News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.
There will be no COVID-related restrictions throughout Westchester County despite continued elevated readings of the virus in the community.
County Executive George Latimer said Monday that active cases in the county reached 5,711 as of Saturday, 235 more than the previous week. Hospitalizations remain nearly unchanged at 112 on Saturday, down from 113 COVID-19 patients the previous weekend.
As of now, there will be no establishment of fresh mandates such as requiring mask wearing in indoor spaces, Latimer reiterated. Currently, the only mask requirement in Westchester is on the Bee-Line buses.
“We are trying out best to manage with a restoration to normalcy as the greatest part of our strategy,” Latimer said. “We reserve the right if the numbers spike much higher than the are today to look at additional activities that we may need to take, but as of this update we have no plans to do that.”
As a further return to pre-pandemic times, Latimer announced that the County Center in White Plains will cease its COVID testing operations at the end of Friday. In recent weeks, the facility has been administering an average of nine to 10 tests a day as the availability of at-home testing kits and at other places have become routine.
Despite the steady increase in cases over the past couple of months, the rate of fatalities is constant to falling. In recent weeks, Westchester has seen a steady average of about two COVID-19-related deaths a week, down from five a couple of months ago.
Since the start of the pandemic, 2,775 county residents have died from the virus.
It appears that the immunocompromised and the elderly remain largely the most vulnerable population, Latimer said.
The falling hospitalization rate and instances of fatalities is likely the result of Westchester being among the most vaccinated counties in the region, he said.
“We’re seeing a lower percentage of hospitalizations and a lower level of fatalities even as we see a steady rise in the number of people who are infected,” Latimer said.
Overall, the state saw a 9.1 positivity rate on Sunday and a seven-day rolling average of 8 percent, according to New York’s COVID tracker. This month, the daily statewide positivity rate has been as low as 5.1 percent on May 12 and as high as 10 percent on May 15.
Locally, Westchester registered a 10.3 percent reading on Sunday and 9.1 percent on the seven-day average. Meanwhile, Putnam County had a 7.2 percent reading on Sunday and an 11 percent average over the past seven days.
Beaches, Pools on Track to Open
As of Monday, the county isn’t planning to invoke any restrictions to its beaches and pools this summer.
Croton Point Beach in Croton-on-Hudson and Glen Island Beach in New Rochelle are scheduled to open beginning this Saturday and remain open for the entire three-day holiday weekend. Croton Point Beach will only be open on weekends plus the three Monday holidays, which also include the Fourth of July and Labor Day, this year because of ongoing work on capital projects at that site.
Glen Island Beach will be open daily starting with the last weekend in June.
The county’s four swimming pools – Saxon Woods Park in White Plains, Sprain Ridge Park and Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers and Willson’s Woods Park in Mount Vernon – are scheduled to return on Friday, June 24 and operate daily as well, weather permitting, through Labor Day.
“Our pools and beaches are the perfect destination to spend summer days,” said Kathy O’Connor, the commissioner of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation said in a statement. “I’m excited for the season to kick-off and welcome residents back.”
Hours for all beaches and pools will be 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Westchester residency is required at Glen Island Park and all pools. Proof of residency must be shown with either a Westchester County Park Pass or a New York State driver’s license showing a valid Westchester County address.
Park passes also offer discounted admission and parking and are available at a variety of locations. For more information, visit parks.westchestergov.com.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/