HEADLINES

COVID Cases Increase in New Castle

22 Active COVID Cases in New Castle

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 22 active cases in the Town of New Castle. Active cases are those that have been identified in the past two weeks. On Friday, we had 9 active cases, yesterday we had 19 active cases, and today we are up to 22. I reached out to Westchester County to learn more information about these active cases. Here is what I learned:

College Students

According to Westchester County, at least 2 active cases are attributed to college students who are currently quarantining out-of-state. These students show up in our numbers because they have health insurance linked to a local address. There may be more college students included in the number of cases in our municipality, but this could not be confirmed by the County at this time.

As an example, I received the following message last night from a resident:

“My child, a college student, has been back on campus out-of-state since mid-August.  My child had a negative test prior to leaving for school, and another negative test upon arrival on campus. My child tested positive on 9/6, along with many others on campus.  My child got a call on Saturday from a tracer in NY, and informed the Contact Tracer of my child’s whereabouts. I would guess that there are other out of state students who are being counted in the Chappaqua numbers.”

Oak Lane Child Care

Another explanation for the increase in the number of COVID cases in New Castle is due to a small cluster at Oak Lane Child Care Center. The following is a statement from Ronnie Weinberger, M.S.Ed. Executive Director of Oak Lane:

“Earlier this month, we learned that an individual at Oak Lane Child Care Center had tested positive for COVID-19.  Upon learning of the individual's positive test, we immediately notified our families and staff, closed the Center, and notified and began working with the Westchester County Department of Health in an effort to contain possible spread.  

“As a result of our communications with the County, the Department of Health quickly implemented its contact-tracing process and provided quarantine guidance as necessary to our students and staff.  We implored all staff and students to be tested, and have been in daily communication with our families to keep them apprised of developments.  Since we closed, we have learned of five teachers and five students testing positive. The Department of Health is aware of these additional positive tests and has provided updated quarantine guidance as appropriate.  All of our impacted staff members and students are doing well and recovering at home.

“Nothing is more important to us at Oak Lane than the health and safety of our families, our staff, and our community.  In an effort to protect everybody's wellbeing, our Center will remain closed for another week, with current plans to reopen on Wednesday, September 23.  Our building has undergone a comprehensive deep-clean, and we are requiring staff and students to provide either a negative COVID test or a copy of a Release from Isolation Notice (for those that previously tested positive) before they return to the Center.  We also will continue to require strict adherence to our policies and procedures developed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  We are working tirelessly to protect our families, staff, and community members and provide guidance at every turn, and look forward to a safe and healthy re-opening next week.”

Chappaqua Central School District – NO Cases!

As of this moment, the Chappaqua Central School District has 0 reported cases for current k-12 students and staff since opening. I received this confirmation directly from Superintendent Christine Ackerman.

Please note, CCSD provides daily reporting to the NYSDOH:   https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/#/home 

If CCSD were to have a positive case, the Superintendent would send a letter to the impacted school and also post it on the CCSD COVID site under school wide notification: https://www.ccsd.ws/district/departments/public-information/covid-19-opening-2020

Other Sources…The Virus is (Still) In the Community!

Not all of these active cases are out-of-state college students or Oak Lane teachers and students. In fact, the majority of the cases are just members of our community – people like you and me who contracted the virus in any number of ways from any number of different sources. With that in mind it is important to remember:

  • Wear Your Masks! It’s the law.

  • Maintain social distancing

  • No big parties! Keep all gatherings to 50 (masked) people.

  • Quarantine when returning home from travel, or as required 

  • Answer your phones! When Contact Tracers call give them accurate, honest, and timely information.

Stop Playing the Blame Game

In order to stop community spread, we need to behave like a community. Instead of pointing fingers at one another we need to come together and recognize that it is our individual and collective responsibility to follow the rules. I’ve read posts and received emails and text messages that blame everyone from parents, to middle school kids, to restaurant owners, to baseball coaches, to college students, to school administrators, to police officers, to our neighbors. Enough! We need to stop shifting the blame and start taking responsibility. Why is this critically important? Because when we shame one another, we make people less likely to provide NYS contact tracers with accurate, honest, and timely information that is essential to stopping community spread and keeping our schools and businesses open. 

This virus spreads like wildfire and until a vaccine is found we are only able to contain, not eliminate the virus in our community. There is no shame in contracting COVID! We thank those who come forward and share information with us that can help contain the spread – they demonstrate a deep love for their neighbors and our community. Today, in particular, we thank Oak Lane Child Care Center for being a good neighbor and friend to New Castle.

Important Reminder! Follow Isolation Protocols

Westchester County would like to underscore the importance of following isolation protocols. The current mandate is that anyone who is COVID positive must isolate for 14 days. Anyone exposed to a person who is COVID positive must also quarantine for 14 days. This is, in both cases, regardless of a negative COVID test – a negative test does not release you from the obligation to quarantine.

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