PC Golf Course will remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak

As warm spring days begin, County Executive MaryEllen Odell wants to remind residents to practice safe social distancing while enjoying Putnam County Golf Course.

Putnam’s public golf course, like public courses in Westchester County, Orange County and the New York State parks, will remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak, with some activities curtailed to promote safe practices.

“Public health is always our first priority, and playing golf remains one of the few recreational activities that can be enjoyed while social distancing, just like biking on the trailway or hiking in the nature preserves,” Odell said. “Taking advantage of safe outdoor activities will help us keep our mental health and optimism intact. We’ve overcome crises before and we’ll get through this, too.”

Michael McCall, general manager of the Putnam County Golf Course, said all food and beverage operations have been closed in order to conform with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order.

“First and foremost, in conformance with the Center for Disease Control guidelines, social distancing must be practiced at all times,” McCall said. “Our policies will also continue to evolve to adhere to all local, state and national guidelines and recommendations.”

McCall, who is also executive director of MetGCSA, the golf course superintendents’ association, consulted with industry experts and sought state guidance before recommending the course remain open with the following changes in place:

  1. If anyone is showing signs of being ill, they will not be permitted.
  2. All nonessential touch points have been removed, such as hole pins, water coolers, ball washers, and bunker rakes.
  3. Golfers are encouraged to walk the course and golf carts are limited to one rider. All golf carts are cleaned and sanitized after use and golfers are provided with personal sanitizing wipes. 
  4. Public facilities are limited to ensure social distancing and are cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  5. Only reservations are accepted. Walk-ons are not permitted.
  6. No cash transactions are accepted, and customers must manually swipe their own cards.

The course is in the process of requiring online, prepaid reservations to further social distancing.

As is the case with everything else surrounding this public health crises, Odell said, this is a fluid situation that we will continue to monitor and respond to accordingly.

For the latest information check the Putnam County Golf Course website:  https://www.putnamcountygc.com/

Break down of positive cases by Towns in Putnam County

With the number of local cases of COVID-19 increasing daily, it is essential that county residents continue to stay at home, stay safe and practice social distancing, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said.

“We need to do our best to slow the spread of the outbreak, to flatten the curve, and protect our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed,” Odell said. “I really want to commend all of our residents for taking these orders as seriously as they have. The public response countywide has been fantastic.”

As of Friday morning, March 27, Putnam County had 106 positive COVID-19 cases. Every town in the county has positive cases. This is the breakdown of positive cases by town:

  • Carmel                  56
  • Kent                      13
  • Patterson             6
  • Phillipstown         6
  • Putnam Valley     8
  • Southeast            17

We are working hard at trying to get a state-run testing site in Putnam County, so that we can have the most accurate and complete information on the outbreak as quickly as possible.

In an effort to keep the public safe while continuing the work of county government, the Putnam County Legislature will hold all of its future meetings virtually

In an effort to keep the public safe while continuing the work of county government, the Putnam County Legislature will hold all of its future meetings virtually, by conference call or video conference, until further notice. The meetings will be livestreamed on the web so that the public can view them in real time.

The move to virtual meetings is a temporary solution in a difficult time, said Toni Addonizio, chairwoman of the Legislature.

“As you may know, certain New York counties, such as Dutchess County, are canceling all of their April meetings,” Addonizio said. “As elected Legislators, we believe we all have an obligation to fulfill our oath of office and our duties under the Putnam County Charter by making every effort to continue our Legislative meetings and avoiding the disruption of essential services for all Putnam County residents.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order on March 12, that temporarily modifies the requirements of the state Open Meetings Law and allows public meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service. His order expires April 11, but can be extended.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell issued a State of Emergency on March 13 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and shortly after issued an Executive Order that limited the size of public gatherings in the county to fewer than 20 people.

Deputy Legislature Chairman Neal L. Sullivan said the resolution to hold virtual Legislative meetings complies with both of those directives and will help limit the spread of coronavirus.

“The most important thing now is public safety,” Sullivan said. “We needed to find a way to follow state and county mandates that limit the size of gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak, while also continuing to fulfill our duties as elected officials.”

Sullivan is also chairman of the Legislature’s Rules, Enactments and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, which approved the resolution for the virtual meetings before forwarding it to the Legislature, where it passed in a vote on Thursday, March 26.

