Gov. Andrew Cuomo has placed five Westchester County municipalities in a yellow zone on Thursday as coronavirus cases continue to surge throughout the region.
Portions of Ossining, Peekskill, Tarrytown, Yonkers, and New Rochelle are now considered yellow zones, requiring specific zip codes to follow new restrictions and state mandates to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As a result, there will be increased community testing, tracing support, enforcement, education, and compliance efforts.
Targeted areas include zip codes 10562, which contains most of the Village of Ossining and a small corner of the Town of Ossining; 10566 in Peekskill; 10591, which spans Tarrytown and portions of Sleepy Hollow; 10801 in New Rochelle; and areas 10703 and 10705 in Yonkers.
Port Chester remans in an orange warning zone.
“The yellow zones highlight where there is a concentration of infection and therefore we are now tasked with putting additional effort to try to reduce the infection into that area so we will not see it expand further and potentially cause life-threatening realities of Covid,” County Executive George Latimer said on Thursday. “These five (areas), we have begun the process of working with those communities prior to today’s announcement.”
New restrictions will limit mass gatherings both indoor and outdoor to 25 people, with restaurants scaling persons per table for both indoor and outdoor dining to four people. Houses of worship will now be restricted to 50 percent capacity and schools can remain open with mandatory weekly testing of 20 percent of students, teachers, and staff for in-person settings.
Latimer said the county will work with school districts to provide the testing it needs.
Businesses can remain open with no restrictions. However, if an area is increased to an orange zone, non-essential businesses, such as gyms and personal care, will be forced to close.
There are no restrictions on traveling in or out of the zone, nor are there restrictions on whether residents who live in the zone can go to work. Furthermore, all family visitation will be suspended at the Westchester County Jail starting Monday. Latimer said inmates will receive two stamped envelopes, with calling cards provided to families.
Violators who incite mass gatherings will be fined $15,000, according to state mandates.
To target micro-clusters, Cuomo instituted a program that will label certain areas red, orange, or yellow zones depending on the nature of the infection rate. The label would apply more stringent restrictions on gatherings, activities, businesses, and schools, in addition to the current mandates in place.
A yellow zone is the lowest of the three-tier system.
To be classified as a yellow zone, the lowest of the three-tier system, an area would need a 7-day rolling average positivity rate above 2.5% for 10 days and the addition of 10 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on a 7-day average.
Latimer stressed that additional measures need to be taken to combat the serious rise in COVID-19 cases and infections countywide. He hopes the community can work together to reduce the spread of coronavirus and avoid advancing to the next warning level that would result in harsher regulations.
“The hope and the expectations is that by our efforts and actions, we will reduce the infections to a level sufficient to which an orange zone can be reduced to a yellow zone and a yellow zone can be lifted and that would resume the normal circumstances,” Latimer said. “But the numbers tell us that we are moving in a different direction.”
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus in Westchester & Putnam counties on Nov. 19
Cases of the coronavirus increased by 360 in Westchester County on Wednesday, bringing the total number of positive cases to 45,335 since the start of the pandemic.
The county reported three more deaths, resulting in a total of 1,493 COVID-19-releated fatalities since March, according to the state tracker. With the additional positive results, Westchester now has 3,975 active coronavirus cases.
The county’s positivity rate has also increased to 4.91 percent, according to state data. As of Thursday, the were 135 hospitalizations, Latimer said.
Putnam County’s total caseload has reached 2,269 since mid-March, according to the state, with 26 additional positive cases accounted for on Wednesday. The county currently has a 5.51 percent positivity rate, state data shows.
There have been 64 coronavirus-related deaths in Putnam. No new deaths were reported on Wednesday.
Statewide there were 5,294 new positive cases, with the positivity rate rising to 3.43 percent. That state recorded 35 additional COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 26,225.
In a conversation with Latimer on Wednesday, county Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler said the recent spike in cases is in part due to Halloween and people gathering. She said the holiday gave the virus a “jump start” back in the community, with cases now consistently registering in the triple digits.
“I think that this is probably what we’re going to see as the cases continue to increase until we have a vaccine or the public really starts to take what we’re saying seriously and really puts the measures to use that we know work, which is masking, social distancing, avoiding large groups or any groups,” Amler said. “Until people go back to doing that, we’re not going to see a decline in our numbers.”
Since Oct. 31, the county has logged 4,538 cases, according to state data.
