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.

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 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; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealthNY and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

 

 

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County Executive issues additional Emergency Orders prohibiting public gatherings or events of more than 20 people and prohibiting buffet style food operations

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has issued Executive Orders canceling or postponing all social, community, public gatherings or events, including Putnam County sponsored events where it is anticipated that more than 20 people will be in attendance and also ordering all food service establishments, including delis, supermarkets, grocery stores and catering facilities to cease all buffet style service and sales.

It is important to note that violations of any Executive Orders issued by the County Executive during this state of emergency will be taken very seriously and will be dealt with in full accordance with the law.

The closings and restrictions above join a list of other county closings and cancellations ordered by the County Executive to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus.

  • All public and private schools in the county will be closed. Extracurricular activities must be canceled, but the school buildings can remain open for staff and administrators.
  • The county’s four senior centers are closed and home meal delivery will be expanded to all seniors in need.  This includes the Friendship Centers in Carmel, Putnam Valley and Philipstown, and the William Koehler Senior Center in Mahopac.
  • Visitors will no longer be allowed at the Putnam County Jail.
  • All civil service examinations will be canceled and rescheduled at a later date.

In addition to these closings and restrictions, the County continues to recommend proactive and extensive social distancing be practiced.  Specifically, in an effort to reduce the spread and exposure to COVID-19 and to protect our vulnerable populations, everyone should attempt to maintain at least a 6 foot distance from other individuals.  You should only be leaving your homes when absolutely necessary.  All social events should be reconsidered and re-scheduled if at all possible.  Please continue to use common sense and to be mindful of your neighbors and your communities so that we can achieve a reduction in exposure.

The State of Emergency declared by Putnam County on Friday, March 13, continues to allow County Executive Odell to issue Emergency Orders to protect the public health through 11:59 on March 27, 2020.

For the latest information, check the Putnam County website.

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell declares State of Emergency and issues an Emergency Order to close all schools in the County to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In an abundance of caution, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has declared a State of Emergency for Putnam County effective 5 p.m. today, March 13 through March 27 at 11:59 p.m.

The State of Emergency will allow the county to share resources more efficiently and better respond to the rapidly evolving epidemic of Coronavirus, or COVID-19.

With the State of Emergency declared, Odell issued an Emergency Order to suspend all classroom and extracurricular functions and close all public and private schools throughout the county as of Monday, March 16 for an initial five day period, with an option to extend it for another five days.  No classroom or extracurricular activities may take place at the schools.

“Schools throughout the county are facing their toughest test yet,” Odell said. “While they need to educate students, they also need to keep them safe and prevent the spread of the virus to family members and the community at large. This order will help them do that.”

Anthony DiCarlo, Superintendent of Mahopac schools praised the move.

“I want to thank County Executive Odell and County Attorney Jennifer Bumgarner for working hard to keep our children and staff safe,” DiCarlo said.

In addition, Putnam County Sheriff Robert Langley suspended all visitation to the Putnam County Correctional Facility effective Monday,  March 16th.

“The emergency declaration will give the county the most flexibility possible to deal with a potential crisis,” Putnam County Legislature Chairwoman Toni Addonizio said. “These are unusual times.”

Adjacent Westchester County continues to have the highest concentration of Coronavirus cases in the state. Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties have also each issued emergency orders.

The State of Emergency and Emergency Order are pursuant to New York State Executive Law and enforceable by local, county and state law enforcement agencies.

Putnam County has established a website to provide residents with the latest information about Coronavirus, COVID-19.  https://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/coronavirus/

There are no local cases of Coronavirus so far

There are no local cases of Coronavirus so far, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced Sunday after a sharp increase in cases statewide led the governor to declare a State of Emergency.

“Even though none of our residents have tested positive so far, with increased testing we expect we may have some cases,” Odell said. “Residents should know that the Putnam County Health Department has been preparing diligently and will keep the public informed as things change.”

The Health Department has been working for weeks with emergency personnel, law enforcement, school district officials and other relevant agencies to prepare and keep them informed of the rapidly changing conditions, Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, Health Commissioner of Putnam County said.

“We are monitoring 19 Putnam residents who either returned from mainland China or came in contact with a person who tested positive for the virus,” Dr. Nesheiwat said. “As of Sunday, all of those we are monitoring were asymptomatic.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency Saturday, when the number of people who tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) was 76. As of Sunday, the number of positive tests increased to 89. Of those, 11 were in New York City and 70 in Westchester County. The remaining eight cases were in Rockland, Nassau and Saratoga counties.

