Putnam Pandemic: 160 Active Cases Reported

Lanning Taliaferro

PUTNAM COUNTY, NY — County officials released a new dashboard Friday with data from the past two weeks showing 398 new coronavirus cases in Putnam.

There are 160 active cases, and four people are hospitalized at Putnam Medical Center. There has been one death in the past month.

The cumulative number of cases —since the outbreak began — was 2,465, officials reported Friday. That's up from 1,737 on Sept. 11.

County officials issued four alerts over coronavirus exposures in the past week or so at a church, club, supermarket and Home Depot. SEE: Youth Sports, Halloween Driving Coronavirus Spike In Putnam

A week prior to Thanksgiving and the start of the winter holiday season, leaders from Dutchess, Orange, Putnam and Ulster counties gathered virtually to ask residents to remain vigilant in the coming weeks and curtail small social gatherings.

Those kinds of parties have led to a recent increase in local COVID-19 cases, raising the Mid-Hudson region’s positivity rate, affecting the ability of schools and businesses to remain open and further stressing the region’s healthcare resources.

Many residents assume COVID-19 cases are on the rise due to exposures at workplaces, schools and businesses. In recent weeks, however, the Mid-Hudson region has seen a surge in cases resulting from gatherings in casual settings such as homes, where many residents have become lax about adhering to proper safety guidelines – proper mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing – and one infected individual can expose many more, officials said.

With the broad roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine still months away, the region’s leaders implored residents to keep their gatherings small, preferably to immediate members of their household, and continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines whenever people are interacting with others beyond their immediate household.

At that Zoom session, Putnam County’s Deputy County Executive Tom Feighery noted that Putnam saw a direct correlation between people ‘letting down their guard’ (not following safety measures in casual, social settings) and COVID-19 transmission in the six days following Halloween when positive case doubled in that county.

“We appreciate all of the essential workers, especially all the Health Departments for their efforts and hope the public will do their part," Feighery said.

The Mid-Hudson region has the second highest test positivity rate in the state — 3.8 percent, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a news briefing Friday. Putnam County has the highest rolling average in the region as of Friday, at 5.4 percent.

This article originally appeared on the Southeast-Brewster Patch