ALBANY — Coronavirus has claimed its first life in New York.
A woman with underlying respiratory issues died in a New York City hospital, Gov. Cuomo announced this morning.
“We had last night a death in a New York City hospital of an 82-year-old woman who had coronavirus. She came into the hospital on March 3,” he said. “She contracted the coronavirus on top of emphysema, then she passed.”
New York now has 524 positive cases, an increase of 100 from yesterday, with 117 patients now in hospitals.
“We did 700 tests,” Cuomo said.
Testing capacity is going up, and more cases are being investigated by “disease detectives.”
New York state now has more cases than any other state in the US, with the number of newly confirmed infections surging past Washington state, once the epicenter of the outbreak.
New York’s “numbers are spiking because our testing capacity is going up,” Cuomo said Friday, adding New Yorkers will see 1,000 more cases next week.
The governor said it’s “very important at this time we communicate with the people of New York facts and reality..Information and facts defeat fear.”
Cuomo is “encouraging” people to use telemedicine and the plan is for insurers to waive the co-payments.
“If you do have the coronavirus we don’t want you going into emergency rooms and infecting staff,” he said.
Cuomo said New York has 50,000 hospital beds, 3,000 being used in Intensive Care Units.
New York’s first coronavirus drive-through testing center opened Friday morning in New Rochelle — the Westchester County town with the highest cluster of COVID-19 cases in the United States.
The set-up includes six drive-through lanes to handle 200 cars a day, Cuomo said. That’s about 15 minutes per car, he said.
The governor said a similar drive-thru on Jones Beach in Long Island could be up and running “by the end of the week.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking on AM Joy on MSNBC, said he heard about the fatality right before going on the program and “wanted to confirm it.” He called the death “tragic.”
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted at 10:44 a.m. that the death was in Manhattan.
“Very sad news this morning. New York City has its first #coronavirus related death — an 82-year-old woman with emphysema in Manhattan. My heart goes out to her loved ones.”