Coronavirus Special Report
With the news today that New York State has extended PAUSE until April 29th, we as a community continue to hunker down, stay home, and stop the spread of the virus. Here are a few recent updates:
- 14,294 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases in Westchester County
- 31% of Westchester County residents have received a positive test result
- 233 County residents have died, which is a 1.6% fatality rate.
- 377 County residents are currently hospitalized, which is a 2.6% hospitalization rate.
Please understand that it is too soon to know whether we are flattening the curve. That said, we are hopeful that we will see slower growth based on aggressive testing and social distancing measures.
The State has launched a public website to view relevant statistics: https://covid19tracker.health.ny.gov/
The following map shows the breakdown by Westchester community.
Request for positive COVID-19 patients to voluntarily self-report to the New Castle Police Department.
The rate of COVID-19 testing is increasing, and results from testing are arriving slowly. Positive COVID-19 patients will know their diagnosis days before it’s recorded by the Westchester County Health Department.
In an attempt to keep first responders in Town healthy, we are asking anyone in New Castle who has tested positive for COVID-19 to voluntarily self-report to the Police Department by emailing Chief Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your information will be kept confidential and will not be shared. This is the fastest way for us to get this information, and it is vital in the event we need to respond to a call at your home.
James D. Carroll
Chief of Police
Guidance Regarding Landscapers and Leaf Blowers
Many residents have asked whether landscaping is considered an essential business and if leaf blowing can be banned to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On April 2nd, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets stipulated that: "Landscaping for maintenance and pest control purposes has been designated as essential." Learn more: https://agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus.
Yesterday I reached out to the Governor’s Office for clarification and they responded: “Essential businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distance to the extent possible.”
What this means, practically speaking, is that landscapers should not travel with several employees in a single truck and must maintain a 6 ft. distance between workers.
According to the Westchester County Department of Health, there is no connection between the use of leaf blowers and the spread of COVID-19. The Governor’s Office confirmed this finding.
During my conversation with the Governor’s Office yesterday, I inquired whether New York State was taking a position on leaf blower use as it relates to and during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the fact that some reports show that leaf blower usage can have a negative impact on other respiratory illnesses, I was advised that the State does not intend to restrict the use of leaf blowers at this time. I asked them to consider issuing public health guidance on this topic, so that Towns and villages can take a consistent approach.
I have been closely collaborating with the Supervisors of neighboring towns in northern Westchester on a range of issues, and they have taken similar positions.
Bottom line: Whether or not a leaf blower is essential to perform maintenance is not clearly defined by the State, though we continue to push for this clarity. You can be a good neighbor by limiting your use of leaf blowers to reduce harmful particulates and decrease noise pollution while we are all working from home.
Please remember the overall objective: reduce the spread of the virus. This is achieved through limited in-person contact. We must all create an environment that reinforces that only essential work is performed during this time. Thank you for doing your part!
Go Fund Me
A Go Fund Me was started by residents on March 24th in an effort to provide food and comfort to the front line workers in our hospitals. The response has been overwhelming both in money raised - over $80,000 – and the requests for meals. But the fight is not yet over. With the death toll climbing in Westchester County, our hospitals are facing devastating challenges. We can keep pace with the demand for the very short term but we will not be able to fund meals through the end of the month when the need may be most critical. Please continue to support those who are putting their lives at risk every time they go to work.
- To date……over 1,600 meals have been delivered to the Health Care Heroes and Support Staff of: Northern Westchester Hospital, Phelps Hospital, Westchester Medical Center, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, White Plains Hospital, Montefiore Hospital, Mount Kisco Ambulance, Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corp., Westchester EMS, Open Door
- In the next two weeks, we will be delivering 1,320 meals to all facilities at the Westchester Medical Campus. By mid-April, we will have delivered well over THREE THOUSAND meals!
Please donate so we can continue feeding our front line workers.
Let’s Make Some Noise – Clap Because We Care!
A movement began in NYC for everyone to go outside and clap for the healthcare workers at 7 p.m. every night. Now, it has swept the nation as communities band together to show appreciation to their tireless devotion.
Each night at 7 p.m., people go outside and bang pots, applaud, yell and scream. It often echos throughout a town, creating a global community. We may be isolated, but we are not alone. We may not be able to go to the hospitals and thank the EMTs in person, but if we are loud enough, maybe they will hear us. They are extraordinary.
Please join us each night at 7 p.m. to make some noise. Take pictures and videos and use the hashtags below. We can also tag organization special to us, but there is that 280 character limit.
hashtags: #clapbecausewecare (main one)
Westchester County Needs Volunteers for SBA Application Assistance Program
The Westchester County Office of Economic Development’s SBA Application Assistance Program is soliciting volunteers to help small businesses complete applications for the following programs:
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance,
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and
- Paycheck Protection Program applications.
Volunteers will be provided training on all aspects of the application process. Training will be developed and conducted in coordination with the SBA and Community Capital New York, a Community Development Financial Institution and SBA-lender. The training will be provided by webinar, and the materials and step-by-step application guides will be provided to the volunteers.
The volunteers will not be providing guidance/recommendations on which loan programs to apply for, but rather will be addressing specific questions on the application(s) selected by the applicant.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help should email EconomicDevelopment@westchestergov.com
Coronavirus Information for the Hearing Impaired
Westchester County DOH created an infographic card for the hearing impaired to use to communicate about their health: https://health.westchestergov.com/images/stories/PDF/COVIDCommunicationCard.pdf
The Last Word
As the weather warms up and the sun comes out, please remember to practice social distancing and reinforce this with your family and friends. Find the road less travelled or set up a lawn chair in your own yard. We are all in this together! The life your save may be your neighbor’s, your friend’s, or your own. Stay Safe. Stay Home. Save Lives.