Latimer Gives Last Daily COVID Briefing As New Cases, Hospitalizations and Deaths Decline in Westchester County

latimerIn a signal that Westchester County may be nearing the end of the COVID crisis for now, County Executive George Latimer gave his final daily briefing on Monday July 6, 2020, wrapping up four months of daily updates. With reduced infection and hospitalization rates, Latimer will move to weekly updates.

However, he did report that there has been a slight uptick in the number of active cases with 527 reported today. Prior to a week ago, that number had steadily declined, but in the past week it has oscillated. Latimer surmised that the slight increase might be due to the outbreak in Chappaqua that occurred when a student returned from Florida and infected others at the Chappaqua High School graduation and field night.

Latimer reported that only 1% of tests yielded positive results, and most recently out of 4,000 tests, 41 positive cases were identified. Westchester County has tested 291,000 people, and although there may be some duplication, Latimer believes that about 1/3 of the county’s population has been tested.

Overall 1,427 people in the county died from COVID. There were no deaths the prior night, and in the past week, 3 people died. As of Saturday, 61 people remained in the hospital due to the virus.

Latimer attributed the drop in cases to compliance with the order to wear masks and people’s growing willingness to practice social distancing.

About the spike in Chappaqua spike, Latimer reported that it has now been more than two weeks since the graduation and field night on Saturday June 20. Contact tracers were used to identify those who might be infected and to recommend quarantines for those who may have been exposed. From that night 27 positive cases have been identified. Since many of those affected were young, Latimer is hopeful that they will not get very sick and require hospitalization.

The County is expected to move to Phase 4 of the reopening on Tuesday July 7, 2020. Small outdoor events, for up to 50 people will be permitted, such as the Scarsdale Band Concerts in Chase Park. Not included in the Phase 4 reopenings are amusement parks and gyms and health clubs which are subject to a separate governor’s order.

The County has opened their golf courses, day camps and beaches. However, as of now, anyone from outside the county is banned from coming to a Westchester County beach. This decision will be revisited in the near future.

County Executive Latimer appeared pleased with Westchester’s progress to date, but cautioned residents to remain on guard, wear masks and closely evaluate where they are going and their comfort level with their surroundings.