Putnam County Nears ‘Yellow Zone’ Designation as COVID-19 Cases Rise

As COVID-19 cases rise locally and nationwide, Putnam County is at risk of receiving a yellow zone designation with the area reporting a positivity rate higher than what the state currently requires to operate without added restrictions.

With Gov. Andrew Cuomo implementing mandates to target micro-clusters statewide, red, orange, and yellow zone designations are applied to areas with rising coronavirus cases that meet the states criteria. The label would apply more stringent restrictions on gatherings, activities, businesses, and schools, in addition to the current mandates in place.

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.

As of Sunday, Putnam County reported 19 new positive cases, with 634 people tested, according to the state tracker. Earlier last week, the county saw the positivity rate exceed 5% for back-to-back days, with it reducing slightly during the week to about 3.0% , as of Sunday.

Between Nov. 9 and Nov. 15, the county recorded 175 new positive cases. In total, Putnam has had 64 coronavirus-related deaths since March.

The latest uptick is being attributed to Halloween gatherings, health officials warn.

“Putnam residents have come too far to go back,” officials pleaded in a Facebook post. “Please continue to wear your mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, and avoid gatherings with people outside of your household.”

If the area were to receive a yellow zone classification, public and private schools would be required to test 20% of all people on campus weekly, worship services would be limited to 50% capacity and restaurants would limit four people to sit per table. Businesses would remain open with no new restrictions.

However, if the positivity rate increases, resulting in the area labeled an orange or red zone, restrictions would be tightened to slow the spread of the virus. Such restrictions would include moving all schools to remote learning, with red zones resulting in the closure of non-essential businesses and restaurants only permitted to offer takeout and delivery service.

In a video message to the community on Friday, Mahopac Central School District superintendent Anthony DiCarlo said that while the district has experienced some exposures, he wants to continue to keep schools open and operating.

“We want our kids in as long as we can but as you know surrounding municipalities in Westchester are seeing yellow zones and we don’t want to get there,” he said. “If we get to a yellow zone, we’ll have to go fully remote and close down and we don’t want to do that.”

While health officials urging residents to wear a mask, social distance and stay home if symptoms arise, several notices have been issued warning of COVID-19 exposures in area businesses.

Here are the latest health advisories issued in Putnam County. 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.

Health officials are asking those to be aware of any symptoms relating to the virus, including fever, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, or new loss of taste or smell. Other symptoms include, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

If you have any questions, contact your physician or the Putnam County Department of Health at 845-808-1390. Testing information can be found at www.putnamcountyny.com/health/coronavirus.