This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Tuesday, March 31st, 2020. Previous daily updates , and . Read our guide to ; a look at , and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our . Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.
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11 a.m. New York City Emergency Management Department officials are looking at using the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for a 350-bed facility as a way of freeing up space at nearby hospitals expected to reach capacity in the coming weeks from coronavirus patients.
“We have conducted a site visit with state and federal partners and are looking to build a 350-bed facility at the location,” said a city Emergency Management spokesman. “The site is likely to be non-Covid patients, and we will evaluate based on need.”
The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center consists of several venues used for the U.S. Open tournament every summer. Arthur Ashe stadium, where the top matches are played, can seat more than 23,000 people.
City and state officials have been scouting for sites across each of the five boroughs. New York City is setting out to build a total hospital capacity of 60,000 beds by May—triple the existing numbers—to respond to the surge of coronavirus patients.
The tennis center’s Louis Armstrong Stadium will be turned into a commissary to create 25,000 meal packages a day, each containing six meals, for hospital workers in New York City and others who need them, the Wall Street Journal reports.
COVID-19 Spread Shows Signs of Slowing
In a sign that New York’s social distancing measures may be working, the rate of new hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients has continued to show signs of slowing down: as of Monday, the rate is doubling every six days, a decline from doubling every two days earlier in March.
Over the last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo has pointed out this promising trend line, which for the time being, continues to creep up. Last Tuesday, the rate of hospitalization was doubling in less than five days.
On Monday, the New York Times reported on another piece of potentially positive data—drops in fever levels of Americans across most of the country.
Kinsa Health, a company which produces internet-connected thermometers and typically tracks flu patterns, has created a national map of fever temperatures. As of Wednesday, fevers have either remained steady or dropped across the country, with the exception of parts of New Mexico and Colorado and New Orleans.
In Manhattan, the percentage of those reporting fevers has gone down since March 17th, the week in which schools and bars and restaurants were closed. The fever levels continued to decline more steeply as Cuomo’s stay-at-home “PAUSE” order took effect on March 22nd.
It is important to note that neither of the two trends means that COVID-19 cases are declining. The number of cases and deaths are expected to peak in the coming week. Speaking on NBC Monday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he could see the outbreaks lasting through May.
“For the weeks ahead, it gets a lot worse before it gets better,” he said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 38,087 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City, with at least 914 deaths.
But the data does seem to show that distancing measures have been successful in slowing the spread of the virus.
The San Francisco company behind the mapping was originally dismissed, but it is finally getting attention from state health officials to distribute more thermometers.
“People need to know their sacrifices are helping,” Inder Singh, founder of Kinsa, told the Times.
This content was originally published here.