The declaration will allow health departments to speed up the purchase of testing supplies and disinfectants. It should also enable counties to quickly hire more medical workers.

“I think the emergency declaration will help us get the money we need to keep Putnam residents safe,” Dr. Nesheiwat said. “It will definitely be a benefit to us.”

The commissioner urged residents to take simple precautions, like frequent handwashing and staying home if they feel sick, to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

He also recommends the “Call Before You Go,” plan. In other words, before going to the doctor’s office, urgent care or emergency room, call ahead and tell your primary care provider about your symptoms and any possible exposure to the virus.

Health Department Urges “Call Before you Go,” Holds Daily Coronavirus Briefings with County Agencies

For the most up-to-date information for Putnam County, please visit www.putnamcountyny.com/health/coronavirus

BREWSTER, NY—With the community spread of Coronavirus in neighboring Westchester County, the PCDOH is educating the community on the importance of calling before arriving at the doctor, emergency room or urgent care if you suspect you may need medical attention related to exposure to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  The PCDOH has instituted daily internal Coronavirus briefings with key partner agencies and organizations to keep all necessary groups informed on the latest information.

“Residents should be reassured that our Health Commissioner and his staff are working many hours with their state counterparts on this evolving situation,” said MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Executive. “The department is in continual contact with the New York State Department of Health, with up-to-date guidance from the CDC in Atlanta, the lead public health agency in the U.S.”

Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, Health Commissioner of Putnam County, expanded saying, “For weeks, we have been working closely with and preparing alongside our emergency personnel, law enforcement and our school districts to keep them informed about this continuing and rapidly changing situation. We have started daily briefings with partners so ensure everyone is prepared. With the increase in testing, we will not be surprised if we identify a positive case. Should that happen, rest assured we will share that information with the public as soon as it is confirmed. At this time we want all community members to be aware of exactly how they could access care, should the need arise.

“Because COVID-19 is a new virus the complete clinical picture is not fully understood at this time. Reported symptoms have ranged from mild to severe,” Dr. Nesheiwat continued. “Older people and those with certain underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung disease and diabetes for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.”

The “Call Before you Go” plan outlines how residents can get care if they need it and prompts people to make a decision to seek care or testing in consult with their primary care provider. For residents who develop flu-like symptoms and are not short of breath, the best thing to do is take one’s temperature and limit contact with others by simply staying home. Individuals who are concerned about exposure to COVID-19 should call their primary care provider. New York State has also established a COVID-19 hotline (1-888-364-3065). For anyone feeling more severely ill, and in particular, with trouble breathing, the key message is to seek medical care without delay, but always with a call before you go. It is important everyone first call their healthcare provider, urgent care or local emergency room and tell them of any possible risk for Coronavirus exposure. If you call 911, the dispatcher should be given the same exposure information.

Also very important is that all residents be conscientious about normal, standard precautions, relevant for any communicable disease. This includes washing 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 and if you are sick, stay home. 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. These guidelines, followed carefully, will make a difference in community spread of the disease.

The final take-away the Health Commissioner advises is to follow the advice of reputable health authorities. “There are rumors in the community and via social media,” Dr. Nesheiwat said. “We will keep the community informed of this evolving situation via our website and our closely monitored social media accounts, as well as through information released to the media. Responding to individual rumors becomes time-consuming and we aim to maximize efficiency.”

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 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; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealthny and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Low Cost Clinic for Pets and Feral/Community Cats

A low-cost spay/neuter clinic has been planned in Fishkill on Thursday, March 19. Here’s an opportunity to have your private pets and feral/community cats spayed or neutered for just $70. Appointments are required and can be made by calling Paula at 845-206-9021.

Putnam County Goes Red to Honor Judge Reitz and Support Heart Health for All

BREWSTER, NY—Despite the rainy, cold weather, dozens of Putnam County employees from commissioners to clerks, came out on Go Red Day to honor Honorable Judge James F. Reitz who passed away suddenly from a fatal heart attack last June. His widow Barbara joined the group in support of Go Red Day, the first Friday of every February, which is designated as American Heart Month. Every year, from coast to coast, Americans unite for a common goal—the eradication of heart disease and stroke. The slogan, Go Red for Women, calls attention to the fact that more women die every year of heart diseases than all cancers combined.

