March 24 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 1:09 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020
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7:30 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

A person in Kentucky tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a coronavirus party, governor said

From CNN's Sheena Jones and Stephanie Gallman

Matt Stone/Courier Journal/Imagn
Matt Stone/Courier Journal/Imagn

A person attended a coronavirus party in Kentucky and then tested positive for the virus, Gov. Andy Beshear said at a news conference Tuesday.

The governor said he hopes he doesn’t have to speak about this incident again and reminded himself to forgive the person who attended the party.

"This is one that makes me mad,” the governor said, discouraging the action. “We have to be much better than that.” 

Bashear later said the “coronavirus party” was a group of “young adults” who intentionally got together, “thinking they were invincible" and purposely defying the state’s guidance to practice social distancing. 

Beshear stopped short of naming the county where the patient is from or where the party took place, not wanting to identify the person who “made a mistake.” 

At least 163 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Kentucky, the governor said.

5:50 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

How Illinois is preparing for possible surge of coronavirus cases

From CNN's Raja Razek

Illinois' Governor J.B. Pritzker, speaking at a news conference Tuesday, said the state is looking into whether closed hospitals could reopen to help with coronavirus response efforts.

"In a worst-case scenario surge, the state would turn existing hospitals into almost entirely Covid-19 response hospitals, moving non-Covid patients to other hospitals," the governor said.

Pritzker went on to explain the distinction between a standard hospital bed and a bed for patient with Covid-19. He said the number one difference is a ventilator.

5:13 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

54% of US population will be ordered to stay at home by midweek

From CNN's Devon M. Sayers

At least 13 states and 16 municipalities have ordered 148,577,262 people or 45% of the US population to stay home as a result of the pandemic, according to data compiled by CNN using US Census population estimates. 

At least five additional states and nine municipalities will have orders going into effect later this week. 

When all orders take effect 176,385,537 people will be affected by the order, or 54% of the US population. 

The US Census Bureau estimates the population at 328,239,523.

5:06 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

New York City will release 300 inmates immediately over coronavirus concerns

From CNN's Laura Ly

New York City will move to release 300 city inmates immediately due to Covid-19 concerns, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

All of those eligible for release are city inmates convicted of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, all with less than one year left on their sentence, de Blasio said.

De Blasio noted that there are some inmates within that category with domestic violence or sexual offense charges that the city has determined they will not release at this time.

There are an additional 100 inmates that are awaiting trial that would require action from district attorneys, so the city will work with their offices to determine whether any of those inmates can be released, de Blasio said.

An additional 700 inmates who are “technical parole violators” will also be under consideration for release, and the city will work with state authorities on those ongoing conversations, de Blasio said.

New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea commented on the decision to release inmates at Tuesday’s news conference, saying the decision was very difficult, but that he was in agreement with the mayor and that the decision was based on a desire to be realist and humane.

6:05 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

New York City now has nearly 15,000 cases

From CNN's Laura Ly

Doors open into the emergency department at St. Barnabas Hospital in New York, on March 23.
Doors open into the emergency department at St. Barnabas Hospital in New York, on March 23. Misha Friedman/Getty Images

New York City currently has at least 14,776 cases due to Covid-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Tuesday. 

De Blasio said the idea that the city could be back to normal in April is “absolutely inconceivable."

He added that he believes April will be “unquestionably worse” than March and that he fears May could be worse than April.

5:08 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

First inmate in Texas prison system tests positive for coronavirus

A 37-years-old man is the first inmate in the Texas prison system to test positive for coronavirus, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The inmate is currently in isolation at a Galveston, Texas hospital, according to department spokesperson Jeremy Desel. The inmate had been assigned to the Lychner State Jail when he reported a cough and shortness of breath three days ago.

There are currently 140,500 inmates in the Texas prison system. Previously, the department had a prison employee diagnosed as positive.  

5:36 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

First ICE detainee tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

The exterior Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, New Jersey.
The exterior Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, New Jersey. Anne-Marie Caruso/NorthJersey.com/Imagn Content Services

A 31-year-old Mexican national is the first detainee to test positive for coronavirus in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, the agency announced Tuesday.

The detainee, who has been held at the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, New Jersey, has been quarantined and is receiving care, ICE said, adding that the agency “is suspending intake at the facility until further information is available.”

Immigrant advocates and lawmakers have warned about the potential spread of coronavirus in detention facilities, which have a checkered history of dealing with illnesses.

As part of its efforts to stop coronavirus from spreading, the agency recently announced it was temporarily suspending social visitation at ICE facilities "as a precautionary measure" – meaning family members, friends and advocates who used to be able to visit detained loved ones in person can't anymore, at least for now.

5:33 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Connecticut sees spike of 200 cases in one day

From CNN's Sheena Jones

A health worker waits for new patients a drive-thru coronavirus testing station at Cummings Park in Stamford, Connecticut, on March 23.
A health worker waits for new patients a drive-thru coronavirus testing station at Cummings Park in Stamford, Connecticut, on March 23. John Moore/Getty Images

Connecticut has seen a spike of 200 more cases since yesterday, Gov. Ned Lamont said at a news conference Tuesday.

The state now has a total of 618 cases, up from 400 previously reported.

The governor said he placed orders for a million N95 respirator masks and 3,000 thermometers.

5:31 p.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Tony-award winning playwright Terrence McNally dies due to complications from coronavirus 

From CNN's Dave Alsup

Playwright Terrence McNally at his New York City home on March 2.
Playwright Terrence McNally at his New York City home on March 2. Al Pereira/Getty Images

Four-time Tony award winning playwright Terrence McNally dies due to complications from coronavirus, according to his publicist Matt Polk. He was 81.

McNally died Tuesday in a hospital in Sarasota, Florida. Polk said the cause of death was due to complications from coronavirus.

McNally was a lung cancer survivor with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Polk said.

McNally is known for such plays as "Ragtime" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman."