New Castle Supervisor Ivy Pool admonished residents in her town this week who are pointing fingers at fellow residents for contributing to a recent spike in active COVID-19 cases.
Pool spent nearly 10 minutes at the start of this week’s Town Board meeting as well as posting on social media urging others to “stop playing the blame game” after she received e-mails and texts as well as reading online posts that accused various sets of community members for the increase.
The active case number in New Castle has ranged from 22 to 23 from Tuesday through Thursday, up from the consistent single-digit caseload for most of the crisis. The only exception to that until now was attributed to the 27 cases stemming from the Horace Greeley High School graduation in late June.
“We need to stop shifting the blame and start taking responsibility,” Pool stated. “Why is this critically important? Because when we shame one another, we make people less likely to provide (New York State) contact tracers with accurate, honest and timely information that is essential to stopping community spread and keeping our schools and businesses open.”
The single largest source of the cluster were 10 cases connected with Oak Lane Child Care Center on Memorial Drive in Chappaqua. The center reported to county health officials last week that one individual had tested positive for COVID-19. Families and staff members were notified and the school was closed, but it was determined that five children and five teachers tested positive.
The facility will be closed until next Wednesday, when the 14-day quarantine period concludes.
In a statement to the community, Oak Lane Children Care Center Executive Director Ronnie Weinberger said the center has undergone a deep cleaning and all students and staff will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test or a Release from Isolation Notice to return.
Pool said that at least another two active cases are a result of college students from Chappaqua who tested positive and are quarantining at their out-of-state schools. Students who are out of state but whose family health insurance traces back to the local area are counted in their home community’s statistics.
Several of the cases are likely due to people having returned from vacations or a general loosening of personal behavior, she said. Pool urged residents to wear masks, social distance and avoid large gatherings because the virus hasn’t left the community.
“After we loosen the precautions the numbers will ramp up,” Pool said. “So it’s incumbent upon all of us to treat this seriously and do all that we can to be vigilant.”
New Castle has not been alone in seeing an uptick in cases this month. Earlier this week, the county reported 587 active cases, up from a low of 420 recorded last month. However, county officials were not overly concerned because there were slight increases in most communities throughout Westchester.
While the seven-county Mid-Hudson Region had the highest percentage of positive tests on Wednesday of the state’s 10 regions at 1.4 percent, Westchester accounted for 38 positives, or 0.8 percent, according to the state’s daily coronavirus tracker.