March 30 coronavirus news

By Amy Woodyatt, Julia Hollingsworth, Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 11:41 p.m. ET, March 30, 2020
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11:41 p.m. ET, March 30, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

10:41 p.m. ET, March 30, 2020

11 veterans have died at a Soldier's Home in Massachusetts. Five of them tested positive for coronavirus

Eleven veteran residents of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts have died -- and five of them tested positive for coronavirus, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse confirmed to CNN.

Test results are still pending for five of the remaining veterans.

The status of the last veteran who died is unknown, according to Mike Bloomberg, Morse’s chief of staff. 

Soldiers’ Home houses 233 residents and is run by the state of Massachusetts. Eleven additional veterans and five staff members have also tested positive for Covid-19, Morse said. 

Bennett Walsh, the facility’s superintendent, has been placed on paid administrative leave, effective immediately, according to a statement from Massachusetts Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Dan Tsai.

Walsh did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

All of the residents at Soldiers’ Home have been isolated and symptomatic employees have been advised to quarantine.

10:22 p.m. ET, March 30, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security has moved its National Operations Center after an employee tested positive

From CNN's Geneva Sands

The US Department of Homeland Security's National Operations Center has temporarily moved to an alternate location after an employee tested positive for coronavirus, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Deep cleaning of the office is expected to be completed in the next couple days, the source said. 

“We can confirm there is a case within the National Operations Center at St. Elizabeth’s campus," a DHS official confirmed to CNN.
"As a precaution, we have temporarily shifted the watch to an alternate facility in order to clean and sanitize the NOC in accordance with existing medical guidelines. This move will not impact operations."

According to DHS, the Operations Center operates 24 hours a day and serves as the "primary, national-level hub for situational awareness, a common operating picture, information fusion, information sharing and executive communications."

The relocation was first reported by Yahoo News.

10:02 p.m. ET, March 30, 2020

Doctors in California are "cautiously hopeful" that shelter at home measures could be working

From CNN's Dan Simon and Stephanie Becker

Two weeks after San Francisco issued the country’s first shelter in place order for residents to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus, hospital emergency rooms throughout the region appear to be seeing the early effects.

“The surge we have been anticipating has not yet come,” Dr. Jahan Fahimi, an emergency physician and medical director at the University of California, San Francisco, told CNN. “We’re all kind of together holding our breaths.”

As of Monday morning, the city reported a total of 374 confirmed infections and six deaths from the virus. While the availability of testing is still much lower than officials would like, the modest daily count compared to other major urban centers may be an encouraging sign that the early aggressive action in the country’s second most densely populated city is having its intended effect.

“We have already made a difference in saving lives,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said during a news conference Monday, though she and other officials repeatedly cautioned that US communities are still in the early stages of the battle against the virus.

"We’re watching the data very carefully,” added Dr Grant Colfax, the city’s public health director, cautioning that the numbers could still explode rapidly.

The situation in Los Angeles: But that sense of hope has not necessarily reached Los Angeles County, where hospitals are seeing a steady increase in the number of patients.

Close to 2,500 people are confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus in the county, with 342 new cases reported in the past two days.

"Honestly, I would be very, very cautious because I really think we are at the beginning of the uptick,” Dr Armand Dorian, the chief medical officer at the University of Southern California Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale, said.

Across town at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, doctors expressed more optimism in the early efforts.

“We are cautiously hopeful that there has been a flattening of the steep curve because we have not seen the exponential rise of traffic coming in,” said Dr Anish Mahajan, the hospital’s chief medical officer, referring to the rate of new transmissions. 

Harbor-UCLA has seen a steady rise in coronavirus patients in recent days, increasing from 12 patients on Thursday to 35 on Monday.

“And that may be because of the stay at home order,” Mahajan said. “But it’s far too premature to say because we have done such little testing.

What the authorities say: At a news conference Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom was asked if officials were beginning to see a flattening of the curve of coronavirus patients.

“We’re in the middle of this. It would be too easy to say what has or has not worked,” Newsom said. “The stay home effort has bought us time to prepare.”

California currently has at least 5,763 coronavirus cases, including 118 deaths.

9:43 p.m. ET, March 30, 2020

The Los Angeles Convention Center could be used to house coronavirus patients

The Los Angeles Convention Center has been offered to hospitals in Los Angeles County to be used as an additional facility to house more patients, Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed in a news conference Monday.

Initially, the convention center was going to be used for non-coronavirus patients, but they’ve been asked to use the space for coronavirus patients, Garcetti said.

Over 3,000 medical professionals have volunteered to help, according to Garcetti.

“We’ll scramble and figure out how we can build a hospital for the first time, or a field facility, as it’s being formally called, in the convention center to help save lives,” Garcetti said.

9:21 p.m. ET, March 30, 2020

Hawaii orders quarantine for people traveling between the state's major islands

Hawaii has introduced strict new measures, requiring those who travel between the state's eight major islands to self-isolate for 14 days, Gov. David Ige announced.

The order goes into effect on Tuesday and will last through at least April 30.

Last week, Ige ordered similar mandatory quarantine measures for anyone entering the state by air, regardless of whether they are a resident or a visitor. The orders do not apply to essential workers and flight crews.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green -- a medical doctor who is the state’s coronavirus prevention liaison -- said in a news conference on Monday that the rate of infection could increase dramatically if people don’t follow the quarantine orders. 

“That is how we lose,” Green said. “That is how people die in the state of Hawaii.”

Hawaii has 204 confirmed coronavirus cases and no deaths.

9:03 p.m. ET, March 30, 2020

The US federal government sent the wrong masks, says Illinois governor

The White House told the US state of Illinois that it would receive 300,000 N95 masks -- but instead, the state got surgical masks, says Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“My team is sorting through the shipment of 300,000 N95 masks the White House personally told me would be sent to our state," he said at a news conference Monday.
"While we do not have a final count on this yet, I can say with certainty that what they sent were not the N95 masks that were promised but instead were surgical masks, which is not what we asked for.
“I can’t emphasize enough how much we need the federal government to step up and amplify the size of their PPE (personal protective equipment) deliveries to Illinois and frankly across the nation.”

This was the third federal shipment of PPE Illinois has received and it arrived Sunday. But the governor said Illinois had so far received only a “small fraction” of what the state had asked for.

The state of Illinois currently has 5,057 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 73 deaths.

Pritzker also called on President Donald Trump to use the Defense Production Act to direct companies to increase PPE production.

Read more about the Defense Production Act here.

8:39 p.m. ET, March 30, 2020

All farmers markets in Los Angeles will be suspended

All farmers markets in Los Angeles will be temporarily suspended, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced at a news conference today.

The farmers markets have become too crowded, he said.

The city will require all farmers markets to submit plans immediately that enforce physical distancing and ensure safe operations. Garcetti explained that it will likely result in one entrance and one exit with people safely lined up to enter.

He reminded Los Angeles residents that if there are too many people to simply wait before going.

8:27 p.m. ET, March 30, 2020

Rent the Runway lays off retail workers after store closures due to coronavirus

From CNN's Kate Trafecante

Designer clothing rental company Rent the Runway is laying off retail staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the company said it has had "to make some difficult decisions in the short term to thrive in the long term which include temporary store closures and retail role eliminations."

Rent the Runway primarily operates online, but has brick and mortar locations in New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, and San Francisco. 

The company did not provide CNN with the number of employees affected, but did say it would continue to provide health insurance coverage.

"While we don’t have a sense of how long our business will be impacted, we remain committed to serving and supporting our employees and customers during this challenging time,” the company added.