March 31 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Joshua Berlinger, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:48 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020
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12:37 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

More than 3,000 retired Georgia nurses have asked to come back to work, association says

From CNN's Pamela Kirkland

The state of Georgia is seeing thousands of retired nurses and volunteers asking how they can step up to help the state as more and more Covid-19 cases are confirmed.

The state is currently facing a nursing shortage. Last year, prior to the outbreak, the state Department of Health warned the shortage had reached crisis levels.

“There were about 10,000 [nursing professionals] a day that were retiring (nationally),” Richard Lamphier, president of the Georgia Nurses Association told CNN by phone. “As of right now, with nurses coming back to the bedside from retirement and also nurses that may have worked in nonclinical roles, those nurses will be activated to come back to take care of patients as well.”

Lamphier estimated between 3,000 and 3,500 retired nurses in Georgia have asked to get back into the nursing profession.

“More so than ever, the ER is in need of nurses,” Erica Mills tells CNN.

Mills has been a nurse for over 16 years. She’s currently on the board of the Georgia Nurses Association and works in administration at Grady Hospital in Atlanta.

“Generally, there’s never enough nurses,” Mills said. “We are still in a nursing shortage. Very much so.”

Lamphier says some area hospitals are dealing with a nursing shortage by asking them to work additional hours. But in the middle of a pandemic, that require “creative staffing” decisions to make sure additional hours don’t mean additional risk of contracting Covid-19.

“Instead of working, say in the front line ICU or emergency room, maybe they can work an additional shift and another floor to allow that area some relief and then rotate in different areas,” he said.

Even so, Mills says many nurse are still anxious about exposure — especially as they’re being asked to reuse personal protective equipment.

“They're saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got to reuse equipment.’ You can now wear protective gear in the hallways and things like that. Those were always infection prevention type of measures that we took. We didn't wear gloves or masks or gowns or anything in the hallway. Well now it's almost abnormal to see someone walking around without that on,” Mills said.

The Georgia Department of Public Health is also trying to help by putting out a call for medical volunteers. The department told CNN in a statement, “There has been a significant influx in March with nearly 800 new volunteers answering the call.”  

 

12:19 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

New York governor says 78,000 retired health care workers offered to come back to work

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that after the state put out the word that it needed more health care workers, 78,000 retirees "said they would help."

He said that one problem the state is facing currently is that health care workers are "working too much" and facing "immense physical and emotional stress."

The governor confirmed that the state is launching a portal today to start dispatching those that are offering their services and "link them up with a hospital."

12:32 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

New York governor says his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, has coronavirus: "He is going to be fine"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Chris Cuomo
Chris Cuomo CNN

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just said his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, has tested positive for coronavirus.  

“He is going to be fine. He's young, in good shape, strong — not as strong as he thinks — but he will fine. But, there is a lesson in this,” Gov. Cuomo said after calling the virus a “great equalizer.”

“He's going to be quarantined in his basement at home. He's just worried about his daughter and his kids, that he hopes he didn’t get them infected,” Gov. Cuomo said. 

The “Cuomo Prime Time” anchor said he had a fever, chills and shortness of breath, but he is now feeling well. He will continue to host his 9 p.m. ET show on CNN. 

“In his job, he's combative and he’s argumentative and he's pushing people. But that's his job. That’s really not who he is. He's a really sweet, beautiful guy. And he's my best friend,” Gov. Cuomo said. 

The governor also said he chided Chris Cuomo for having their mother visit his house two weeks ago. 

“Love sometimes needs to be a little smarter than just reactive,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Watch the moment:

11:57 a.m. ET, March 31, 2020

New York governor: "We have been behind this virus since day one"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is “tired” of trying to play catch-up in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am tired of being behind this virus,” Cuomo said. "We have been behind it from day one since it got here. And we've been playing catch-up. You don't win playing catch-up. We have to get ahead of it.”

Cuomo said officials underestimated the effects of the coronavirus and need to anticipate the next phases of the virus. 

“The main battle is at the apex. We're still going up the mountain. The main battle is on the top of the mountain … Then we come down the other side of the mountain. We are planning now for the battle at the top of the mountain,” Cuomo said. 

He said the apex of the virus is still projected to be in 14-21 days.

WATCH:

11:54 a.m. ET, March 31, 2020

New York governor says state's hospitals are "dealing with a war"

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he met with officials from the entire state hospital system and told them, "we're dealing with a war."

Cuomo said he told hospital officials "we need a totally different mindset" and "we can't do business the way we've always done business."

Cuomo noted that the state has 160+ hospitals and health systems, which includes both private and public systems "working together in a way they never have before."

Cuomo cited the number of hospital beds in the state -- about 75,000 total -- and said that, for example, hospital beds in Nassau County and Albany need to be available to New York City. "It's much easier said than done but we have to do it."

11:52 a.m. ET, March 31, 2020

When will New York get back to normal? "It is not going to be soon," governor says

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said "nobody knows" when coronavirus-related restrictions will end and life will go back to normal — but he warned "it is not going to be soon."

"We're all anxious. We're all tired. We're all fatigued," he said at a news conference. "Our whole lifestyle has been disrupted. Everybody wants to know one thing: When is it over?"

"Nobody knows," Cuomo said, before noting that some experts and US officials have floated various timeframes.

"You can have a hypothesis, you can have a projection, you can have an opinion, but nobody knows. But I can say this: It is not going to be soon," Cuomo added.

He urged New Yorkers to "calibrate yourself and your expectations so you're not disappointed every morning when you get up."

11:53 a.m. ET, March 31, 2020

There are more than 75,000 coronavirus cases in New York

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at least 75,795 people have tested positive for coronavirus across the state.

"We're still headed up the mountain," Cuomo said at a news conference.

At least 1,550 people have died — that's up from 1,218 yesterday, Cuomo said.

The governor added that 10,929 patients are currently hospitalized.

WATCH:

11:25 a.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Nearly 1,200 NYPD employees have coronavirus. About 15% of the department is out sick.

From CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz

Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

As of Tuesday morning, 1,193 employees of the New York Police Department — 1,048 uniformed members and 145 civilian members — have tested positive for coronavirus, a law enforcement source tells CNN. 

About 15% of the force — 5,674 members of the department — is out sick, according to the source.

As of Monday evening, 5,199 uniformed members of the NYPD, which is 14.4% of the Department’s uniformed workforce, were out sick, according to a statement released by the NYPD.

11:23 a.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Southwest cuts flight schedule by 40% from May 3 to June 5

From CNN's Chris Isidore

Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

 

Southwest Airlines will cut its schedule by 40% between May 3 and June 5 in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The airline said the cuts addressed lower passenger demand, operational disruptions and suspension of international service, according to a news release.

“The overall demand for travel remains fluid during this ongoing pandemic and we continue to evaluate further reductions,” the company said.