By CLOEY CALLAHAN
According to New York State’s percentage positive results by county dashboard, Orange County has had a rolling 7-day average above 7 percent since December 4. Before that, it was above 5 percent since November 28, and has been above 3 percent since November 8.
While the Newburgh area was identified as a yellow micro-cluster zone on November 19, there has been discussion about whether or not the area will continue in the direction of the orange micro-cluster zone. To enter the orange zone, the area has to have a 7-day rolling average positivity about 4 percent for ten days, while to enter the red zone, the area has to have a 7-day rolling average positivity above 5 percent for 10 days. Additionally, for both the orange and red zones, there has to be 12 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on a 7-day average. Orange County may be hitting these numbers as a whole, but there is no further information regarding the already identified Newburgh yellow zone.
On Friday, December 11, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus touched base on the recent closure of New York City’s indoor dining, which went into effect on Monday, December 14.
“We’re not there yet in the Hudson Valley or Orange County,” said Neuhaus.
One of the reasons as to why we are not there yet is because of the change in the metrics. Neuhaus explained that the new metric to look out for is reaching 85 percent or more of hospital bed capacity. In the past, it only looked at intensive care unit (ICU) beds.
“Not everyone is in an ICU bed,” said Neuhaus. “Some of them are being treated and hopefully not in an ICU bed.”
As of Friday, Orange County had 74 percent of hospital beds being used, which Neuhaus said not to panic about.
“The hospitals do have their ability to expand their capacity by doing one of three things, or a combination,” said Neuhaus.
He described the options as adding more beds, adding more staff and stopping elective surgeries. Neuhaus said he is tracking the number of hospital beds available closely and they are discussing the best strategy so things don’t begin closing.
Over the weekend, there were eight COVID-19 related deaths throughout Orange County, with seven of them being nursing home related. Their ages were between 57 and 90 years old.