April 1 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Tara John, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:37 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020
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11:36 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

US Coast Guard warns medical evacuations are putting strain on its resources

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

Medical staff attend suspected Covid-19 patients as they arrive at US Coast Guard Base Miami Beach on March 26 in Miami, Florida.
Medical staff attend suspected Covid-19 patients as they arrive at US Coast Guard Base Miami Beach on March 26 in Miami, Florida. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

As more and more foreign passenger vessels require medical evacuations for people with flu-like symptoms, the US Coast Guard's strained local medical resources are feeling the pressure.

According to a Marine Safety Information Bulletin issued by the US Coast Guard and obtained by CNN, the increased demand “is leading to the establishment of improvised field hospitals.”

“Medical facilities in the Port of Miami, for example are no longer accepting medevac patients due to limited hospital capacity and it is expected that neighboring counties will follow suit,” the bulletin warned.

The Zaandam cruise ship, which is headed to Florida with dozens of people with flu-like symptoms -- and at least eight people who tested positive for Covid-19 -- is flagged in the Netherlands. It is requesting to dock at Port Everglades. There are 305 US citizens on board, including 49 Floridians.

Foreign-flagged vessels that sit beyond US territorial seas “should seek flag state support prior to seeking support from the limited facilities in the U.S,” the bulletin said.

The bulletin goes on to say that an evacuee “has better access to comfortable surroundings and medical staff on board the foreign passenger vessel where care is already being provided.”

“This is necessary as shore-side medical facilities may reach full capacity and lose the ability to accept and effectively treat additional critically-ill patients,” the bulletin said.

11:24 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Samsung works with mask companies to help increase output

From CNN's Sophie Jeong in Seoul

Samsung, the world’s largest maker of smartphones, TVs and memory chips, has sent its manufacturing experts to mask-producing firms to increase output without adding new equipment, according to a news release from the South Korean tech giant.

At one firm, the daily mask output increased from 40,000 to 100,000, the release said. Samsung also imported 284,000 masks and donated them to the Daegu region, where the outbreak in South Korea has been concentrated.

Samsung’s 14 affiliates, including Samsung Electronics, have donated 30 billion won ($24.6 million) to the Korea Disaster Relief Association to support efforts to overcome the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Samsung also provided South Korean authorities with its training facility to use as a care center for coronavirus patients with mild symptoms. 

South Korea has recorded 9,887 cases of the novel coronavirus, including 165 deaths.

11:16 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

US federal prisons will confine inmates to cells for 2 weeks due to coronavirus

From CNN's David Shortell

The US federal prison system will move to a heightened state of lockdown as it fights the spread of coronavirus behind bars, the Bureau of Prisons announced.

Beginning Wednesday, inmates will be confined to their cells for a two-week period, with exceptions for certain programs and services like mental-health treatment and education. 

Limited group gatherings -- like access to prison stores, laundry, showers and the telephone -- will be "afforded to the extent practical," the agency said.

The strict protocols come just days after the first coronavirus death in the federal prison system -- at a Louisiana prison over the weekend.

Read the full story here:

11:00 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

"It's like war," Detroit emergency medical technician says

From CNN’s Paul Murphy

Detroit hospitals are being stretched thin as coronavirus cases skyrocket in the Michigan city.

First responders at the city's fire department are still assisting residents -- and when the call comes in as code "Charlie," that signifies it's a possible Covid-19 call, a Detroit Fire emergency medical technician (EMT) tells CNN.

"I see citizens still wanting to go to the ER for mild symptoms who should reality isolate at home and follow CDC guidelines," the EMT says. "Hospitals are just flooded and overwhelmed. It’s like war." 

First responders try to educate and inform those with mild symptoms of the CDC guidelines, the EMT says. Ultimately, they have to transport people if they ask to be brought to the hospital. 

"We try and give them every possible scenario," the EMT says. "But we never discourage anyone from seeking treatment."

While responding to a call, the EMT says first responders from the fire department are in constant communication with "medical control," an ER physician on the other radio. 

While in the home, even with their personal protective equipment (PPE) on, they're trying to maintain a six-foot (1.8 meters) distance with any patients.

Right now, the EMT says they believe they have a good supply of PPE. They are constantly cleaning their trucks, too.

"I come home smelling of bleach," the EMT says. "If the coronavirus doesn’t get to my lungs the bleach will."
10:46 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

South Korea reports 101 new cases of novel coronavirus

From CNN's Sophie Jeong in Seoul

There are now 9,887 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in South Korea, after a rise of 101 new infections was reported today.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced the numbers in a news release, including an updated national death toll of 165.

Among the new cases, 24 are from Seoul, 20 from Daegu, 23 from Gyeonggi province and seven from airport screening, according to the release.

