: Cuomo: “The time is now to show some kindness, show some compassion to people.”

11:36 AM: Cuomo: “There are people who are doing extraordinary work who deserve our thanks.”

11:33 AM: Cuomo say she is asking psychologists and therapists willing to volunteer their time to help people deal with stress and anxiety caused by the crisis to contact

11:30 AM: Cuomo says he believes it is going to be a matter of months before the pandemic ends. 

11:27 AM: Cuomo says 54 percent of the coronavirus cases in New York State are people between the ages of 18 and 49 years old, and once again asks young people in New York City to observe social distancing rules. 

11:26 AM: Cuomo says that the state is sending 1.5 million N95 masks to New York City today. 

11:22 AM: Cuomo says that 1,603 out of 10,356 cases are currently hospitalized. 

11:21 AM: Cuomo says that there are 6,211 cases in New York City, 1,385 in Westchester, 1,234 in Nassau County, 622 in Suffolk County, 262 in Rockland County. 

11:18 AM: 10,000 coronavirus cases in NY

11:17 AM:  Cuomo says NY has conducted 45,000 coronavirus tests.

11:12 AM:  Cuomo says the state is requesting 1,000 FEMA field hospital beds.

10: 55 AM:  Gov. Cuomo is expected to hold a news conference around 11 a.m. with an update.

10:30 AM:  A Navy sailor assigned to the United States Central Command in Florida has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a spokesman said Saturday.

The sailor returned to the U.S. from overseas travel on March 15, and went into precautionary quarantine at his home, CENTCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said in a news release.

CENTCOM is located at Macdill Air Force base in Tampa. The sailor started developing symptoms on March 18, then called ahead to Macdill health officials. He was met outside the base by doctors.

Officials said his test returned positive on March 20.

9:51 AM:  More than 10,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus, with men seemingly hit harder by the virus than women, according to early data.  More details on study here.

9:30 AM:  The number of coronavirus cases in Jersey City, NJ doubled overnight to 50, according to Mayor Steven Fulop.

9:25 AM: 40 coronavirus cases in Georgia are linked to a single church event.  DETAILS HERE

9:15 AM: Brazil's Olympic Committee has called for the Tokyo Olympic Games to be postponed until 2021. 
   The Brazilian body said in a statement published on Saturday that the decision is a necessity due to the seriousness of the pandemic and "the consequent difficulty for athletes to keep their best competitive level."
   It also said that it continues to "trust in the International Olympic Committee." Brazil organized the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, the first in South America.

9:11 AM: With its global scope and its staying power, the coronavirus outbreak poses unprecedented challenges for charities and nonprofit groups that rely on donations.
   The American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage due to the cancellation of nearly 2,700 blood drives. The Girl Scouts' annual cookie sale -- vital to the group's finances -- has been disrupted by a top-level plea to halt in-person sales.
   And a 21-member coalition of major nonprofits is pleading with Congress to allocate $60 billion so charities can keep their staff on the job and ramp up assistance programs.

8:52 AM:  The Vermont National Guard has activated seven members to help the state respond to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The guard says five airmen and two soldiers will be working to increase Vermont’s medical capacity, and five airmen will contribute to warehouse logistical operations. Two began work Friday. The rest will begin work on Monday.

8:25 AM: Air raid sirens echoed across Jordan's capital on Saturday to mark the start of a three-day curfew, the latest mass lockdown in the Middle East aimed at containing the coronavirus, which has claimed another 123 lives in Iran, home to the region's worst outbreak.

8:00 AM:  Iran announces 123 more virus deaths, bringing toll to 1,556 amid 20,610 confirmed cases.