The key provisions of the adopted resolution include:

  • Allowing Legislators to participate in meetings (including voting) by conference call or videoconference;
  • Closing meetings to the general public, but allowing for the attendance of persons necessary for proper consideration of agenda items;
  • Allowing members of the press to attend meetings so that they may continue to report on Legislative proceedings to the public;
  • Requiring that any Legislative meeting closed to the public be observable by the public by audio and/or video in real-time, such as by livestreaming (webcast);
  • Requiring the transcription of all meetings and proceedings closed to the public;
  • Limiting the agenda items for all meetings to time-sensitive and/or essential business; and
  • Requiring timely public notice of all Legislative meetings as well as instructions on how to access the audio and/or video of non-public meetings.

The audio webcast link for each meeting will be posted prior to the start of the meeting on the Legislature’s page on the Putnam County website, at https://www.putnamcountyny.com/legi/

Request that the State health department establish a testing site

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has formally requested that the state health department establish a COVID-19 testing site in Putnam County without delay.

The lack of a state-run testing site within our county is putting Putnam County healthcare workers, first responders and residents at great risk Odell said.

“We need our own testing site so we can be sure of the accuracy of the results,” Odell said. “Secondhand information can be unreliable. Our first responders and health care workers need all the accurate information possible to protect themselves and our communities.”

The Putnam County Health Department is out of test kits and symptomatic residents must now travel to Westchester County, Dutchess County, Bear Mountain State Park or Danbury, Connecticut to get testing.

The information on positive test results we get from those out of county sites is often woefully incomplete, said Putnam County Commissioner of Health Michael Nesheiwat, MD.

Every testing site location is providing information in a different format, it is not standardized.  Much of the patient information is incomplete and numbers per municipality are skewed because zip codes overlap municipalities in Putnam.

“Sometimes a positive test report contains too little information to track a case,” Dr. Nesheiwat said. “We can’t operate in the dark. We need full, complete information to best protect the health and safety of our residents.”

Putnam received an additional 16 positive tests on Thursday, bringing the county’s total positive cases to 109.

“The Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services, the Sheriff’s Department and local police, fire and ambulance corps need to know what they are facing when they answer an emergency call,” said Ken Clair, Commissioner of the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services. “Are people in the home carrying COVID-19?  Is the neighborhood a hot zone?  Are our first responders being exposed without knowing it?”

Putnam residents deserve the same access to COVID-19 tests as residents of larger counties, said Legislator Amy Sayegh, chair of the Health Committee.

“Just because we are a small county doesn’t mean we should be treated like an afterthought,” Sayegh said. “Our residents need a convenient place to find out if they have been infected with coronavirus so they can take steps to protect their own families and community.”

For the latest COVID-19 information, check the Putnam County website, www.putnamcountyny.gov.

Public Notice: Putnam County Offers Outdoor Recreational Opportunities in the Time of COVID-19 Crisis

In these difficult and ever changing times Putnam County would like to encourage all residents to enjoy our Parks and Conservation Areas.  Please exercise every caution by practicing social distancing, hand washing and other recommended safety precautions.

  • The Putnam Golf Course in Mahopac is open.  Sanitation practices are being enhanced to ensure public safety.
  • The Putnam Bikepath running from Baldwin Place to Brewster and distancing over 13 miles offers biking, running and walking on a paved trail.
  • Michael Ciaiola Conservation Area in Patterson is open offering over 12 miles of marked hiking trails, mountain biking, scenic views and waterfalls to explore. Parking areas and trailheads are located on Haviland Hollow Rd. and Stagecoach Rd.
  • Fred Dill Wildlife Sanctuary in the Hamlet of Carmel offers 2.25 miles of hiking showcasing natural and historical points of interest along the paths. Access is on Fair Street or from the Bikepath.
  • Fishing access is available at Dixon Lake Conservation Area in Mahopac and at the Donald B. Smith Conservation Area in Patterson.
  • Geocaching is available on some of our Conservation Areas.  It’s up to you to find them.

Unfortunately out of an abundance of caution for our residents and staff that are required to report to work we are temporarily closing the Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park in Kent and Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster.  It was not an easy decision to reach but after considering the amount of potential public exposure to children and their families, Veterans and visitors that utilize the playgrounds, picnic areas, exercise equipment and restrooms or come to see the Veterans Monuments, Museum or farm animals, it is an important step in reducing risk.

Our goal is to keep as many recreational opportunities open as possible throughout this crisis while taking every precaution to ensure that everyone stays safe. We encourage residents to be outside, exercise and stay healthy.

Beware of Coronavirus scams

Beware of coronavirus scams that are spreading like wildfire via email, on social media, by text and by telephone call, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell warned today.

“Hucksters prey on our anxieties and these uncertain times provide a very ripe environment for scams,” County Executive Odell said. “There are always those who will try to exploit fear for their own profit. Don’t let them.”

Some Putnam residents have received phone calls claiming to be from the federal government and offering to send a coronavirus test kit to your home if you will give the caller your name, address and Social Security number. If you get this call, just hang up.

“No government agency would ever call and request your Social Security number,” Putnam County Legislature Chairwoman Toni Addonizio said. “The bottom line is: do not share your personal information over the phone or online with anyone you don’t know.”

Other reported scams include texts to personal phones that offer to send free iPhones to help as you spend more time at home. This is false. Just delete the text, do not click on its link.

Watch out for emails with subject lines that promise cures or treatments for coronavirus. Recent news reports have noted that COVID-19 themed phishing emails launched 2,500 malware attacks on computers worldwide on Monday alone. The best practice is not to click on links in emails, texts or social media posts that are from anyone you don’t know.

As always, get your news from reliable sources. For the latest COVID-19 news, go to https://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/coronavirus/

Putnam County small businesses are eligible for up to $2 million in low-interest loans

Putnam County small businesses are eligible for up to $2 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help alleviate the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced.

Putnam is one of only three counties in New York State in which these Economic Injury Disaster loans from the SBA are available so far.

“We are grateful that the U.S. Small Business Administration recognized that our hard-working Putnam business community was in need of federal support,” Odell said. “These loans could go a long way toward helping our business community stay strong despite the loss of revenue they are seeing due to the coronavirus outbreak.”

Putnam County Legislature Chairwoman Toni Addonizio said the federal help is much appreciated as the COVID-19 epidemic causes businesses to close.

“These loans can help local business owners survive what we hope is a very temporary setback,” Addonizio said. “The loans will provide help when it is most needed.”

Small business owners in Westchester and Dutchess can also apply.

 SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process.

“Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.

“These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Carranza added.

Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.

Daycare centers in Putnam County will be permitted to reopen on Wednesday, March 18

Daycare centers in Putnam County will be permitted to reopen on Wednesday, March 18, pursuant to the Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order. Check with your daycare providers to see if they plan to open.

Putnam County stands firm in its position that the Executive Order we issued to close licensed public daycare centers starting Monday, March 16 for five days was the most responsible move to contain the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19.

“After consulting with our Health Commissioner and his staff, who are the professionals on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, we determined that closing daycare centers and pre-kindergarten programs was the best way to protect the community,” Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said. “After all, we had closed the public and private schools for the same five-day period, at the request of school administrators who looked to us for guidance. How could we try to protect children from kindergarten through 12th grade but neglect our youngest children? These children will go home to parents and grandparents who may be vulnerable to this virus.”

Last week, Mahopac Schools Superintendent Anthony DiCarlo came to the county seeking guidance as to whether it was better for schools to stay open or to close. We turned to Putnam County Commissioner of Health, Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, and his staff for advice and they recommended closing the schools. Odell then declared a State of Emergency, which enabled her to issue an Emergency Order closing all public and private schools in the county for five days. The next logical step was to close daycare centers.

The County Emergency Order was put into place on Sunday in response to a flood of calls from daycare providers and families searching for guidance.

“Prior to the NY State emergency declaration, and in an effort to ensure social distancing, our county made a bold decision to provide clear direction to our daycares, just as we did for our schools,” Dr. Nesheiwat said. “Without implementing social distancing in all aspects of community settings, we create more challenges for the mitigation of COVID-19. By the end of the day with the announcement of the first lab confirmed cases, this decision was applauded as proactive and responsible, given the circumstances.”

But the order Governor Andrew Cuomo signed on Monday, which closes schools statewide for two weeks starting Wednesday, March 18, omitted daycare centers and required districts to come up with plans to show that first responders and healthcare workers would have access to childcare during school closures. His order supersedes local authority.

“We have to send a clear message to the public about what they should do,” said Legislator Amy Sayegh, chair of the Legislature’s Health Committee. “If on the one hand we are telling them to stay home and keep their school aged children home, how can we then tell them to drop their little ones at daycare?”

Residents who have any questions about whether their business should be opened or closed in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections should direct their questions to the governor’s office.

County Executive Odell and the Putnam County Legislature will continue to focus on the health and safety of our county’s residents.

As part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak and in an effort to reduce exposure and the spread of the virus, Putnam County Government has closed all county facilities

As part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak and in an effort to reduce exposure and the spread of the virus, Putnam County Government has closed all county facilities to the public, but essential county services will continue, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced.

