WPCNR CORONAVIRUS UPDATE. By John F. Bailey. December 7, 2021:
The day after County Executive George Latimer’s Covid Monday news conference, the county learned of the first overly contagious Omicron Covid Varient case, a 13 year old boy. The County Executive issued this statement Tuesday at 5:30 PM:
“Earlier this afternoon we were informed that there is a confirmed case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in Westchester County. The positive case is in a 13-year-old Westchester County resident. We are concerned about this discovery, and are closely monitoring the situation. With the new variant circulating, the best way we can protect our families and ourselves is by being vaccinated, and by getting a booster shot if you are eligible.
“Additionally, I have officially signed the State of Emergency Executive Order for Westchester County. I am taking this action to combat the Delta and Omicron COVID variants. There is currently a public health threat, I know it has been many months, I know you are tired but we – together – must take action to be better prepared to fight COVID and the new variants.”
In his news conference on Covid Monday the County Executive stated his administration was preparing a 5-step plan which would be implemented when key indicators of covid infections and hospitalizations were reached. He did not apply and new requirements for Westchester County. He said that 84 new hospitalizations were reported in Westchester, up from 52 a week ago, a 61% increase in hospitalizations. He presented this chart :
The County Executive said that the county was formulating a Five Step plan of actions to take if hospitalizations continued to rise. The first step pictured above is triggered by rising to 100 hospitalizations. He said the next steps would involve restrictions. Tuesday morning on WVOX Radio ‘s Dennis and Tonny’s Good Morning Westchester, he said that with hospitalizations “rising towards 100, the county is declaring a state of emergency.”
He stressed in his covid briefing the county was “nowhere near” the infections of previous weeks, and noted the low death rates over the last year, shown below as evidence the county was not in serious danger of overburdening county hospitals. He said the 93% vaccinated population with at least one shot was definitely a factor in reducing hospitalizations saying that 57% of hospitalized patients were unvaccinated, and the rest were either presumed unvaccinated, or had preexisting health conditions.
Susan Fox, President, CEO of White Plains Hospital appeared at the invitation of the County Executive to address the Governor’s suggestion for hospitals to not accept elective surgeries.
She said that the hospital realizes it has to maintain a balance between being ready for Covid patients and serving the needs of the public. She said her staff is burned out from treating covid, but presently, only 15 patients are being treated for Covid at White Plains Hospital and only 1 is in the ICU unit. She gave the impression the hospital was not at the point where they would cancel elective surgeries which Governor Kathy Hochul suggested last week.
The County Executive answering a question by John Gordon of News 12 in the news conference about reopening the County Center as a vaccination center (it has been closed for vaccinations since November 14), said he was looking at that but did not give a reason why.
Mr. Latimer had a lot of issues he wanted to stress, which meant he had no time all the statistics that would indicate how good the public response is to the need to be vaccinated.
The County Executive did not give a count of how the vaccination shot administrations were going since the Westchester Medical Center took over that responsibility for the region. We were not told whether vaccinations were up in frequency or down as he used to do when the County Center, the Yonkers Armory and the Health Department on Court Street in White Plains were punching out shots to long lines in August. Pharmacy shot totals were not addressed. School vaccinations response trends were not given in detail.
When WPCNR asked the County Department of Communications for the figures on Westchester Medical Center vaccinations for children under 12, and those adultsnover 18, they recommended WPCNR go to the Westchester Medical Center press office.
WPCNR awaits a call back from Andrew LaGuardia, media spokesperson for Westchester Medical Center for an explanation of number of first shots, second shots and boosters administered and volume of children under 12 getting shots since November 14 when the Westchester Medical Center took over administering shots in the county. Such figures would provide a better picture of the public response to the county urging they get their vaccinations over the last two monthsl
WPCNR also asked Mr. LaGuardia if Westchester Medical Center was already taking in overflows of patients from surrounding counties in the the Mid-Hudson region where there are not as many hospitals as Westchester. Infections have been racing up the last two weeks in Orange County, Rockland County, Ulster County and Dutchess.
The climb in the MidHudson region continued Sunday and Long Island shows no signs of stopping and no detailed hospitalization numbers have been issued by the state.
On Sunday, December 5 the New York State Covid Tracker showed Westchester County infections leading the Mid-Hudson region with 280 unfortunate new positives testing with covid of 6,401 tested, 4.4%. Orange County had 152, Dutchess, 106, Rockland 96, Ulster, 52, Putnam 36. Sullivan,28.
Nassau and Suffolk county positives continue to astound.
On Sunday, Nassau produced 759 positives, a 6.6% infection rate on 11,422 tested. Suffolk found 932 positives of 12,383, 7.5%. No figures given for Nassau and Suffolk hospitalizations.
The MidHudson Region of 7 counties and Nassau and Suffolk counties totaled 2,441 new infections Sunday. The New York City five boroughs has 2,159. Sunday marked the 20th day in the last 25 days that the 9 suburban counties had more new persons coming down with covid than all of New York City.
At the conclusion of the news conference Monday, Mr. Latimer admonished the audience with these words about getting vaccinated:
He said at the conclusion of the press queries that he expected covid is going to be with us forever and that people needed to rise to the occasion and live with covid by being thoughtful (of others), practicing self-discipline, and perseverance.