Local deaths increase as state ponders reopening

By Lina Wu
Posted 5/13/20

Orange County has 9,730 confirmed novel coronavirus [COVID-19] cases, announced Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus last Saturday in a video COVID-19 briefing. The amount increased by 33 from …

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Local deaths increase as state ponders reopening

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Orange County has 9,730 confirmed novel coronavirus [COVID-19] cases, announced Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus last Saturday in a video COVID-19 briefing. The amount increased by 33 from last Friday’s amount. As of Saturday, 378 people have passed away from COVID-19 in Orange County.

Although it appears COVID-19 cases are slowly plateauing in New York State, there are still concerns about COVID-19 spiking again as the state considers plans for reopening.

The number of deaths have increased by 11 from last Friday, said Neuhaus. Nine of those deaths have occurred at nursing homes; the other two passed away at a hospital. Neuhaus said he believes the nursing home deaths were reported late by a couple of days.

Neauhas said there’s a total of 1,076 cases of recovery. The amount of recoveries have increased by 37 from last Friday’s amount.

Breaking down the amount of cases in Orange County by municipalities, the City of Newburgh has the highest number of COVID-19 cases. Newburgh currently has 1,314 cases.

In the City of Newburgh, Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital offers on site COVID-19 testing. In addition, Cornerstone Family Healthcare offers curbside testing. Cornerstone also offers plasma antibody testing.

The Town of New Windsor has 803 cases and the Town of Newburgh has 645 cases.

In the Town of New Windsor, Horizon Family Medical Group offers COVID-19 testing. Emergency One Urgent Care offers plasma antibody testing. In the Town of Newburgh, one can get tested for COVID-19 at Crystal Run HealthCare.

One will also soon be able to be tested at an independent pharmacy. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in April that testing will be expanded to the state’s 5,000 independent pharmacies.

Walk-in diagnostic tests will initially be made available to first responders, medical workers, and essential employees.

Those interested in receiving testing for COVID-19 should call their primary care provider ahead of time. Private physicians typically work with local laboratories to get test results.

In addition, one can call 888-364-3065 to arrange testing at the state’s testing site, Anthony Wayne Recreation Area.

Neuhaus said 67 percent of Orange County’s ICU beds are available, this number is up by 2 percent from last Friday. The hospitalizations have gone up from 109 last Friday to 119 on Saturday. Of the 119 hospitalizations, 95 people have tested positive and are in the hospital. The other 24 people are under investigation.

A big factor in COVID-19’s spread is social distancing. The virus can be transmitted more easily in crowded spaces. In the City of Newburgh, where the highest number of confirmed cases have been confirmed, the police department has reported several large gatherings through the city.

“The choice to congregate puts the lives of families and loved ones at risk,” said Mayor Torrance Harvey in a recent letter. “If we are not able to flatten the rate of infection, we will not be able to reopen the city as timely as possible.”

Harvey also reported an alarming increase in gunshots. On one weekend, 55 gunshots were recorded via ShotSpotter.

“These personal choices are very unfortunate,” said Harvey. “Our Police Department should not respond to these types of matters during these difficult times.”

The City of Newburgh also has a large homeless population. The city recently decided to extend its contract with the Newburgh Ministry’s warming center. With the current situation, the city is struggling more than ever with finding housing for the homeless. The homeless is one of the more at risk groups.

Harvey condemned a recent video that went viral on social media. The video depicted an individual throwing water on a sleeping individual, who appeared to be part of the homeless population. The incident occurred on Dubois Street.

Harvey said that the person who threw the water has since apologized, also that people have reached out to the sleeping individual to offer him money and other items.

“Heinous and deplorable acts such as this are unjustifiable,” said Harvey.

In contrast, the Town of New Windsor and Town of Newburgh have not had as many struggles with enforcing social distancing.

Overall social distancing has been followed, said Newburgh Town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio. Despite some complaints over gatherings, the Town of Newburgh Police Department has handled complaints with warnings.

“The masks and the social distance seem to be working,” said New Windsor Town Supervisor George Meyers. “However there is a whole lot more traffic out there than there was [before]. So, people are out and about.”

Meyers said that there isn’t a problem with large gatherings in the town.

“We go out there and we try to reason with them,” said Meyers. “Sometimes we have complaints about people. But, we haven’t had large gatherings. People have been very good with the police. Last thing I need to do is have any incidents over gatherings.”

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, both towns have canceled their upcoming Memorial Day Parades. The Town of New Windsor has decided to reschedule their Memorial Day Service for a later date. The Town of New Windsor will not be holding any alternative celebration on social media.

The Town of Newburgh hasn’t canceled their Memorial Day Service yet. If the service is canceled, the Town of Newburgh has no plans for a Memorial Day celebration this year.

The City of Newburgh announced the cancellation of its Memorial Day Parade this past Monday at its City Council meeting.

“That does not mean we will not pay special tribute to the men and women who serve this country,” said City Manager Joe Donat. “Later on in the year as 2020 unfolds, I’m very confident the city will have a very special event in which we are able to memorialize all those who have served our country in many ways, shapes, and forms over the years.”

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