March 26 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Emma Reynolds and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 0252 GMT (1052 HKT) March 27, 2020
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3:43 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Canada says it is strongly opposed to the US putting troops on the border

From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa

Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images
Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the US is requesting American troops be placed within 20 miles of the US-Canada border to help with border surveillance especially at irregular crossings. Trudeau indicated his government did not believe that was necessary at this time, but that talks were ongoing. 

“Canada and the United States have the longest un-militarized border in the world and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way. We have been in discussions with the United States on this,” Trudeau said during a news conference outside his Ottawa home where he remains in quarantine.

Later at a government news conference in Ottawa, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland revealed Canada had made its opposition known to many levels of the US government, including the Defense Department and US Homeland Security.

"Canada is strongly opposed to this US proposal and we've made that opposition very, very clear to our American counterparts,” she said. “We understand the concerns of our American neighbors and friends. What we have said is we really do not believe at all that there would be a public health justification for you to take this action.”

In blunt terms Freeland underscored that, in her opinion, this was not the way treat a trusted friend and military ally.

Some context: Canada borders 13 American states and before the Covid-19 crisis the two countries shared one of the most lucrative trading relationships in the world. Both countries jointly decided to close the border to nonessential traffic earlier this month. Essential commercial trade and traffic has continued with enhanced medical screening.

3:37 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Hilton employees brace for more furloughs

From CNN's Cristina Alesci


Hilton employees are bracing for the possibility of additional furloughs, two people familiar with the company’s plans said.

The company, which includes brands like Waldorf Astoria and Embassy Suites, has already begun furloughing employees at hotel properties it manages.

A new round of reductions, which is expected any day now, will hit the company’s corporate staff, according to two people familiar with the plans. It’s possible Hilton will find a way to avoid furloughs but it’s highly unlikely, said one of the people.

As members of the Trump administration continue to downplay Thursday's unemployment claims number, business and labor groups, as well as employees who are facing the reality of losing their jobs, are coming forward to talk about the hardships ahead.

Earlier Thursday, the flight attendants union criticized Treasury Secretary’s Steven Mnuchin's claim that the unemployment statistic is "not relevant."

By the numbers: Hilton has 60,000 direct employees in the US but that figure includes workers at Hilton owned and managed properties. It’s unclear how many corporate employees the company has.

3:37 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Coronavirus death toll in France climbs by more than 300 in 24 hours

From CNN's Barbara Wojazer in Paris

Loic Venance/Getty Images
Loic Venance/Getty Images

At least 1,696 people in France have died after contracting coronavirus, France's Director-General of Health Jérôme Salomon said Thursday.

The new total, which marks an increase of 365 in just 24 hours, went "against expectations,” Salomon added. 

Speaking during a news briefing in Paris, Salomon said at least 29,155 people have tested positive for the virus.

According to Salomon, 3,375 patients are currently being treated in intensive care; of these cases, 34% are under the age of 60, he added.

3:21 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Rhode Island is requiring anyone traveling from New York to self-quarantine

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo today said she is “mandating, not suggesting” a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone traveling to her state from New York.

The executive order – effective immediately – also applies to anyone who has traveled to New York in the last 14 days.  

The governor said she plans to execute the mandate by stationing members of the National Guard at bus terminals and train stations and will require anyone arriving from New York to check in and provide their contact information.

State police have also been instructed to flag down cars with New York state license plates as they come into Rhode Island. 

“This is unusual… this is radical,” the governor said of the plan to execute the mandate. 

Raimondo said Rhode Island has added 33 cases of coronavirus since yesterday, bringing the state’s total to 165 cases. 

3:21 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

17 detainees test positive for coronavirus in Illinois

From CNN's Brad Parks and Melissa Alonso

Fifty detainees in Illinois have been tested for coronavirus after "exhibiting flu-like symptoms" at one of the largest jails in the country, according to a Cook County Sheriff’s Office statement. 

According to the statement, of those detainees at Cook County Department of Corrections:

  • 17 have tested positive
  • 2 have tested negative
  • 31 people have pending test results

Additionally, four correctional staffers and one deputy have tested positive, the statement said.

3:03 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

More than 20 coronavirus cases reported at nursing home in West Virginia

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced that 20 residents at a nursing home in Morgantown and eight staffers have tested positive for novel coronavirus.  

"This is the horror story we absolutely did not want to have happen," Justice said during a news conference Thursday. 

Justice said he has appointed Dr. Clay Marsh to coordinate the state's response and preparedness as the virus continues to spread.

"It gives us one more layer of expertise and one more layer of affiliation with hospital," Justice said.

By the numbers: CNN has counted at least 52 Covid-19 cases in West Virginia as of Thursday afternoon.

3:00 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Indiana reports 170 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

There have been 170 new cases of coronavirus and three new deaths reported in the state of Indiana, according to State Health Commissioner Kris Box.

Box said that Indiana has now reported a total of 645 cases and 17 deaths statewide.

The new fatalities were reported in Jasper, Putnam and Franklin counties.

3:37 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Massachusetts governor asks Trump for federal disaster declaration assistance

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker today announced that his administration has submitted a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the President for federal disaster declaration assistance in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Baker also announced that a former Boston Medical Center facility, the Newton Pavilion, will be temporarily reopened to help treat the city's homeless population during the pandemic.

“The facility will provide a safe isolated place for people to stay and recover if they don’t require hospitalization,” Baker said.

According to the governor, the facility has the capacity for about 250 beds.

Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders spoke about personal protective equipment supplies for the state today, saying “in order for us to have sufficient supplies in the Commonwealth, and since the command center was stood up, we've placed more than $15 million in orders for PPE and are working with suppliers to expedite shipping to the Commonwealth.”

“As you know, as we've announced before, we've requested additional supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile. To date, approximately 17% of those requests have been filled. We received a third confirmation of a delivery, but it's not yet been received,” Sudders added.
3:01 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Chicago mayor: "Dear God, stay home, save lives"

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Chicago's bike trails, paths and green spaces will be closed until the "threat to our lives is over," Chicago Mayor


Lori Lightfoot said at a news briefing today. 

Lightfoot addressed Chicagoans who continued to congregate in public areas in large numbers, while the state is under a stay-at-home order.

"Your continued failure to abide by these orders" could lead to more deaths, Lightfoot said. 

"Dear God, stay home, save lives," she added.

Chicago's is closing its lakefront from north to south, effective immediately. Chicago Police will ramp up patrol and are prepared to give warnings and citations and, if necessary, arrests will be made, Lightfoot said.

"You must stay at home, period," Lightfoot said.