Earlier this month New York State named Westchester Medical Center (WMC) as the vaccination hub for the Mid-Hudson region. WMC has now tapped local officials throughout the region to assist with vaccine distribution as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“Putnam County has taken prompt action to support the hub,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We have identified representatives that work with under-served populations to serve on a regional task force for vaccine implementation. Each of our neighboring counties will advise the hub on local implementation—this regional collaboration is the key to ensuring our communities, particularly those most at-risk, are protected.”
Michael Nesheiwat MD, Health Commissioner, adds, “Our health department has been prepared to receive vaccines and implement immunization pods. We have the expertise and are glad to be brought to the table to help the region successfully roll-out the vaccine to the prioritized groups.”
The Putnam County Executive and the Commissioner of Health are working together to finalize locations for vaccine points of dispensing (PODS) and will follow the guidelines for priority and dispensing of the vaccine, according the New York State and CDC requirements. While the state and the region are still in Phase 1 of the roll-out to those most at risk, the Putnam County Department of Health is prepared to assist with vaccinations at each phase of implementation. Information for vaccine distribution to the general public will be shared as it becomes available. Up-to-date information on CDC COVID-19 vaccine recommendations can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/8-things.html.
BREWSTER, NY— COVID vaccines are offering hope: an end is in sight for this very difficult and challenging year. But science alone will not address the hardships faced by so many. The local health and business community, along with Putnam residents, has been and continues to collaborate in a supreme group effort to push back this virus. Now the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Putnam County Tourism are heralding local businesses and their continuing efforts to stop the spread.
“It’s requiring support from all sectors, and our business community has been resourceful and committed from the very beginning,” says Kathleen Abels, president of Putnam County’s EDC. “Our local businesses have been hard hit, there is no doubt about this. But all realize that their successes are dependent upon the health of the community—particularly staff and customers. This has often meant re-inventing their work to comply with New York State COVID-19 guidance.”
“It is important that we recognize these businesses for stepping up and working hard to adapt and survive,” added Tracey Walsh, director of Putnam County Tourism, who is partnering closely with Ms. Abels. They will be making positive signage available to businesses to affirm their commitment to help stop the spread by operating in accordance with New York State COVID-19 guidance.
One technically innovative creation comes from Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring, where a new device, carried throughout the museum by patrons, is being used to take the guesswork out of social distancing. This device works by using radio waves to measure and maintain safe distances between visitors. The museum is the first in the county to utilize this “active tag,” that is used in concert with contactless ticket exchange, mandatory online reservations, sanitation stations, temperature checks and other safety measures, as the museum director helps reshape how public spaces function.
County Executive MaryEllen Odell applauded the museum and other local businesses and their leadership for perseverance and ingenuity. “We have a dedicated, hardworking business community. As we all have struggled as individuals, they too have faced difficult challenges, struggling to sustain their livelihoods. We have worked together and come very far. The good news is we now can envision an end to these times and a brighter future in the new year.” Other local technology and customer-service improvements include a widening usage of mobile app ordering and curbside pick-up, previously used by select establishments.
Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, Commissioner of Health at the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) also praised the business community noting that, “These times have been extraordinarily tough for all of us—from our school-aged children to our seniors and everyone in-between. When thinking of our path forward, it is important to remember the strength and determination of our business community. The owners and staff in our local businesses, whose industry and living has been so affected, continue to show up, mask up, and persevere. Together we have made progress, and this could not have happened without business support of the NYSDOH directives.”
“Putnam business leaders are striving to do their part—not just to comply with mandatory guidance—but also to support one another by sharing best practices and cross-promoting the diverse range of businesses we have in our county,” said Jennifer Maher, chairwoman of the Putnam County Business Council, who has also been collaborating as part of the county’s business leadership corps.
Shawn Rogan, director of environmental health services at the PCDOH, who ultimately oversees the department’s restaurant licensing program, has also witnessed firsthand the work of this industry over the past ten months. “I can attest to the extraordinary labors of both the food establishment owners and staff alike,” said Mr. Rogan. “It has been a monumental test of determination and resolve for these entities. It is something I am sure echoes throughout the entire business community.”
