COVID-19The Examiner

Patient at NWH Tests Positive for COVID-19; Byram Hills Closed Until April

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An unidentified patient who tested positive for COVID-19 is in Northern Westchester Hospital, one of three cases confirmed by Northwell Health Core Lab.

The Village of Mount Kisco issued a statement Thursday afternoon where local officials shared information that they had been notified by Northwell Health that one patient is currently in isolation at Northern Westchester Hospital while two other patients are recovering at home.

All staff at the hospital are following Centers for Disease Control guidelines and Northwell Health’s recommended protocols in attending to an infected patient.

“They have implemented strong clinical and operational protocols to quickly identify potential COVID-19 patients, isolate them appropriately, prevent transmission of infections and protect front-line caregivers from potential exposure,” the village’s statement read.

The hospital has taken several additional steps to protect patients, staff and visitors. It has temporarily suspended the volunteer program; issued a mask mandate for all staff in the Emergency Department, Cancer Center, GoHealth Urgent Care and Northwell’s EMS units; and canceled all external events and events on the campus with more than 20 people through May 5.

Furthermore, no one under 18 years old will be allowed to visit as well as anyone that is exhibiting any signs of respiratory infection, coughing or fever.

Thursday evening Byram Hills Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jen Lamia and Board of Education President Scott Levy put out a joint statement announcing that from next Wednesday, Mar. 18 through Friday, Apr. 3 the schools will be closed while the district arranges for e-learning. Schools will remain closed Friday, then students can access their lockers Monday and Tuesday and pick up Chromebooks on Tuesday, they said.

Schools officials hope to reopen after the week of Apr. 6, which is the week of the holiday break.

“It is imperative that the District respond to the threat of the proximity of cases to our area and the potential for the spread of this virus here in our community,” the statement read. “We just learned that a parent of students in multiple buildings is symptomatic after contact with another person with the coronavirus. While we realize that a change to our schedule poses potential childcare issues for families and that we will face challenges to optimize instruction, it is important that we take decisive action and attempt to stop the transmission of this virus in our community.”

Earlier Thursday, Mount Kisco Mayor Gina Picinich said the village is taking precautions to make sure its facilities, including the Fox Senior Center, Village Hall, recreation center and library, are sanitized.

The village is continuing to run its nutrition and recreation programs for seniors because many of them need the meals and socialization, Picinich said. About 100 seniors receive meals, and roughly half of those are home-bound.

Picinich said it’s critical to balance understandable trepidation with the facts.

“It’s important that we keep our dietary program running,” Picinich said. “Fortunately, there are protocols that we put in place at our senior center when flu season starts.”

Anyone who is returning from Florida or other areas now that winter is ending will be asked to hold off visiting the facilities for about a week to make sure they have no symptoms, she said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Mount Kisco Public Library remained open and was operating most programs.

Meanwhile, the Town of North Castle is limiting public access to its facilities. The Town Hall Annex will be closed to the public while there will be limited access to the Hergenhan Recreation Center and the Armonk and North White Plains branches of the public library. The libraries have canceled all programs through the end of the month.

The Town Court and police department will remain open.

Anyone with questions or who is in need of services from a particular department is asked to call or e-mail the office they need.

The Mount Pleasant School District will be closed on Friday to allow the district to complete a “deep cleaning” of its facilities, said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kurtis Kotes. Schools are expected to reopen on Monday.

The Pleasantville School District announced it will have a two-hour delay on Friday to allow staff to prepare and test eLearning protocols to plan in case of a long-term closure. Also, performances of this weekend’s high school musical have been canceled. All of the district’s buildings will be closed by 6:30 p.m. each day for enhanced cleaning and disinfection, according to a district communication.

Public libraries in Chappaqua and Mount Pleasant have suspended programming but currently remain open.

The Jacob Burns Film Center is also suspending all film screenings and education programs starting Friday through Mar. 31.

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