Break down of positive cases by Towns in Putnam County 6/26/2020

6-25 WEEKLY DASHBOARD

Putnam Looks to Phase 3: Indoor Dining, Bigger Gatherings and Personal Care Businesses Allowed

BREWSTER, NY— Phase III in Putnam and the Mid-Hudson region is upon us. The region is moving forward after 14 days of meeting the benchmark numbers required in current phase. As this stage gets into full swing residents can expect inside dining, larger gatherings, and personal care businesses coming back with some specified restrictions. Personal care businesses, beyond hair-related businesses, now will include tanning and nail salons, spas, massage therapy, and tattoo and piercing facilities. Along with inside dining, these new services will limit capacity to optimize social or physical distancing. Both will also require mask wearing by patrons and employees. These two practices, in addition to proper handwashing, remain the best avenues for public protection in all situations.  

“We are happy to continue to move toward a more fully open economy,” said MaryEllen Odell, County Executive. “Our calculated approach to watching our health measures, combined with the ingenuity, patience and commitment of our business community, has really paid off for us. We continue to move forward in the right direction.” 

 The size of permissible gatherings has been increased from 10 to 25 which is good news for families planning reunions and other events, as well as small-party planners. For restaurants and personal care establishments however, which are expanding services or re-opening, the requirements dictate that indoor capacity be limited by 50 percent.  

“The reductions in capacities have been determined with one goal in mind—to best protect both customers and employees,” said Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, Commissioner of Health. “Much planning and thought has gone into this phased opening and graduated guidelines at the state level. This is why Putnam and the Mid-Hudson region continue to move forward successfully. We are truly grateful for the support our Putnam businesses and community organizations have shown in implementing these involved guidelines.” 

Employees of both types of establishments will be required to wear masks at all times when working. This is especially important any time they interact with customers, even if they are 6 feet or more apart. Restaurants can lose their liquor licenses if social distance requirements are not met. If patrons notice a lapse in social distancing practices while dining and feel uncomfortable, they are encouraged to consider politely informing the facility management. Making a complaint through official channels is also an option online at www.coronavirus.health.ny.gov/new-york-state-pause

Customers are required to wear masks as well. Once seated at a table in a restaurant however, patrons can remove their masks to eat, similar to the requirements with outdoor dining. In the personal care sector, some services may also necessitate clients remove their masks. Staff will direct customers by following current state-approved guidelines. Modified schedules and services may be in place and calling ahead is advised. Reservations are encouraged so that businesses can be more prepared.  

Other requirements have been developed to best ensure workers are healthy and remain that way. Restaurants are charged with conducting daily health screenings of their employees. This will include such things as temperature checks and questionnaires about symptoms, and for personal care workers COVID-19 tests will be required every 14 days. 

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.com/coronavirus; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Break down of positive cases by Towns in Putnam County 6/19/2020

6-19 WEEKLY DASHBOARD

Break down of positive cases by Towns in Putnam County 6/12/2020

6-12 WEEKLY DASHBOARD

Swimming Safely Takes on New Meaning as Putnam Pools Begin to Reopen

Drowning Risk Returns in Summer

Brewster, NY—Gathering with friends for swimming and other activities are great ways to enjoy the summer and cool off. These activities provide relaxation, recreation, and exercise, and thousands of Putnam County families and visitors enjoy them every year. The summer of 2020 is of course different. While drowning remains a risk in any body of water, people in Putnam and around the country, have another concern to contend with now. The coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, continues to spread, and social or physical distancing, good hand hygiene, and face coverings remain the best protections. This week Governor Cuomo gave the green light to local leadership to reopen pools provided that plans could be put in place to follow NYS-issued guidance regarding distancing, masks and enhanced cleaning.

“Summer is finally and officially here,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell, “and our outdoor pools have begun to reopen. We have taken a good look at our health metrics with our Health Commissioner Dr. Nesheiwat. Fortunately all are continuing in the right direction. His environmental health director and staff are working with our pool personnel to assist them with implementing the new guidance.”

Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, said, “Pool operators are submitting individual plans describing how they will uphold social distancing and mask-wearing practices, and what measures for cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces will be in place. As long as we can assure these efforts, we can continue to improve our metrics and proceed to the next phase of reopening. We must also remember however that for those who don’t swim well, a pool or a beach can pose a serious risk. No one should swim alone or without supervision.”

Six feet of separation will be required between groups of patrons at pools and beaches, and each group will be limited to ten individuals from a household or family unit. Masks should not be worn in the water, but distancing should be maintained there. On the pool deck or beach, masks  must be worn if six feet of distance is not possible between one group and another. Patrons will be seeing increased availability and promotion of hand hygiene practices as well, either with the preferred method of soap and water, or with hand sanitizer.

“It is important to remember that masks should not be worn while swimming,” Dr. Nesheiwat added. “However, the six-feet rule does apply in the water as well. So please, let’s respect everyone’s boundaries. That way we will all stay safe and keep this coronavirus from spreading. It is also not the time to relax from watching children around water. Drowning happens quickly. A child should never be left alone even for a moment near any water.”

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.com/coronavirus; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Outdoor Dining and In-store Retail Shopping Returns | County Agencies Reopen June 8

BREWSTER, NY— Phase II reopening begins in Putnam and the Mid-Hudson region, and outside dining will soon be back. Barbershop trims and “Cuts and Colors,” office-based work including Putnam County agencies, and in-store retail shopping are also some of the familiar activities that will resume at this stage. Putnam County offices will reopen June 8, with Phase II anticipated to start officially the following day. Modified schedules and services may be in place, and appointments may be necessary.  Calling ahead is advised.

“The good news is that we have local businesses that are committed to the well-being of our community,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We have counted on them in the past to sponsor our little leagues and support causes we care about. Now they have stepped up to do everything from donating meals to front line workers to implementing innovative safety protocols. Towns and municipalities are working to streamline the permit process to allow more local restaurants to begin to offer outdoor dining. The private/government partnerships are working together both for the health of our community and to support our local businesses.”

For outdoor dining, restaurants will incorporate the “new normal” safety measures such as tables spaced six feet apart. All staff will be required to wear face coverings at all times, and customers must do the same when not seated. Restaurants with outside dining areas will be required to follow 13-pages of guidelines issued by New York State Department of Health, issued on June 3. It covers everything from mandatory daily health screenings of restaurant staff to instituting 6-foot spacing in table arrangement, as well as lines for payment areas, restrooms, and food pick-up areas. Restaurants seeking to open new outdoor seating spaces such as on sidewalks, grass lawns or parking lots, are partnering with local town and village building departments. These municipalities are working to expedite permits to accommodate the  restaurants and their customers. Restaurants may be allowed to expand outdoors with PCDOH and local Code Enforcement approval.

Retail shopping, barbershops and hair salons, and County agencies are also reopening, all with strict New York State and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) requirements for face coverings and distancing. Some apprehension is normal and ultimately wise, but significant progress has been made to lower the infection rate and this is good news for residents, businesses and organizations alike.

Putnam County’s Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD,  urged all employees, whether they work for small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, or the County, to remember that “If you are not feeling well or you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, you should remain home. We have done a great job of ‘flattening the curve.’ It is important not to lose focus of this and to continue to pay attention and monitor our health.”

COVID-19 symptoms, which can be mild or severe, include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. These are the current symptoms presented on the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus and may be updated as new symptoms are identifying with this novel illness. Additionally, some people have been found to spread the disease “silently,” meaning they are asymptomatic and have no symptoms or their symptoms are so mild they don’t know they are sick.  People should err on the side of caution and if not feeling completely well, to stay or work from home whenever possible. This is also the reason for the mandatory use of face coverings in public spaces, where distancing is not always possible. Examples of these types of situations are in hallways, elevators and small reception or waiting areas.

