March 23 coronavirus news

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2:14 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Seattle hospital monitoring nearly 300 potential coronavirus patients remotely

From CNN's Sonia Moghe

Providence St. Joseph’s Health in Seattle, Washington, is currently monitoring 279 Covid-19 positive and presumptive positive patients remotely from their homes.

It’s helping free up hundreds of beds, and reducing exposure for health care workers to possible cases, and patients who may not end up having Covid-19 to the virus, the hospital said.

Patients, who test positive, or are currently awaiting their test results, are sent home with a thermometer and a pulse oximeter, which helps check oxygen levels and heart rate, said Hargobind Khurana, medical director of the hospital's telehealth services. They input their temperature, oxygen level and heart rate into the app. Their vitals are monitored and an automated system checks in every few hours to make sure their symptoms are not worsening.

“The majority of the patients do not require hospital admissions. There’s a percentage of people who require high level care, supplemental oxygen. There’s a small percentage who’d require ICU care. About three-fourths of patients who have the disease can be monitored at home,” Khurana said. 
2:01 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

New Hampshire reports first coronavirus death

From CNN's Gregory Lemos

New Hampshire's first coronavirus-related death was a 60-year-old man, state Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan announced Monday.

The man, who was from Hillsboro County, had "multiple underlying, chronic health conditions," Chan said.

New Hampshire now has 101 confirmed coronavirus cases and 11 hospitalizations, Chan said.

2:07 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

44% of all US hotel employees could be laid off due to coronavirus

From CNN's Kate Trafecante

Marriott International, the world's largest hotel chain, announced it had begun furloughing some of its 130,000 employees.
Marriott International, the world's largest hotel chain, announced it had begun furloughing some of its 130,000 employees. AFP/Getty Images

The hotel industry expects 44% of all US hotel employees could lose their jobs as the coronavirus outbreak drys up demand.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association says in a new study that the drastic decline in occupancy is causing hotel owners to implement "massive, unavoidable layoffs and furloughs," and believes it will only get worse. 

“The impact to our industry is already more severe than anything we’ve seen before, including September 11th and the great recession of 2008 combined,” said Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the trade group. 

The hotel industry directly employees or supports more than 8 million jobs in the US. The group estimates that more than 4 million have been lost already, or will be eliminated in the next few weeks.

The states expecting the biggest losses are California, Florida, Nevada and New York.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association represents companies across the hotel industry, including Marriott International, Hyatt, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Marriott International, the world's largest hotel chain, announced last week it had begun furloughing some of its 130,000 employees.

1:55 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Brazilian soccer stadiums and convention centers convert to field hospitals to treat coronavirus patients

From CNN’s Flora Charner in Atlanta

The field of the Pacaembu stadium is lined with metal frames as workers erect an open-air hospital to treat patients in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, March 23. (
The field of the Pacaembu stadium is lined with metal frames as workers erect an open-air hospital to treat patients in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, March 23. ( Andre Penner/AP

Some of Brazil’s soccer stadiums, arenas and convention centers will be converted into field hospitals to treat patients infected with coronavirus.

In São Paulo, the city with the largest number of confirmed deaths and cases, the mayor’s office announced that 2,000 hospital beds would be added to the Pacaembu stadium and the Anhembi convention center in the next few weeks.

São Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas said 200 beds would be made available in Pacaembu within two weeks and 1,800 beds in Anhembi within three weeks.

In Rio de Janeiro, 2019 Copa Libertadores winner Flamengo said it had made its facilities available to the state and city government, including the city’s iconic Maracanã stadium.

Other soccer clubs that have offered their facilities include Corinthians, Santos, São Paulo’s Morumbi stadium and Goiás, which said it would offer its Serrinha stadium as a vaccination center.

The Brazilian Football Confederation suspended all national soccer tournaments last week, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brazil has more than 1,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 25 deaths, according to the Brazilian Health Ministry.

#Health##

1:52 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

West Virginia orders residents to stay home

West Virginia Governor’s Office
West Virginia Governor’s Office

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has issued a stay-at-home order that will go into effect Tuesday at 8 p.m.

"Because bordering states are taking action that may cause folks to make their ways into West Virginia it’s a real problem, we can’t have that happen," he said at a news conference Monday.

Justice said his initial intentions were to close all nonessential businesses, but after additional consultations, he realizes the situation has become even more serious.

1:40 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Mexico City closes museums, gyms and theaters as coronavirus cases rise

From CNN's Natalie Gallón in Mexico City

A street vendor sells candy outside a closed movie theater in Mexico City, Monday, March 23.
A street vendor sells candy outside a closed movie theater in Mexico City, Monday, March 23. Fernando Llano/AP

Effective Monday, Mexico City is temporarily suspending various activities throughout the capital in an effort to reduce the contagion curve and to avoid situations where the city’s hospitals could become overwhelmed, Mexico City’s Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said in a video on her official Twitter account.

The new measures include closing museums, gyms, movie theaters, night clubs, zoos, sports centers and bars until April 20, Sheinbaum said adding that private and public events of 50 people or more will also be suspended. Schools have already been closed across the country since Friday.

Sheinbaum’s message came as Mexico City saw Covid-19 cases double from 21 positive cases on Wednesday to 45 on Sunday.

“I know these measures affect the economies of a lot of families,” she said, adding that her government is working on an economic plan for those who will be heavily impacted.

“It’s a global sanitary crisis,” she said, asking for citizens to collaborate, listen and stay home.

1:33 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

New Jersey is releasing about 1,000 inmates from county jails

From CNN's Kara Scannell 

The chief state judge in New Jersey ordered the release of hundreds of inmates in county jails by Tuesday “based on the dangers posed by coronavirus disease 19.”

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner of the New Jersey Supreme Court issued the order on Monday after consulting with the state attorney general, County Prosecutors Association, Public Defenders Office and the ACLU of New Jersey.

The ACLU of New Jersey estimates up to 1,000 people may be released under the order.

“The reduction of county jail populations, under appropriate conditions, is in the public interest to mitigate risks imposed by Covid-19,” the judge wrote.

Inmates who are detained for probation violations, municipal court convictions, disorderly persons offense, and for fourth-degree or petty crimes, will be released beginning Tuesday, according to the order.

An inmates release can be appealed if there are questions about public safety. The judge said no inmates who have tested positive for the virus will be released until the judge determines a plan to isolate the individual. 

“This is truly a landmark agreement, and one that should be held up for all states dealing with the current public health crisis,” said Amol Sinha, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey.

1:33 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Archbishop of New Orleans tests positive for coronavirus

Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement on the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ website.

The Archbishop said that he is experiencing mild symptoms and is self quarantining.

“I will use this quiet time for additional prayer and sacrifice for all those seriously affected by the virus. I pray to get well soon and continue ministry,” the Archbishop said in the statement. 

1:36 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Italy reports 601 new deaths of coronavirus

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

Italy has confirmed 601 new coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 6,077. 

This is the second day that has seen a small decrease in cases and deaths.

Another 4,789 new cases have been diagnosed, bringing the total number of cases to 63,927.