Coronavirus Updates for Jan. 5: Westchester’s Active Cases Approaching Last Spring’s Levels; New COVID Strain Confirmed in New York

As Westchester County experienced a three-day surge in coronavirus cases just one week after Christmas, state and county officials anticipate the numbers will continue to worsen in the weeks ahead.

After the county started to see new and active cases dwindle, the area accounted for nearly 3,000 new cases in a matter of three days, indicating a post-holiday surge that health officials spent months warning about. Last Thursday, there were 959 cases reported, with 953 added on Friday and 1,013 recorded Saturday. 

“We were hopefully optimistic about 10 days ago when we saw the numbers start to decrease just a little bit, but now they’ve increased much more dramatically,” County Executive George Latimer said during his Monday briefing. “The numbers that we’re at today is analogous to the numbers we had in April.”

Coronavirus cases increased by 544 on Monday, bringing the total number of positives in Westchester to 72,762 since the start of the pandemic. The county currently has 9,389 active cases, an increase of 1,432 over last week.

Latimer noted how Westchester had reached a peak of 12,000 active cases in April, fearing the area’s caseload will continue to climb and surpass that number based on recent data.

“We’re not far from the peak,” Latimer said. “The way we’ve jumped up in the last few weeks would lend us to think we still have some climbing to do.”

The daily positivity rate is now 7.58 percent, a number that is based on 7,180 COVID-19 tests administered on Saturday. Overall, over 1.4 million tests have been given since March.

The county reported two more deaths on Monday, raising the COVID-19-related death toll to 1,683 since March, according to the state tracker. While 31 people have died of the virus in the last week, Latimer said the county has had a total of 165 fatalities since Thanksgiving.

He added that Westchester lost the same number of people to the virus in the span of five months between May 23 and Oct. 20, signaling the significant rise has been the result of the holiday season, folks gathering in large numbers indoors and ignoring health guidelines.

Latimer called it “very sobering statistics.”

“We hope we’ll see a cresting or flattening of the curve here, but we have no reason to think that’s going to happen given the number we’ve seen,” Latimer said.

As of Jan. 2, there are 455 virus patients in Westchester hospitals, an increase of 63 over the last week. A month prior, the county reported 244 hospitalizations.

Putnam County’s total caseload has reached 5,162, with 78 additional positive cases recorded on Monday. The county’s daily positivity rate is 9.47 percent, with 824 tests administered Saturday.

Putnam currently has 956 active cases. 

There have been 67 coronavirus-related deaths in Putnam. No new deaths were reported on Monday.

Statewide there were 11,209 new positive cases on Monday. The daily positivity rate is 8.34 percent.

The state recorded 170 additional COVID-19-related fatalities, bringing the death toll to 30,648 since March.

Total hospitalizations are at 8,251, an increase of 288 over the previous day. Across New York there have been 1,028,362 positive coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

“What we’re seeing in New York and all across this country is growing numbers of hospitalizations, infections and deaths, they are all a consequence of our actions.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “If the infection rate increases, then regions can close and that’s the last thing anybody wants. If you don’t want that, then do something about it – be smart, practice safe behaviors and reduce the infection rate.”

Here are the latest updates on Jan. 5

Cuomo announced New York’s first case of the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in 60-year-old man from Saratoga County. The individual had no known history of travel when he tested positive for the strain, he said.

“He was symptomatic, but he is on the mend and he’s doing better,” Cuomo said. “He did not travel recently, so this suggests that it’s in the community, it was community spread as opposed to having traveled to the UK.” 

The strain, which has also been found in California, Florida and Colorado, is thought to be 70 percent more transmissible but doesn’t appear to make people more ill.

Westchester Active Coronavirus Cases by Municipality 

Here are the active cases by municipality in Westchester as of Monday. 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 – 36
  • Bedford – 112
  • Briarcliff Manor – 44
  • Bronxville – 36
  • Buchanan – 36
  • Cortlandt – 358
  • Croton-on-Hudson – 89
  • Dobbs Ferry – 77
  • Eastchester – 219
  • Elmsford – 62
  • Greenburgh – 329
  • Harrison – 244
  • Hastings-on-Hudson – 43
  • Irvington – 38
  • Larchmont – 52
  • Lewisboro – 50
  • Mamaroneck Town – 68
  • Mamaroneck Village – 257
  • Mount Kisco – 98
  • Mount Pleasant – 229
  • Mount Vernon – 472
  • New Castle – 71
  • New Rochelle – 810
  • North Castle – 92
  • North Salem – 43
  • Ossining Town – 55
  • Ossining Village – 328
  • Peekskill – 350
  • Pelham – 59
  • Pelham Manor – 69
  • Pleasantville – 48
  • Port Chester – 359
  • Pound Ridge – 25
  • Rye Brook – 85
  • Rye City – 131
  • Scarsdale – 59
  • Sleepy Hollow – 195
  • Somers – 197
  • Tarrytown – 104
  • Tuckahoe – 55
  • White Plains – 570
  • Yonkers – 2,226
  • Yorktown – 431

School News & Business Closures 

School Closures

  • 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
  • White Plains Public School will be on remote learning through Jan. 8
  • Croton Harmon Schools will be remote through Jan. 8
  • Yorktown 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 Jan. 11.
  • 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.

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.