Coronavirus Updates for Dec. 5: Virus Surge Linked to Noncompliance as Westchester County Adds Over 760 New Cases

After testing hit record heights in Westchester County over the Thanksgiving holiday, cases of coronavirus increased by 768 on Friday, the highest daily tally the county has seen since April.

The latest surge in COVID-19 cases comes eight days after Thanksgiving, something health officials tried to prevent by stressing the need to avoid non-essential travel and family gatherings over the holiday. Since, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the recent uptick is stemmed from noncompliance and at-home get-togethers.

“We’re having a number of positive tests that are really significantly higher than anything we’ve seen in the period of time since we were at the peak period in the early part of the spring,” County Executive George Latimer said during a briefing on Friday. “When you are running 500-plus new positives a day, that is a tremendous amount of infection that is happening in absolute numbers.”

Westchester’s total number of positive cases has risen to 53,168 since the start of the pandemic. The county currently has 7,122 active cases, state data shows, with the daily positive infection rate 6.65 percent, a number that is based on 11,541 tests administered Friday.

Westchester reported two more deaths, resulting in a total of 1,527 COVID-19-releated fatalities since March, according to the state tracker. Twelve people have died from coronavirus this week.

As of Wednesday, there were 292 virus patients in Westchester hospitals, an increase of 245 over the last month. With about 3,000 total hospital beds within the county, Latimer said 10 percent of hospital resources is occupied with COVID patients.

“To go from 47 hospitalizations to 292 is a concerning line,” Latimer said.

Putnam County’s total caseload has reached 3,107, according to the state, with 69 additional positive cases recorded on Friday. The county’s daily positivity rate is 6.95 percent of 993 tests, state data shows. There are 772 active cases.

There have been 64 coronavirus-related deaths in Putnam. No new deaths were reported on Friday.

Statewide there were 11,271 new positive cases on Friday, a 1,416 increase over the previous day, according to the state tracker. The daily positivity rate is now 5.41 percent.

The state recorded 60 additional COVID-19-related fatalities, bringing the death toll to 27,017 since March.

Total hospitalizations are at 4,222, an increase of 159 over the previous day, according to state data. Across the state there has been a total of 685,364 positive coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

Here are the latest updates on Dec. 5

Of the 29 areas labeled COVID-19 hotspots throughout New York, Port Chester, Peekskill, and Ossining continue to have the worst infection rates, a trend that has remained consistent all week.

On Friday, the seven-day rolling average of those tested in Port Chester rose to 10.27 percent. Both Ossining and Peekskill’s rolling average slightly declined over the previous day, with the former reporting 8.93 percent test positivity rates and the latter now 9.68 percent.

Currently, portions of Ossining, Peekskill, Tarrytown, Yonkers, and New Rochelle are designated a COVID-19 yellow zone. Port Chester is still in an orange warning zone.

The zoning designation is part of a three-tiered, color-coded system imposed by the state to reduce high infection rates and target micro-clusters. If labeled a hotspot, with yellow the lowest and red the highest, additional restrictions are implemented to mitigate the virus’ spread.

While Yonkers and New Rochelle reported lower infection rates on Friday compared to earlier in the week, Tarrytown saw a slight increase in test positivity, state data shows.

Yonkers has a seven-day average of 4.61 percent, with New Rochelle reporting 5.67 percent. Tarrytown’s percent positive rate is 5.36 percent, a rise from 4.56 percent on Thursday.

As of Friday, 20 million COVID-19 test results have been reported to New York State since the pandemic began. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Friday that a lack of compliance among residents and a lack of enforcement by local municipalities has contributed to the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

“Our largest two problems right ow are the 70 percent spread in households and small gatherings, aggregated by the holiday season, and lack of compliance with restrictions,” Cuomo said. “It’s driven by social fatigue, social resentment, social noncompliance and a lack of government enforcement.”

While New York has one of the nation’s lowest infection rates, Cuomo stressed that cases will continue to increase if restrictions are ignored. He implored local law enforcement and business to ensure state mandates are followed to prevent the infection rate from worsening.

“I understand COVID fatigue and that people are resentful of these regulations, but if you don’t enforce the restrictions, and if the restrictions are violated, then they’re pointless,” Cuomo said. “They have to be enforced.”

School News & Closures 

School Closures

  • Carmel High School will transition to remote learning through Jan. 8, with the remaining Carmel Central School District buildings beginning remote learning Dec. 14 to Jan. 8.
  • Peekskill City School District will close and shift to virtual learning through Jan. 4.
  • All students in 6 East, Hybrid One and Two at Fox Lane Middle School will learn remotely at home through Dec. 15th.
  • Fox Lane High School will be fully remote on Monday.

Westchester Active Coronavirus Cases by Municipality 

Here are the active cases by municipality in Westchester as of Friday. With a lag between the total number of cases confirmed by the state and the tally of cases by town, the total number of municipal cases might be slightly different than what the county’s active cases reflects.

  • Ardsley – 28
  • Bedford – 126
  • Briarcliff Manor – 48
  • Bronxville – 33
  • Buchanan – 16
  • Cortlandt – 163
  • Croton-on-Hudson – 34
  • Dobbs Ferry – 47
  • Eastchester – 155
  • Elmsford – 52
  • Greenburgh – 243
  • Harrison – 159
  • Hastings-on-Hudson – 20
  • Irvington – 28
  • Larchmont – 26
  • Lewisboro – 86
  • Mamaroneck Town – 40
  • Mamaroneck Village – 164
  • Mount Kisco – 138
  • Mount Pleasant – 117
  • Mount Vernon – 347
  • New Castle – 58
  • New Rochelle – 589
  • North Castle – 62
  • North Salem – 44
  • Ossining Town – 15
  • Ossining Village – 287
  • Peekskill – 221
  • Pelham – 50
  • Pelham Manor – 30
  • Pleasantville – 45
  • Port Chester – 270
  • Pound Ridge – 18
  • Rye Brook – 59
  • Rye City – 95
  • Scarsdale – 58
  • Sleepy Hollow – 91
  • Somers – 103
  • Tarrytown – 72
  • Tuckahoe – 22
  • White Plains – 390
  • Yonkers – 1,116
  • Yorktown – 203

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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