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Cuomo: Another two weeks — at least — for state's non-essential shutdown

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While there could be some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the coronavirus crisis, it's not going to come as soon as many had hoped.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended his PAUSE directive — which primarily keeps as many people home as possible — for another two weeks, through April 15. That joins with an edict from the White House later that suggested social distancing guidelines remain in effect nationwide through the end of April. 

The directive, which stands for Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone, requires people to keep at least six feet of separation from each other, bans large gatherings, and has forced businesses deemed "non-essential" to shut down, or only operate remotely.

"Tragically, we have now lost almost a thousand New Yorkers to this vicious virus," Cuomo said in a letter to New Yorkers late Sunday. "We mourn them deeply. Every life lost is one too many. We are fighting to save every life we can. You can help us by staying home and slowing the spread."

New York City now has 33,768 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the governor's office. Statewide, the number of confirmed cases has topped 59,500. 

The New York Police Department also is feeling the hit, with Commissioner Dermot Shea warning there could be as many as 900 positive cases within the department as of Monday. 

At this point, however, just under 13 percent of the department is out sick, according to the NYPD, representing 4,651 uniformed members. Of those, 730 uniformed members and 88 civilian members have tested positive. 

Anticipating that a large number of hospitalizations will be needed, Cuomo expects the field hospital with 1,000 additional beds is set to open Monday at the Javits Center in Hell's Kitchen. The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is expected to arrive Monday as well, Cuomo added, staffed with 1,200 medical professionals. 

"These are extraordinary times, and I know that many New Yorkers are anxious and afraid," Cuomo said. "But with your cooperation and the heroism of our fellow New Yorkers on the front lines, we will beat this virus. We will get through this, and we will come out even stronger."

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