“In the end we all want the same things—that really sums it up,” said Deputy County Executive Tom Feighery. “We want healthy and safe residents and a healthy and thriving business community. These go hand in hand. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine how you can have one without the other.”
The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services, provided directly and through collaboration, include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our county website atwww.putnamcountyny.gov; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should stay at home and isolate from others to avoid exposure.
It could take a few days for PCDOH to receive your positive test results, even after you received a call from your doctor. This may result in a delay in the contact tracers reaching out to your contacts.
We are working through many case investigations as quickly
as possible. We ask for your patience and will reach out to
you as soon as we can.
Please tell your close contacts that you are positive so they can quarantine. Your close contacts are people you were with in the 48 hours before symptoms started or the date you were tested (whichever came first). Until you isolate, you continue to expose people close to you.
We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we continue to respond to this pandemic
BREWSTER, NY—As Putnam County residents are set to celebrate the holidays, a resurgence of COVID sets a challenging backdrop. A key consideration for residents experiencing COVID-like symptoms, which can be either mild or severe, is determining whether they can be treated at home or they need emergency care. The Putnam County Executive and the Department of Health remind people that COVID symptoms can occur 2 to 14 days after being exposed and offers advice to help people determine the best course of action in this continuing pandemic.
“The holiday season is a special time for family and friends,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We all want to enjoy this special time while remaining safe and healthy. Knowing when—and how—to treat yourself at home safely is an important first step.”
Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, explains further that, “Many mild COVID-like symptoms are similar to the flu and can be easily treated at home. They include fever and chills; sore throat, cough and fatigue; and muscle or body aches. A person can have nasal congestion or a runny nose as well. All of these can be treated with over-the-counter medicines. Acetaminophen for example is very effective for fever or body aches. The ill person should also take care to stay hydrated and get extra rest.”
Another important part of treating someone at home requires separation from others in the home to avoid spreading any illness. Dr. Nesheiwat further emphasizes that, “This means making the sick person comfortable in a different room if possible. If not, a mask and at least six feet of distance are very important.” Other symptoms of mild COVID can include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and a new loss of taste or smell.
Monitoring a person’s condition is also crucial to know if their condition worsens. A thermometer should be used several times a day, and a pulse oximeter, available at drugstores is also a good idea. This small device fits over the tip of a finger and measures the oxygen level in a person’s blood.
“People coping with or recovering from COVID-19 should pay attention their respiratory strength — for those able to treat their symptoms at home, daily observation of personal breathing patterns such as rhythm, rate, and quality can help to determine when or if to seek medical care. Those discharged home from a hospital may have an incentive spirometer to use as part of their pulmonary rehabilitation,” says Dr. Nesheiwat. For those without a prescribed pulmonary rehabilitation regimen, Dr. Nesheiwat recommends symptomatic individuals stay in communication with their healthcare provider. “Any shortness of breath or difficulty breathing means immediate emergency treatment is necessary.”
Other signs that demand immediate emergency attention include persistent pain or pressure in the chest, bluish lips or face, inability to wake or stay awake, and new confusion. These are signs of serious illness and a call to 911 is necessary. Warn the dispatcher if you are confirmed or suspected to have COVID.
“We all know these are challenging times and times we want and need to stay connected with family and friends,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “The key has been and continues to be a community-based approach. Putnam County businesses have implemented innovative solutions to adhere to COVID safety measures and we must continue to support them and one-another as we keep Putnam safe. Additionally, the county is working to increase access to testing for our residents and the health department has a vaccine implementation plan that will follow New York State’s tiered approach to vaccination.”
“Everyone seems to agree that vaccine development has worked at amazing speed,” says Dr. Nesheiwat. “We are expecting that they will become widely available sometime in the first half of the new year. We need to remain as strong and cautious as possible until then.”
The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services, provided directly and through collaboration, include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our county website at www.putnamcountyny.gov; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.