While school districts across Westchester have been forced to temporarily transition to a remote learning model due to COVID-19 exposures, Amler said data has shown that students, teachers, and staff members aren’t infected while in school. She added that school districts have done a great job adapting in recent months and tackling any potential exposures.
“Most of the exposures seem to be outside of school,” Amler said. “Certainly, after Halloween we saw some schools had significant number of cases; those cases didn’t occur in school, they occurred because people got together and unfortunately the virus was spread at those events.”
Amler added that many panic when a district reports a large number of people testing positive or being placed into quarantine, but stressed the virus hasn’t spread within schools.
“As far as I can tell that didn’t happen,” she said.
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo advised Thanksgiving plans be halted to prevent further spread of the virus, county officials encouraged residents to keep their Thanksgiving celebrations small and as safe as possible by following certain safety precautions.
Some safety measures include keeping windows open to promote cross-ventilation, keeping guests out of the kitchen, washing or sanitizing hands frequently, having guests wear masks unless eating or drinking, avoid passing platters from person-to-person, requesting guests reduce their contacts and potential exposures prior to their visit, and having returning college students get tested for COVID prior to arrival.
Furthermore, advise guests to follow guidelines when traveling and to stay home if experiencing any COVID symptoms, awaiting test results or are under quarantine or isolation orders.
“This is the year to make your Thanksgiving gathering more intimate, and to cherish your immediate family members and traditions,” Latimer said. “Consider setting time for a virtual visit with distant relatives and friends. If you do invite others to your holiday table, spend some time outdoors and keep the windows open when you’re inside.”
School News & Business Closures
- Valhalla Middle School will be operating on a fully remote learning model through Nov. 30. The Odin cohort will resume in-person learning on Dec. 2.
- Park School and Ossining High School will reopen for in-person learning on Nov. 23.
- North Salem Central School District will reopen for in-person learning on Nov. 30.
- Westlake Middle School will reopen for hybrid, in-person instruction on Nov. 30.
- On Tuesday, Pleasantville Middle School quarantined 25 students and 13 staff members after an individual tested positive for coronavirus. The school will remain open.
- The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced high-risk winter sports will be delayed to January.
- Kisco Seafood will remain closed until all staff members have tested negative for COVID-19. The decision to shut down comes after possible exposure to the virus.
- Basilico Pizza in Mt. Kisco will close until further notice after staff members displayed symptoms of COVID-19. The business will reopen after everyone has received negative test results.
Putnam County COVID-19 Health Advisories
Here are the latest health advisories issued by the Putnam County Department of Health. Those who worked at or visited these businesses are being asked to monitor their symptoms after members of the public tested positive for COVID-19.
- Harlan Check Cashing & Financial Services at 1515 Route 22 in Brewster was exposed from Nov. 2 to Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nov. 6 and 7 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The advisory will remain in effect through Sunday.
- World Gym Brewster at 1620 Route 22 in Brewster was exposed on Nov. 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Nov. 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The advisory will expire on Nov. 23.
- ShopRite Supermarket at 184 Route 52 in Carmel was exposed on Nov. 7 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The advisory will remain in effect through Friday.
- Red Mills Pub at 575 Route 6N in Mahopac Falls was exposed on Nov. 7 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The advisory will expire on Sunday.
Westchester Active Coronavirus Cases by Municipality
Here are the active cases by municipality in Westchester as of Wednesday. 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 – 8
- Bedford – 61
- Briarcliff Manor – 21
- Bronxville – 18
- Buchanan – 9
- Cortlandt – 79
- Croton-on-Hudson – 20
- Dobbs Ferry – 45
- Eastchester – 62
- Elmsford – 18
- Greenburgh – 100
- Harrison – 96
- Hastings-on-Hudson – 18
- Irvington – 119
- Larchmont – 15
- Lewisboro – 29
- Mamaroneck Town – 22
- Mamaroneck Village – 59
- Mount Kisco – 65
- Mount Pleasant – 65
- Mount Vernon – 205
- New Castle – 49
- New Rochelle – 354
- North Castle – 44
- North Salem – 19
- Ossining Town – 19
- Ossining Village – 147
- Peekskill – 146
- Pelham – 16
- Pelham Manor – 13
- Pleasantville – 24
- Port Chester – 231
- Pound Ridge – 7
- Rye Brook – 47
- Rye City – 49
- Scarsdale – 28
- Sleepy Hollow – 71
- Somers – 57
- Tarrytown – 31
- Tuckahoe – 17
- White Plains – 181
- Yonkers – 540
- Yorktown – 146
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