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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3:21 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. 


2:55 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

The faces of health workers around the globe fighting coronavirus

From CNN's Fernando Alfonso III

Nicola Sgarbi 
Nicola Sgarbi 

While the world collectively shelters in place to protect against coronavirus, medical professionals flock to the front lines to work long hours tending to a burgeoning number of infected people.

One of them is Dr. Nicola Sgarbi, 35, who unknowingly became part of a growing photo trend of health workers coping with this exponential rise in sick patients.

Sgarbi is a doctor in training who works in the ICU of the civil hospital of Baggiovara in Modena, Italy.

Almost everything about Sgarbi's shift on March 13 was part of his new normal since the outbreak: working 12 hours to treat Covid-19 patients while wearing protective equipment. But at about 8 p.m. that day, he stripped off his face mask and snapped a quick selfie, something he rarely does.

"I mainly took the photo for two reasons. Firstly, to send it to my partner, to tell her that I had finished my shift at work and that I was on my way home, slightly bruised," Sgarbi told CNN over email. "Secondly, to show it to my 1-year-old daughter when she will have grown up. I will be telling her about this moment."

Sgarbi's photo was posted on Facebook and Reddit, where it was shared more than 75,000 times and voted on at least 119,000 times, respectively. The photo drew worldwide praise and comparisons to "Batman and Superman rolled into one," among other things.

Since then, numerous photos and stories of health workers in and out of protective gear have been posted around the internet. Each one captures the physical and emotional toll this pandemic is taking.

See people around the world celebrating health care workers:

2:52 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Why the $2 trillion federal aid package for small businesses may not be enough to save them

From CNN's Jeanne Sahadi

The $2 trillion economic aid package unveiled Wednesday contains several provisions to help small businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, small business groups are pleased some assistance is coming. But they also stress the package — which includes close to $400 billion in aid for small business owners — is still not enough to save Main Street.

"This doesn't cure the crisis. It's a good start. But more support will be needed," said Derek Peebles, executive director of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).

The provisions are also unlikely to save those small businesses that will have to come up with cash to stay afloat until they can actually get the government's aid money in hand.

"There's no way many can keep going," said John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority, a national small business advocacy group.

Speed will be key to helping any small business survive, especially when it comes to dispensing the forgivable loans that will be available to owners who keep paying their employees during the crisis.

2:47 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Bolivia proposes delaying elections during coronavirus outbreak

From CNN’s Sharif Paget in Atlanta


Bolivia’s electoral tribunal said on Thursday it had proposed new dates for the country’s presidential elections to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

The electoral tribunal recommended to Bolivia’s legislative assembly that elections be postponed from May 3 and held sometime between June 7 and Sept. 6.

Bolivia’s electoral tribunal warned last week that the May 3 elections would be difficult to hold since the country’s quarantine order impedes the body from carrying out preparatory activities.

An interim government has ruled Bolivia since former President Evo Morales fled the country following allegations of fraud in an October vote that would have given him a fourth term in office. Morales has said he was the victim of a coup.