Putnam Schools & Senior Centers Close, Jail Suspends Visitation

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell declared a State of Emergency for Putnam County effective March 13 and lasting through March 27 at midnight. She also issued an Emergency Order to suspend all classroom and extracurricular functions and close all public and private schools throughout the county as of Monday, March 16 for an initial five-day period, with an option to extend it for another five days.

During this time, no classroom or extracurricular activities may take place at the schools.

“Schools throughout the county are facing their toughest test yet,” said Odell. “While they need to educate students, they also need to keep them safe and prevent the spread of the virus to family members and the community at large. This order will help them do that.”

“The emergency declaration will give the county the most flexibility possible to deal with a potential crisis,” said Putnam County Legislature Chairwoman Toni Addonizio. “These are unusual times.”

According to news reports, as of Friday, there were 33 individuals in Putnam who were being monitored for COVID-19 symptoms due to recent travel or having come in contact with someone with the virus. According to Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Nesheiwat, all those being monitored are asymptomatic, but many lab tests are still outstanding.

Adjacent Westchester County continues to have the highest concentration of Coronavirus cases in the state.

Nesheiwat also acknowledged that the health department has received many complaints that resident are calling and not receiving an answer after leaving a message. ”We do apologize that our nurses are inundated with calls,” he said. “Please know that you are among many other people with concerns and questions. We are attempting to contact everybody who leaves us a message.”

Also, Putnam County Sheriff Robert Langley suspended all visitation to the Putnam County Correctional Facility effective Monday. In addition, all programs and religious services are canceled until further notice, the inmate work program will not be providing outside services to any facility until further notice,

“We know that these steps will be difficult for the families of inmates and the inmates themselves, however we must ensure that we protect everyone’s health – especially those confined to close quarters,” said Langley.

In addition, all senior centers and adult day service sites will be closed for two weeks, from Monday, March 16 through and including Friday, March 27. Meals will instead be delivered at home for those who need them.

“Since seniors are particularly vulnerable to this virus, it is just better to be safe than sorry,” said Odell.

The Office of Senior Resources will expand its home-delivered meal services while the senior centers are closed. Those who currently receive home-delivered meals will continue to do so. In addition, seniors who regularly attend the nutrition sites and who have been identified as in need of continued nutrition support will get meals delivered, according to OSR Director Michael Cunningham.

“No one in need will go hungry because of this necessary decision,” he said. “Our staff will continue to work throughout this period, delivering more meals than ever before. Plus, we are always just a phone call away.”

In addition to meals, the following services will also still be available to the county’s seniors during this time: telephone reassurance and expanded outreach to our at-risk seniors and site participants, caregiver support, legal services, HIICAP health insurance counseling and assistance, EISEP and home health aide support, and HEAP home energy assistance.

The sites affected are the Carmel friendship Center, the Putnam Valley Friendship Center, the Friendship Center at Philipstown and the William Koehler Senior Center in Mahopac.

Check back for updates on closures, cancellations and other updates as they become available. 

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