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Active cases of COVID-19 have been steadily dropping over the past two weeks giving Westchester County the go-ahead to have a full schedule of summer events in the next two-and-a-half months.
As of Sunday, active cases in the county stood at 3,284, nearly flat from the previous week and down more than 1,500 from a month earlier on May 12, County Executive George Latimer said.
Over the past few weeks, the caseload has dropped precipitously in the county, down from 5,711 on May 21. The last time Westchester had a one-day percentage of positive cases at or above 10 percent was May 30. On Sunday, the positivity rate was 6.4 percent, and 7 percent on the seven-day rolling average.
Latimer said unless there is another flare-up, life will continue with some common-sense precautions for residents to take. The high rate of vaccinations helps to make that possible, he said.
“We don’t see it as the octopus strangling every other area of public policy,” Latimer said Monday. “We have vaccinated at a much higher rate than most or all of our neighboring counties and most other counties in New York State. We have seen some diminution in infection. We know that the infection is never going to go completely disappear and until and unless it explodes again, as it has in a couple other surges, we’re going to try be as practical-minded as we can.”
The only places where there is a mask mandate in the county is on Bee-Line buses. There is still a state mask mandate in place for most healthcare facilities.
Statewide, the infection rate on Sunday was 5.6 percent, representing a steady decline since the start of the month. The last time the statewide rate reached double figures was on May 31, according to the New York State COVID tracker.
The seven-county Mid-Hudson region clocked in on Sunday with a 7.2 percent infection rate, but the seven-date average stood at 5.4 percent.
Putnam County had the highest positivity rate in the region on Sunday, standing at 10.1 percent, nearly three points higher than its 7.4 percent seven-day figure. There were 20 positive tests returned in Putnam on Sunday out of 219 tests.
As a result of the area learning to manage through the COVID era, Westchester is opening all its beaches and pools this summer. Residents will also see the return of the traditional Fourth of July fireworks and musical program at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla on Sunday, July 3.
Latimer said since the start of the Memorial Day weekend the beaches at Croton Point Park and Glen Island have been open on the weekend. Starting June 24, those facilities along with the four county pools, Saxon Woods in White Plains, Willson Woods in Mount Vernon and Tibbetts Brook Park and Sprain Ridge in Yonkers, will be open daily, weather permitting.
“We’re very happy to have all six of the entities open this year,” Latimer said. “There are no particular COVID restrictions this year. We will make sure we sanitize surfaces and to the greater extent try to maintain normal, intelligent social distancing.”
Returning for the first time since 2019 is the July 4 celebration on the eve of the big holiday at Kensico Dam Plaza. Pre-concert entertainment begins at 5 p.m. with a guest DJ, followed by the FDR Drive Band, a cover band, at 7 p.m. Fireworks will follow at about 7:15 p.m. with the historic Kensico Dam as the backdrop.
Admission and parking are free but carpooling is suggested. Concert-goers should bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating as well as a picnic supper.
The full schedule of ethnic festivals at Kensico Dam Plaza with a few scheduled in Hartsdale has already begun.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/