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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3:55 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Toyota will keep its North American plants closed until April 20

From CNN's Alison Kosik

Toyota is extending the closure of all its North American automobile and components plants until April 20.

Toyota North America said Thursday in a statement it will continue to suspend production due to "the ongoing pandemic and decline in vehicle demand." The company added that "service parts operations and finished vehicle centers will continue to operate to meet the needs of our customers." 

This is the third shutdown extension for Toyota. Originally, Toyota said it would reopen facilities on April 6. 

Some context: Chrysler also announced Thursday it would keep its North American operations closed until April 14. Ford recently announced it would reopen plants on April 6.

3:48 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

Bill and Hillary Clinton sent more than 400 pizzas to New York hospitals fighting coronavirus

From CNN's Alicia Lee

Courtesy St. Johns Riverside Hospital
Courtesy St. Johns Riverside Hospital

With New York quickly becoming the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, health care workers in the state have been working nonstop.

Knowing that these heroes wouldn't have time to stop and grab a meal, one of New York's most famous couples — Bill and Hillary Clinton — stepped in to help.

On Wednesday evening, the Clintons sent over 400 pizzas to hospitals in Westchester County "as a small token of their appreciation for everything medical professionals are doing for their communities," according to Angel Ureña, spokesperson for President Clinton.

"Thank you for protecting our communities. From Bill and Hillary Clinton," a note sent with the pizzas read.

There were 80 pizzas delivered to St. John's Riverside Hospital alone.

"Thank you to the Clintons for pizza today at DOBBS FERRY ED! Leaders like you will get us through this. So much gratitude thank you thank you thank you," Angela Cirilli, the emergency medicine ultrasound director at St. John's Riverside Hospital, said in a tweet.

3:45 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

South Florida doctor who tested positive for coronavirus has died

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

A doctor from South Florida who tested positive for coronavirus has died.

Dr. Alex Hsu, 67, died on Tuesday, according to the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office.

He had recently traveled to China and had complained of shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea and a cough, according to medical examiner's office records. Hsu was transferred to the ICU where he was placed on a ventilator.

Hsu’s positive result for Covid-19 was received Wednesday, documents from the medical examiner's office show.

5:47 p.m. ET, March 26, 2020

New Hampshire tells residents to stay home during outbreak

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, right, tours a makeshift medical facility at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire on March 24.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, right, tours a makeshift medical facility at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire on March 24. Charles Krupa/AP

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has issued a stay-at-home order starting at midnight Friday. The order will last until May 4.

Nonessential businesses are also expected to close by the end of the day Friday, he said at a news conference Thursday.

Sununu acknowledged that it was an "incredibly big ask."

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect the exact date the order will be lifted.

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.