The overarching message is to encourage everyone, men and women, to spread the word and get your numbers checked. A basic annual physical and bloodwork should check your heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol.

In April, residents will have the opportunity to join the 2020 Putnam Heart Walk, which will also honor Judge Reitz. Walkers can recognize him further by joining the community team called “‘Honoring Our Heart,’ Remembering Judge James F. Reitz.” The event takes place on Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 9 a.m. at Brewster High School. Walking is a heart-healthy exercise and participants can join this community team or create their own. Either way they will be joining with the American Heart Association to create a world of longer, healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke by participating, fundraising, volunteering or sponsoring the Heart Walk. To learn more, visit www.PutnamHeartWalk.org and register!

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

PCDOH Novel Coronavirus Bulletin: Currently No Cases in Putnam

For the most up-to-date travel information, please visit: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers

For local information from the Putnam County DOH, please visit: putnamcountyny.com/coronavirus

 

Brewster, NY-  With the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declaring the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a public health emergency, the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) wants to assure residents that at this time there are no known cases of the novel coronavirus in Putnam. The risk to the general public remains low. Should the risk of exposure to this virus increase, county officials are prepared to respond.

“When it comes to emergency preparedness, our county and community partners consistently work together to ensure our residents remain safe. Regarding this particular health risk, our Bureau of Emergency Services, law enforcement and health department remain up-to-date regarding the latest developments and they maintain communication with Putnam Hospital Center as well as other local health care providers,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell.

Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, M.D. also reminds everyone that, “While novel coronavirus can cause severe illness, it is not an immediate health concern for Putnam residents. However, if there were a case, residents would hear about it directly from the department of health. We are in daily contact with both the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We update our protocols under their direct guidance based on the most up-to-date developments.”

Testing for this new type of coronavirus is performed in cooperation with both the local and state departments of health. Both the PCDOH and the NYSDOH continue to work together to keep residents informed. For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/.

“Remember that the best way to prevent the spread of viruses is avoid exposure and to practice hand hygiene. The influenza virus continues to be widespread in our area, and it is not too late to get a flu vaccine,” continues Dr. Nesheiwat. Health officials continue to recommend everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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 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; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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Low Cost Clinic for Pets and Feral/Community Cats

A low-cost spay/neuter clinic has been planned in Fishkill on Thursday, February 20. Here’s an opportunity to have your private pets and feral/community cats spayed or neutered for just $70. Appointments are required and can be made by calling Paula at 845-206-9021.

Putnam Goes Red on Friday, February 7

County Employees to Gather on Court House Steps to Call Awareness to Heart Health Month

BREWSTER, NY— On Friday, February 7, people in Putnam County and across the country, will be wearing red to raise awareness about how common cardiovascular diseases are and to call attention to the fact that more women die of these diseases than all cancers combined.

“We all know someone affected by heart disease or stroke,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Go Red Day hits particularly close to home this year. Our community suffered a great loss this past year with the shocking and tragic loss of the Honorable James F. Reitz. I hope you will all join me in wearing red on Friday to remember him and to remind your family and friends that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women too.”

“All genders and ethnicities are impacted by cardiovascular disease,” said Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD., Commissioner of Health. “Most people think that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain. But among women, sixty-four percent of who die suddenly of coronary heart disease experience more subtle warning signs, such as shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Because symptoms vary so much between men and women, the warning signs in women are often misunderstood or not recognized.”

Go Red Day calls attention to these facts and the overarching message is to encourage everyone, men and women, to spread the word and get your numbers checked. A basic annual physical and bloodwork should check your heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol.

In April, residents will have the opportunity to join the 2020 Putnam Heart Walk, which will also honor Judge Reitz. Walkers can recognize him further by joining the community team called “‘Honoring Our Heart,’ Remembering Judge James F. Reitz.” The event takes place on Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 9 a.m. at Brewster High School. Walking is a heart-healthy exercise and participants can join this community team or create their own. Either way they will be joining with the American Heart Association to create a world of longer, healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke by participating, fundraising, volunteering or sponsoring the Heart Walk.  To learn more, visit www.PutnamHeartWalk.org and register!

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealthy and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.