Coronavirus Updates for Dec. 19: Daily Testing Reaches Record High as Westchester County Adds Over 700 New Cases

As daily testing reached an all-time high in Westchester County, coronavirus cases increased by 716 on Friday.

The county’s total number of COVID-19 cases has reached 61,827 since March, state data shows. Westchester now has 8,641 active cases, a slight decrease from the previous day, with the daily positive infection rate 5.53 percent.

The county reported 10 more deaths, increasing the death toll to 1,594 COVID-19-related fatalities since March. This week, Westchester has accounted for 36 fatalities, a stark comparison to the summer months when 11 overall deaths were reported in July and August combined.

Testing reached an all-time high since the start of the pandemic, with nearly 13,000 COVID-19 tests administered on Thursday. Overall, close to 1.3 million tests have been given since March, with 12,949 individuals tested on Thursdays, state data shows.

As of Thursday, there were about 360 virus patients in Westchester hospitals.

Putnam County’s total caseload has reached 4,035, according to the state, with 60 additional positive cases recorded on Friday. The county’s daily positivity rate is 5.58 percent, with 1,076 tests administered Thursday, state data shows.

Data for Thursday marks it the third-highest daily testing day in Putnam County since March.

Putnam County currently has 928 active cases, another slight decrease over the previous day.

There have been 66 coronavirus-related deaths in Putnam. No new deaths were reported on Friday.

Statewide there were 12,697 new positive cases on Friday, according to the state tracker. The daily positivity rate is now 5.09 percent.

The state recorded 120 additional COVID-19-related fatalities, bringing the death toll to 28,344 since March.

Total hospitalizations are at 6,081, a decrease 66 over the previous day, according to state data. Across the state there has been a total of 828,166 positive coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

Here are the latest updates on Dec. 19

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday announced that the New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force has reviewed and approved use of the Moderna vaccine within the state. New York expects to receive approximately 346,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week, pending final FDA authorization.

“The faster we vaccinate people, the quicker new COVID cases go down, and the potential six-to-nine-month timelines is all in our control,” Cuomo said. “I believe we can avoid another shutdown because we can slow the spread and the hospitals can manage the increase in cases. This is now a footrace between the vaccine and COVID, and as we slow the spread, we also have to accelerate vaccine distribution at the same time.”

As Westchester County continues to experience a surge in coronavirus cases, Northern Westchester Hospital will be offering free COVID-19 diagnostic tests to the public.

COVID-19 tests are available to community members at the facilities Center for Healthy Living, located at 480 Bedford Road in Chappaqua, next to Whole Foods. With maximum safety measures in place to prevent exposure, health officials are only requesting residents schedule an appointment prior to arrival.

No prescription will be required during the no-cost appointment, and results will be given within one to three days of taking the test.

Health officials are asking those to be aware of any symptoms relating to the virus, including fever, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, or new loss of taste or smell. Other symptoms include, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

State law also requires those traveling out of the state for more than 24-hours to test for the virus upon their return. The mandate states travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York, and must, upon arrival to New York, quarantine for three days.

On day four of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine.

Click here to make an appointment or call the Center for Healthy Living at 914-223-1780.

The City of Peekskill will also host a free mobile COVID-19 testing event on today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at City Hall located at 840 Main Street. Appointments are required.

Patients will be asked for insurance, but do not need it to obtain a test. There is no co-pay and individuals will not receive a bill.

To register for an appointment click here or call 914-202-4530.

School News & Business Closures 

Business Closures

  • In Peekskill, Factoria, River Outpost, and Fin & Brew will be closed for the winter out of an abundance of caution with coronavirus cases rapidly increasing locally. Restaurants will reopen on March 15.

School Closures

  • Somers Central School District will shift to remote learning Dec. 21 to Dec. 23.
  • Carmel Central School District will transition to remote learning through Jan. 8.
  • Brewster Central School District will be on a remote learning schedule through Jan. 8
  • Greenburgh Central School District has transitioned all schools to remote learning through Dec. 21, for now.
  • Peekskill City School District will close and shift to virtual learning through Jan. 4.
  • Mahopac Central School District will transition to virtual learning until January.
  • Lakeland Central School District will shift to its fully remote model starting Thursday through Jan. 19.

*****Westchester County has suspended sharing the community breakdown map over the last number of days. Officials are currently trying to get additional and more accurate information to share, with the goal to have the map more closely align with the New York State Tracker. They are still working on trying to get correct and expand the data, and when they do map distribution will resume.

If your business or school district may have been exposed to COVID-19, please email ayoung@theexaminernews.com to be placed on our daily COVID-19 list.

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