Westchester COVID-19 Death Toll Hits 1,000 Residents

The death toll in Westchester County from COVID-19 surpassed 1,000 Tuesday night, however, the rate of deaths, infections and hospitalizations throughout the county and state is trending in a positive direction.

County Executive George Latimer said Wednesday that Westchester reached the grim milestone last night, which tempers the encouraging developments. In all, there have been 1,006 fatalities in the county.

“This is something that puts a gash in our lives that cannot be replaced,” Latimer said. “We will work through this; we will come back again as a society but we won’t get back these people that we lost.”

The number of new positive cases on Tuesday dipped to 381 in Westchester, according to statistics from the state Department of Health. While there have been 28,626 total cases since the start of the crisis in early March, there are 7,679 active cases, a number that continues to fall. Just shy of 91,000 tests have been conducted, nearly 10 percent of the county’s population.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are also down to 861 as of Tuesday, Latimer said.

In Putnam County, there have been 45 deaths from 945 confirmed cases.

There were 330 deaths in New York State on Tuesday, the lowest total in more than a month, and virus-related hospitalizations continue to fall slowly to more than 12,000. The three-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases stood at 957 on Tuesday, virtually unchanged from Monday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday laid out parameters that must be reached and maintained for a region of the state to reopen. Cuomo said that at least 30 percent of hospital beds and ICU beds must be available along with no statistically significant uptick of hospitalizations and new cases from diagnostic testing.

In addition, the rate of infection must be 1.1 people or less per infected person for the region to qualify for reopening.

On Monday, results from the first 7,500 random antibody tests suggested that six upstate regions could be candidates for reopening when the current stay-at-home order expires on May 15. The Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Capital District, Central New York, the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes all had positive antibody rates ranging from 1.2 to 2.7 percent.

Conversely, nearly one in four New York City residents tested positive for antibodies while Westchester and Rockland had a 15.1 percent rate and Long Island 14.4 percent.

The presence of COVID-19 antibodies means that a person had been infected by the virus and is believed to have some level of immunity.

Cuomo announced Wednesday that he would sign an executive order allowing for the resumption of elective surgery in 35 of the state’s 62 counties. Westchester, New York City and Long Island are not on that list but Putnam and Dutchess counties are.

New York has now reached an average of 30,000 diagnostic tests a day statewide, a 50 percent increase since last week, Cuomo said. The goal is to be able to conduct 40,000 tests daily.