For emergencies and emergencies only, the public should contact the department directly via phone. Please check our website directory for the direct numbers to each department.

County Executive Odell acknowledges the sacrifices that we as a community make as we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“During these challenging times, I am proud of the way the community is stepping up and doing what it takes to support each other,” Odell said. “We will remain diligent and together we will work through this.”

Odell’s administration has been working closely with the Putnam County Legislature to implement the rapidly unfolding policy changes.

“We will do all that we can to keep Putnam residents and employees safe,” Putnam County Legislature Chairwoman Toni Addonizio said. “These are challenging times but we want the public to know we are looking out for them.”

Drop boxes have been installed at the County Office Building and will be installed at other facilities in the near future for any essential paperwork the public needs to submit to the county. It is advisable to call the relevant department before leaving any documents.

Additionally, all county operations have been reduced by 50% to comply with Governor Cuomo’s directive of 3/16/20. Be assured that essential services remain fully staffed.

As per President Trump’s guidelines, it is recommended that gatherings be limited to 10 people or less and travel should be limited only on an as-needed basis.

Putnam County Government is focused on the safety of its residents, employees and community. The Health Department remains the lead agency and is working very closely with the Bureau of Emergency Services and all departments and is coordinating daily with federal, state and local officials.  We will continue to keep the public updated as new information is received.

The Putnam County Department of Health confirms 2 positive cases COVID-19 in Putnam County

COVID-19 MITIGATION IN PUTNAM

First Lab Confirmed Cases in Putnam, New Executive Orders

BREWSTER, NY— The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) is confirming two positive cases of COVID-19 in Putnam County residents. The individuals have been quarantined at home and will continue to be monitored carefully. Contact tracing is underway and those that are found to have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case will be notified by the PCDOH and precautionary or mandatory quarantine will be established for each person.

“This is not an unexpected event, nor should it cause alarm,” County Executive, MaryEllen Odell, said. “We knew eventually a positive case would be confirmed. The Putnam County Department of Health’s communicable disease staff is working with state and local partners to identify all possible contacts.”

Prior to lab-confirmation of positive COVID-19 cases in Putnam, the County Executive had taken major preventative action on Friday by declaring a State of Emergency and ordering all public schools closed for a five-day period. The news of positive cases in Putnam comes alongside additional emergency measures from the county.

“I have signed three emergency orders to further protect the most vulnerable of our community,” adds the county executive. Effective midnight tonight, the emergency orders include the mandatory closing of daycare centers and nursery schools, prohibiting public gatherings or events of more than 20 people and prohibiting buffet style food. “The message we are sending is this— we strongly recommend proactive and extensive social distancing. You should only be leaving your homes when absolutely necessary.  All social events should be reconsidered and re-scheduled if at all possible. By slowing the spread of COVID-19, it can allow the healthcare system to be better prepared and have the available beds for the most ill.”

“Up until now we have been monitoring dozens of possible exposures, both with and without symptoms,” Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, said. “We are working around the clock to ensure all measures are taken to mitigate, or slow the impact of this virus. Data suggest that 80% of people who contract the virus self-resolve and tend to have mild symptoms that eventually subside— but we practice social distancing for the 20% that will have serious complications, hospitalizations requiring intubation, or possibly death.”

In this evolving situation, vigilant personal hygiene and social distancing remain the best defenses. Individuals should remain at home if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms and contact their health care provider before going to the doctor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations include remaining at home until fever or respiratory symptoms have been resolved for a minimum of 24 hours.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever
  • coughing
  • shortness of breath

Residents are reminded to call ahead to their doctor’s office, urgent-care facility or hospital, so they may take necessary precautions to prepare. If, however, you are in respiratory distress, call 9-1-1 and inform the dispatcher of your exposure risk. COVID-19 symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Testing for COVID-19 is occurring in Putnam County; tests are administered at the discretion of the attending physician following NYSDOH and CDC guidelines.
Residents can protect themselves from COVID-19/coronavirus, flu and other droplet-spread viruses, with basic, common sense personal hygiene actions including:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share personal items such as water bottles.
  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick. Remain home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (without taking fever-reducing medication) or signs of a fever (i.e., chills, feeling warm, flushed appearance).
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow or with a tissue, then immediately discard the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 

For general questions about COVID-19 the New York State Department of Health has established a hotline: 1-888-364-3065. For local information, follow the department of health on social media or visit the county website. If you think you may be a direct contact of a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19, please call the PCDOH at 845-808-1390