By Barrett Seaman
“Concern” is still the operative word in describing the state of COVID-19 in Westchester. County Executive George Latimer, in his weekly briefing, reported that the number of active cases in the county have been “dramatically rising” over the past week—from 678 a week ago to 868 as of Monday, Columbus Day. Overnight from Sunday to Monday, there were 107 new cases. Hospitalizations have been on the increases as well—from 27 a week ago to 43.
The worrisome trend holds for the rivertowns as well. Where the collective number of active cases in Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow were in the high teens or low twenties in August and September, they totaled 42 at the end of the Columbus Day weekend.
Latimer was quick to put these worrisome numbers into perspective, however. In April, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, the county as a whole had more than 300 new cases a day and up to 860 hospitalized at any one time.
In Westchester, said Latimer, there has not been a pattern of clusters accounting for the increases. There was one significant instance involving students at Iona College, causing that campus to shut down, but most of the growth, he said, has been the result of a diminution of discipline. “We think that people are dropping their guard a little bit,” said Latimer. “We need to double down on precautions.”
Statewide, clusters continue to account for much of the increase in infection rates and hospitalizations. At his daily briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that the “Red Zone” clusters accounted for 70% of the increase in daily hospital admissions between early September and today.
That said, New York is still a relatively safe place to be. “Our numbers overall continue to remain steady, despite the micro-clusters that have popped up in certain pockets of the state,” said Cuomo on Tuesday. “Our strategy is to continue to identify these clusters if and when they pop up, get even more refined in our targeting and attack them as needed.”
New York added three more states, Ohio, Michigan and Virginia, to its list of places from which visitors must quarantine for 14 days when entering New York State. For those expecting out-of-state visitors, the full list is:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia