Putnam Has First COVID Deaths

Carmel hospital reports seven fatalities

Putnam County has had its first COVID-related deaths, according to data released Wednesday (April 1) by the county, citing the Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel. It is not clear how many county residents have died. The county referred questions about the deaths to the hospital, which said that seven patients had died there of COVID-19, including two on March 31, but declined to provide further details beyond saying that not all seven fatalities were Putnam County residents.

The deaths were first reported on a Community Impact Dashboard that the county updates with the latest numbers related to the pandemic. As of April 1, a section was added with figures provided by the hospital. The chart says the seven deaths were “since March 6,” but the representative said that was when the hospital began collecting data, not the date of the first death. She declined to say when the first COVID-19 death had occurred.

(On April 3, the county updated the count to 11 deaths, including four in the previous 24 hours, and noted the data was “as of March 28.”)

Besides the deaths, the hospital said on April 4 that it has 18 patients confirmed to have COVID and another eight awaiting test results. Putnam Hospital Center has 164 beds, including 10 in its intensive-care unit, although that number should grow as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered hospitals across the state to increase capacity by 50 percent.

In a statement issued with the dashboard that first revealed the deaths, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said it would provide “complete local data about the epidemic,” adding, “now that Putnam Hospital is sharing its information with the county, we will also be able to include hospital admissions and more. We want the public to have as complete a picture as possible of the local impact of the coronavirus epidemic.”

A dashboard released by Putnam County on April 3.

Deaths are not reported to the Putnam County health department, but to town clerks, who create a death certificate that is sent to the state health department. Positive tests for COVID-19 are reported to the county health department by a doctor, or the lab that conducts the test reports it to the state, which informs the county.

Dutchess County reported seven deaths in the past week related to COVID-19, raising its total to nine. A 61-year-old man died on Sunday (March 29) at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie “after being admitted for an unrelated condition and swabbed for COVID-19, which was confirmed positive,” the health department said. A second man, 52, died Tuesday (March 31) at Vassar Brothers after being admitted with shortness of breath, and on Wednesday (April 1), a 68-year-old woman with underlying health issues died at her home. On April 2, the county confirmed four fatalities, including a 28 year-old male.

New York State has had more than 3,500 deaths as of April 4.

6 thoughts on “Putnam Has First COVID Deaths

  1. Snopes would rate County Executive Odell’s assertion that the “county wishes the public to have as complete a picture as possible” as False. It took a FOIL dated March 21, numerous postings on social media and the threat of an Article 78 to wrest the town-by-town incidence of virus infection, sex and age.

    In the meantime, the county Department of Health used various ruses, citing HIPAA regulations regarding disclosure of individual Patient Personal Health Records as cover to deny the public this information. And now the County has disclosed that during this period and perhaps even before, deaths had occurred in Putnam Hospital Center and that the county still lacks a testing site belatedly requested by Odell more than a month into the crisis. (Putnam Valley Supervisor Sam Oliverio, along with supervisors from the other five towns in Putnam, have written the governor to facilitate a testing site with supplies for Putnam County.)

    This apparent lack of coordination and drip, drip, drip of information does not inspire public confidence in the management of this health crisis by county officials. Where is the leadership?

  2. Thank you, Ann, for being a voice for Putnam County residents and the difficulty we had trying to ascertain what is going on in Putnam County during this pandemic.

  3. Thank you for your posting, Ann. I have e-mailed the County Executive when the first cases were noted. I wanted to know the town which first had the first positive cases. I was told revealing it would be a HIPPA violation. I did not ask the names of the people, just the town where it started. Once again, no transparency. Now we are behind the eight ball with no testing and some deaths related to the virus in the county. So much for keeping us safe.

  4. Has anyone noticed that getting medical attention from your health care provider is sometimes not possible these days? I received a computer call from CareMount Medical saying I was due for two pneumonia shots. I called for an appointment and was told they were no longer giving shots while all this is going on. I called the pharmacy at Stop & Shop and they also are not giving shots. I believe CareMount may shut its offices soon. I’m 69 years old with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes. So much for health care! I guess a lot of people in Putnam County will soon be on their own.

  5. Thank you for everything you are all saying, because it’s true. I am over 60 and three of my doctors want me to go to a portal, all different and difficult to access. Being disabled, I find it too hard. Also, not being able to find toilet paper and having to get my family from New Jersey to mail me some is horrible. And why is there no testing site in the county? I feel we are forgotten! We are on our own and a text or call to keep us updated is not too much to ask.

  6. Dear Ann, thank you for your post. You have said everything I’ve wanted to say but didn’t. Absolutely no help from Odell’s office or the health department.