Coronavirus Roundup: Nursing Home Visits Resume, With Restrictions | Health | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

This is a roundup of coronavirus news and announcements from New York State and Hudson Valley and Catskills counties published on Friday, July 10.

NEW YORK STATE
400,299 cases confirmed (786 new)
4,541,574 tests performed (73,558 new)
Positive test rate: 1.1%
24,968 deaths (9 new)
826 current hospitalizations
178 current ICU admissions
New York State coronavirus page
New York State official pressroom
Hotline: (888) 364-3065

After almost four months of a total statewide ban on nursing home visitation, New York is easing the rules. The New York State Department of Health announced Friday that limited visitation can resume in homes that have been free from COVID-19 for at least 28 days, a rule the agency attributes to guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Visitors will be limited to two at a time, and must undergo temperature checks, wear masks, and observe social distancing. Visitors under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult visitor. Only 10 percent of a facility’s residents may have visitors on any given day. Nursing homes must submit plans for visitation to the state DOH.

Malls in Phase Four regions, which now includes all of New York State except New York City, were given the greenlight to reopen on Friday if they met new air filtration standards set by the state. There is still no word from Governor Andrew Cuomo or the state DOH on when gyms and movie theaters will be allowed to reopen. 

Earlier this week, ProPublica published a searchable database for PPP loans of $150,000 or more, drawing on data recently released by the federal Small Business Association. Readers can search by zip code to find loans in an area, or by organization, lender, or business type. Included in the database: The River’s parent company, Chronogram Media, which received a PPP loan between $150,000 and $350,000

Antibody testing in local clinics is lending evidence to the idea that a few New York City neighborhoods were so heavily infected that they may be approaching herd immunity. The New York Times reports that a clinic in Corona, a neighborhood in Queens, found a 68 percent positivity rate among people they tested for antibodies to the novel coronavirus. Epidemiologists aren’t ready to declare that the hardest-hit neighborhoods have gained herd immunity, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. If the people tested by the clinic were more likely to have been infected than the population at large, the test results may be overestimating how much of the local population was infected. If infection doesn’t give people long-lasting immunity to contracting COVID-19 again, herd immunity might not develop. And scientists still can’t say for sure how much of the population needs to have been infected for herd immunity to develop: That number is different for every disease, and depends on how contagious the disease is. Experts have estimated that as few as 60 or 70 percent of the population, or as many as 85 percent, need to have immunity to COVID-19 for herd immunity to emerge.

Announced by New York State on Thursday and Friday:

Rate of active cases per 10,000 residents, drawn from the latest county data. Active case data unavailable for Rockland and Orange counties.

LOWER HUDSON VALLEY
County coronavirus pages: Rockland, Westchester, Putnam

Putnam County hit zero active cases on July 4, according to data released by the county, but positive tests coming in this week soon pushed active cases back up again. As of Thursday, the active case count had climbed back up to 15.

The Westchester Hilton hotel in Rye Brook is closing permanently due to financial complications caused by the pandemic, the Rockland/Westchester Journal News reports Friday.

Most of the will-they-or-won’t-they-reopen speculation regarding schools has focused on public schools, but private institutions are making the same decisions on their own—and some are closing for good. On Thursday, the Office of the Superintendent of Schools of the Archdiocese of New York announced that 20 Catholic schools in the state will not reopen, including eight in the Hudson Valley. The Examiner News has the complete list.

MID-HUDSON VALLEY
County coronavirus pages: Orange, Dutchess, Ulster, Columbia

Next week is “Get Tested Week” in Ulster County, which is essentially county executive Pat Ryan’s way of saying: Testing is free, widely available, and all county residents should get one. “As we see cases continue to rise, it is critical that we remain vigilant and encourage all residents to get tested,” Ryan said Thursday during a Facebook live briefing. Residents can find information about testing at ulstercountyny.gov/get-tested.

Particularly in need of testing: Anyone who shopped at Mother Earth’s Storehouse in Kingston in the first week of July. Ulster County Commissioner of Health Dr. Carol Smith announced Friday that an employee of the health-food store tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

The City of Kingston will resume charging for on-street metered parking on July 27, Mayor Steve Noble announced Friday. Municipal lots will remain free until Columbus Day, which falls on October 12 this year.

The Wappinger DMV will reopen July 13 for in-person license, permits, and non-driver ID transactions by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling (845) 298-4623 from 9am to noon and 1pm to 4:45pm.

The Ulster County Industrial Development Agency board has approved a grant program that provides $5,000 to small businesses and nonprofits to purchase personal protective equipment in order to stay in business during the pandemic. The program will be capped at $300,000.

On Wednesday, the Ulster County IDA also heard from the developers of the Kingstonian, the controversial uptown residential and commercial project, who are seeking $30.6 million in coronavirus-related financial relief. They did not get a sympathetic ear, the Daily Freeman reports.

When will amusement parks be allowed to open? No one knows, which has left places like Fishkill’s SplashDown in limbo. The Poughkeepsie Journal has a feature on the predicament facing SplashDown and other entertainment destinations in the Hudson Valley, which includes the loss of millions of dollars and hundreds of seasonal and full-time jobs.

CATSKILLS
County coronavirus pages: Sullivan, Delaware, Greene, Schoharie

The state is cracking down on businesses in the tiny Delaware County village of Fleischmanns that are allegedly hosting illegal Orthodox Jewish sleepaway camps. Local officials told The River that on Friday, the state Department of Health served cease-and-desist notices to several local hotels, a deli, and a yeshiva owned by Avi Mendlovic, a businessman whose properties have been the focus of complaints in the village for years. Mayor Fred Woller said that for the past two weeks, Mendlovic’s Palace Hotel and the motel formerly known as the Flagstone Inn have been home to large crowds of teenage boys who are visibly not social distancing or wearing masks, and that village officials and residents have been calling local and state authorities in an effort to get enforcement of pandemic guidelines. Woller was quick to stress that other Orthodox families in the village have been more careful about public safety guidelines. “This is a health issue, and certain people just don’t take it seriously. It’s not bias, it’s fact, they’re breaking the law.”

OF INTEREST?
The River has a guide on where, how, and when to get tested for the coronavirus in the Hudson Valley and Catskills. To read more of our coronavirus coverage, visit our coronavirus page.

The River is collaborating with WGXC to announce these updates over the air. To listen, tune in to 90.7 FM at midnight, 5am, 7am, or 9am, or visit the audio archive online.

La Voz, una revista de cultura y noticias del Valle de Hudson en español, está traduciendo estos resúmenes y co-publicandolos en su página web. Leyendo aqui. También puede escuchar actualizaciones diarias por audio en el show “La Voz con Mariel Fiori” en Radio Kingston.

Lissa Harris

Lissa Harris is a staff writer at The River and a volunteer firefighter. She was the founding editor of the Watershed Post, a site that covered local news in the rural Catskills from 2010 to 2017.
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