New York will restrict visitations at state correctional facilities in order to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, prison officials on Saturday announced.
The move will take effect Saturday at 5 p.m. and ends April 11.
There are about 44,000 inmates in the state prison system.
"As this public health emergency rapidly develops, the Department will closely monitor the situation and extend these restrictions as necessary," the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said in a statement.
Prison officials said special arrangements will be made for inmates to have them stay in touch with loved ones.
The includes five free stamps a week to send letters, two messages a week through a tablet program and a free phone call per week.
There are now 524 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday confirmed the first death related to the virus: An 82-year-old woman from Brooklyn who also had emphysema.
The total number of cases is believed to be much higher; Cuomo on Friday announced testing will increase with the approval of 28 private laboratories to conduct tests for coronavirus.
By next week, testing could increase to 6,000 tests a day.
Cuomo and state lawmakers, meanwhile, are discussing ways of mitigating the fallout from the spread of the virus and the upending of everyday life.
The Legislature returns to Albany on Monday, and lawmakers are expected to consider legislation to allow for at least five to seven days of paid sick leave, with considerations for people affected coronavirus.
At the same time, Cuomo wants considerations made for political petitioning which is due April 1 for candidates seeking ballot access, but hampered by efforts to socially distance people.
And Cuomo wants more considerations made for the effect the economic fallout will have on unemployment insurance, expected to skyrocket as the result of people losing their jobs.