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NYC Coronavirus Update from NYC Mayor’s Office – March 19

An updated message from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office for International Affairs regarding NYC’s response to COVID-19. Thursday, March 19, 2020.

Dear Colleagues,

As part of our ongoing efforts to keep you informed on the City’s response to COVID-19, the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs is sharing the following information from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press conference on Thursday, March 19, 2020:

Statistics (as of 10 a.m. Thursday):

  • 3,615 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NYC

               o  By borough: 980 cases in Queens; 976 in Manhattan; 1,030 in Brooklyn;  463 in the Bronx; 165 on Staten Island

  • 22 deaths in NYC

The Mayor noted that these numbers are growing rapidly due in part to expanded testing capacity; he also reiterated that 80% of all cases will be mild

Supply Needs

Mayor de Blasio has requested the federal government supply the following to help combat COVID-19 in NYC:

  • 3 million N-95 masks
  • 50 million surgical masks
  • 15 thousand ventilators
  • 25 million each of: surgical gowns, coveralls, gloves, face masks

Rikers Island

One inmate on Rikers Island has tested positive; this is the first such case

  • Eight other inmates are exhibiting symptoms and have also been moved to isolation

The City will begin releasing inmates with health vulnerabilities and who are deemed low risk offenders

  • 40 such persons have been added on that list
  • The City is now awaiting clearance from the relevant district attorneys and/or the State of New York
  • Releases begin today

Health care capacity

More than 1,746 health care professionals have stepped forward to augment ranks of those already serving (these are retirees and health care workers in private offices)

Those with medical training can volunteer by going to

Testing Capacity

Mayor de Blasio and NYC Health + Hospitals today announced expanded, appointment-only COVID-19 testing capacity across 10 acute-care hospitals, seven Gotham Health community-based health centers, and 4 drive-thru test sites.  


Mayor continued to encourage people to telework if there are non-essential employees; two-thirds of City employees will no longer be working at their traditional work sites starting Sunday.

If any New Yorker is still not telecommuting, you must – employers need to be creative and help employees stay home. Employees can call 311 and ask for the NYC Commission on Human Rights for assistance.

Public Assistance

The City is no longer conducting in-person interviews for food stamps or public assistance; all these services have been converted online

Religious services

Mayor expressed sadness that so many cannot attend their houses of worship and forego religious services; he discouraged at home services with large gatherings.

Keeping NYC Healthy

“Doing more means staying home. If you are not an essential worker, I need you to stay home. If you are developing symptoms, I need you to stay home and stay away from those who are higher risk – those who are over 50 and have underlying conditions.” – Dr. Oxiris Barbot, Commissioner, City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

For updated information on the City’s response to novel coronavirus, text COVID to 692-692 and COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish.


Mayor’s Office for International Affairs