The total number of people who have recovered from the virus is now 5,567. Some 159 new recovered cases were added on Tuesday.

How does South Korea compare to other countries? For a while, South Korea had the second largest outbreak in the world, after China. But in recent weeks the number of new infections has steadily decreased as the epidemic was brought under control.

10:31 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

It's just gone 7:30 p.m. in LA and 10:30 a.m. in Hong Kong. Here's the latest on the pandemic

A U.S. Army soldier walks inside a mobile surgical unit being set up by soldiers from Fort Carson, Colorado, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord as part of a field hospital inside CenturyLink Field Event Center, Tuesday, March 31, in Seattle.
A U.S. Army soldier walks inside a mobile surgical unit being set up by soldiers from Fort Carson, Colorado, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord as part of a field hospital inside CenturyLink Field Event Center, Tuesday, March 31, in Seattle. Elaine Thompson/AP

The numbers: There are more than 857,000 novel coronavirus cases around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking figures from the World Health Organization and additional sources.

The US: At least 80% of the US population is under a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order, according to a CNN count. There are more than 185,400 cases of coronavirus in the country and at least 3,834 people have died.

Preparing for the worst: President Donald Trump has warned that the nation will be facing a “very very rough two weeks” in the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the US should prepare for a reality where 100,000 Americans are killed from coronavirus.

Count criteria changes: China will include asymptomatic cases in its official count starting Wednesday. The move comes during growing public concern over asymptomatic cases, of which 1,541 were under medical observation in China by the end of Monday.

An extraordinary request: The commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a US Navy aircraft carrier where an outbreak of the coronavirus has spread to at least 70 sailors, has warned Navy leadership that decisive action is required to save the lives of the ship's crew.

10:13 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

"World's busiest airport" sees operations fall by 60% amid coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Nick Valencia

A Delta airplane sits at the International Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on Monday, March 16.
A Delta airplane sits at the International Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on Monday, March 16. Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically cut operations at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport by 60%, according to an airport official.

In the past 10 days, operations -- categorized by officials as the combination of departures and arrivals -- were down from 2,700 on average to 1,100 on Monday.

The airport official said many employees were teleworking, while essential workers are still reporting for work. 

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson is known as the “world’s busiest airport” and is often listed among the top airports ranked in passenger traffic and flights. More than 107 million passengers flew through Hartsfield-Jackson in 2018.

9:54 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Jazz legend Wallace Roney dies from Covid-19 complications

Legendary jazz trumpeter Wallace Roney died at St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey, Tuesday due to complications from coronavirus, according to this publicist. He was 59.

"I am saddened to confirm that the iconic trumpeter and jazz legend Wallace Roney passed away due to complications of COVID-19 this morning just before noon," publicist Lydia Liebman confirmed to CNN in a news release. 
"The family is looking to have a memorial service to honor Wallace and his musical contributions once this pandemic has passed. Please respect their privacy at this time."

A tweet on Jazz legend Miles Davis' official Twitter account said, "Wallace was a global life force in the jazz community. He played with Miles at the historic Montreux concert directed by Quincy Jones ... He was loved and mentored by Miles. We will miss you Wally. We love you. Peaceful journey."

Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York reacted to the news in a tweet: "With great sadness, we learned today of the passing of singular trumpeter Wallace Roney. A former mentee of icons like Miles Davis and Clark Terry, Roney has long since carved out his own reputation as a true modern great. He will be missed dearly."

9:44 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Sources at two US hospitals say they're running out of sedation drugs

From CNN’s Paul Murphy and Lauren DelValle

Two nurses at St. Joseph's Hospital in Denver, Colorado, have told CNN that they're running out of proper sedation drugs because they've had to intubate so many patients since the coronavirus epidemic began in the US.  

A nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, tells CNN that their hospital is running out of fentanyl, which they used to sedate intubated Covid-19 patients. 

"We are starting to run out of proper sedation medication like propofol and fentanyl," one nurse says. 
"It’s hard to watch when you have to flip these people onto their bellies and use oral medications to sedate them through their feeding tubes."

SCL Health Vice President of System Communications Nikki Sloup said that their hospital system, which includes St. Joseph's Hospital, currently has an adequate supply to meet patient needs.  But Sloup warns that if they experience a patient surge, it could see shortages. 

"We have put in place numerous conservation programs and continue to work with public and private partners to secure the supplies we need to provide safe and appropriate care to our patients and ensure the safety of our caregivers," Sloup told CNN in a statement.

CNN reached out to Johns Hopkins Hospital for comment but did receive a response.

One nurse said they've never seen so many ventilators being put to use.

"Being on a ventilator is a package deal -- it typically comes with the addition of sedation in order to tolerate being ventilated and that’s where fentanyl comes into play," they said. "It is being used in such high doses to appropriately sedate these patients."