By CLOEY CALLAHAN
As numbers inch back to what they were back in May in New York, some are saying the second wave of COVID-19 is here, something that was expected for the colder months.
Orange County has been recently struggling with the increase of cases and some areas have been put in the red and orange zones like Palm Tree, Woodbury and Monroe. Orange County is up 271 positive cases since the Friday before, averaging around 90.3 new cases per day. The City of Newburgh has the highest number of total cases at 2,010. Palm Tree follows behind with 1,645 cases.
The City of Newburgh had 39 new cases over the weekend. The Town of Newburgh had 25 new cases and the Town of New Windsor had 38 new cases. These three municipalities were the top three with the most new cases over the weekend.
More recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo put new COVID-19 restrictions on residential gatherings just in time for Thanksgiving planning. Starting on Friday, November 13, indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences are mandated to be limited to ten people.
The limit was implemented “due to the recent prevalence of COVID spread resulting from small indoor gatherings including Halloween parties.” The measure also brings New York State in line with neighboring states including Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
In addition to the limit on residential gatherings, all bars, restaurants and gyms are required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
“If you look at where the cases are coming from, if you do the contact tracing, you’ll see they’re coming from three main areas: establishments where alcohol is served, gyms, and indoor gatherings at private homes,” Governor Cuomo said.
To help support restaurants that are closing earlier, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus suggested to “go early, buy gift certificates, wear a mask and buy takeout.”
For red and orange zones like Palm Tree and parts of Monroe and Woodbury, they have already had increased mandates. For Palm Tree, which is in the red zone, worship is at 25 percent capacity of ten people maximum, gatherings are prohibited, only essential businesses are open, takeout is only available for restaurants and all schools are remote only. In the yellow zone, including Monroe and Woodbury, worship is at 50 percent capacity, gatherings are limited to 25 people, businesses are open, only four people are allowed at a table for dining, and schools are open with mandatory weekly testing of students and teachers for in-person settings.
On Monday, November 16, Governor Cuomo reported that out of the 124,565 tests reported the day before, 3,490 were positive. This is 2.80 percent of the total. The hospitalizations across the state are at 1,968 and there were 25 deaths.
Neuhaus has continued to update the community daily on the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the area. On Friday, November 13 he announced that the county is continuing to distribute personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing kits to nursing homes, healthcare facilities and first responders.
The County has been closely tracking 17 nursing homes. On Monday, there were three nursing homes that had at least one positive COVID-19 case. Out of the 17 nursing homes, ten of them had employees who tested positive.
Neuhaus reported on Monday, November 16 that there was an additional COVID-related death over the weekend, which was an elderly person at a nursing home.
As of Monday, there were 39 percent ICU beds available, with 86 hospitalizations.