With the news today that New York State has extended PAUSE until April 29th, we as a community continue to hunker down, stay home, and stop the spread of the virus. Here are a few recent updates:
- 14,294 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases in Westchester County
- 31% of Westchester County residents have received a positive test result
- 233 County residents have died, which is a 1.6% fatality rate.
- 377 County residents are currently hospitalized, which is a 2.6% hospitalization rate.
Please understand that it is too soon to know whether we are flattening the curve. That said, we are hopeful that we will see slower growth based on aggressive testing and social distancing measures.
The State has launched a public website to view relevant statistics: https://covid19tracker.health.ny.gov/
The following map shows the breakdown by Westchester community.
Request for positive COVID-19 patients to voluntarily self-report to the New Castle Police Department.
The rate of COVID-19 testing is increasing, and results from testing are arriving slowly. Positive COVID-19 patients will know their diagnosis days before it’s recorded by the Westchester County Health Department.
James D. Carroll
Chief of Police
Guidance Regarding Landscapers and Leaf Blowers
Many residents have asked whether landscaping is considered an essential business and if leaf blowing can be banned to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On April 2nd, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets stipulated that: "Landscaping for maintenance and pest control purposes has been designated as essential." Learn more: https://agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus.
Yesterday I reached out to the Governor’s Office for clarification and they responded: “Essential businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distance to the extent possible.”
What this means, practically speaking, is that landscapers should not travel with several employees in a single truck and must maintain a 6 ft. distance between workers.
According to the Westchester County Department of Health, there is no connection between the use of leaf blowers and the spread of COVID-19. The Governor’s Office confirmed this finding.
During my conversation with the Governor’s Office yesterday, I inquired whether New York State was taking a position on leaf blower use as it relates to and during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the fact that some reports show that leaf blower usage can have a negative impact on other respiratory illnesses, I was advised that the State does not intend to restrict the use of leaf blowers at this time. I asked them to consider issuing public health guidance on this topic, so that Towns and villages can take a consistent approach.
I have been closely collaborating with the Supervisors of neighboring towns in northern Westchester on a range of issues, and they have taken similar positions.
Bottom line: Whether or not a leaf blower is essential to perform maintenance is not clearly defined by the State, though we continue to push for this clarity. You can be a good neighbor by limiting your use of leaf blowers to reduce harmful particulates and decrease noise pollution while we are all working from home.
Please remember the overall objective: reduce the spread of the virus. This is achieved through limited in-person contact. We must all create an environment that reinforces that only essential work is performed during this time. Thank you for doing your part!