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.com/coronavirus; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Break down of positive cases by Towns in Putnam County 6/5/2020

6-5 WEEKLY DASH BOARD

Break down of positive cases by Towns in Putnam County 6/2/2020

6-2 DASHBOARD NEW FORMAT WITH DEFINITIONS

Governor Announces Dental Practices Permitted to Reopen

Guidelines updated to ensure safety for patients and staff

BREWSTER, NY— Governor Cuomo announced dentists can begin seeing patients for routine dental care starting on June 1. Originally slated to reopen in “Phase 2,” dentists have been given the green light sooner than expected with declining NYS coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, intubations and deaths. 

“Our dental health care providers in Putnam have been team players from the start of this pandemic,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Some donated masks and gloves to our frontline workers and all have now invested time and resources to ensure safety for their patients and staff as they return to their offices.” 

From physical distancing to personal protective equipment, New York State has shared a twelve-page document which includes a link for providers to affirm their receipt of and agreement to follow the guidance set forth.  

For dental health care providers, proper use of personal protective equipment is nothing new. While dental settings are traditionally designed with patient and provider safety in mind, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dentistry in the time of the novel coronavirus goes further to balance the need to provide necessary services while minimizing risk to patients and dental health care personnel. 

On March 16, the American Dental Association (ADA) was one of the first national professional health associations to recommend postponement of all but urgent or emergency procedures. Just over two months later, the ADA designed an interim return to work toolkit for dental practitioners. Together with documents from the CDC, and now New York State, the comprehensive guidance addresses ways dentists and hygienists can reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission before, during and after visits.  

Dr. Daniel Doyle, of Doyle Dental and president of the Putnam County Board of Health says, “The dentists of Putnam County are thrilled to be back seeing their patients. They are now seeing all patients for routine procedures, not just for emergencies.”  

As dental offices begin planning to reopen their doors they may be adapting their offices to meet new safety state and federal guidelines. Doyle Dental’s website and patient correspondence describes new safety protocols. Some changes patients can expect as they return to their dentist’s office include plexiglass partitions at reception, waiting room modifications including chair spacing, removal of magazines and mask requirements as well as screening for symptoms of illness. Additionally, because many dentists donated their personal protective equipment (PPE) to essential workers and closed their doors for over two months, some may have had to rebuild their PPE stock. 

Modifications to dental care will impact everything from pre-appointment communication to provider and patient interactions. According to the ADA, dental office staff may call patients for a preliminary health screening prior to an appointment. Patients may notice their dentist or dental hygienist wearing additional protective gear such as a face shield and gown. While the state allows offices to begin reopening as of June 1, Dr. Doyle recommends residents check with their local dentist regarding specific safety measures and exact reopening dates. 

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.com/coronavirus; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Face Coverings for Putnam County Seniors “Drive-by” Distribution

What:

The Putnam County Office for Senior Resources is pleased to announce that is has scheduled 2 Face Covering Distribution days for Putnam County seniors. The face covering is a white washable cotton fabric and will come with washing instructions.

Seniors have been identified as being a group that is very vulnerable to the COVID-19 or Coronavirus. Putnam County Department of Health and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance recommends that we wear face coverings when in groups and in public settings.

Who: This program is for the benefit of Putnam County seniors of age 60 and older

When: From 12pm noon to 2 pm on

  • Friday June 5, 2020 and
  • Monday June 8, 2020

Where:

  • Carmel Friendship Center, 110 Old Rt. 6, Bldg. 1, Carmel
  • Koehler Senior Center, 180 Rt. 6, Mahopac
  • Putnam Valley Senior Center, 117 Town Park Lane, Putnam Valley
  • Friendship Center in Philipstown, 1756 Rt. 9D, Lahey Pavilion, Cold Spring

How:

The health and safety of our seniors and staff is paramount during this distribution program so we will have signage posted directing cars and walk-ins where to go. Staff will also be outside our centers during the distribution period. Seniors driving in are to remain in their cars and the face coverings will be handed to them on a tray by OSR staff and volunteers wearing face coverings and gloves.