Coronavirus Updates (April)

COVID update

■ Putnam’s five new cases on Tuesday (April 26) represented the county’s lowest daily tally since Nov. 2, and its 1.3 percent positivity rate the lowest since Oct. 27. Dutchess’ 39 new cases on Tuesday was the county’s lowest daily count since Feb. 2.

■ The cap on spectators at large-scale outdoor venues, including professional and college sports stadiums, will rise to 33 percent from 20 percent starting May 19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday (April 26). The state also is raising capacity limits on:

  • Casinos and gaming facilities, to 50 percent from 25 percent beginning May 15.
  • Offices, to 75 percent from 50 percent beginning May 15.
  • Gyms/fitness centers outside New York City, to 50 percent from 33 beginning May 15.

■ Dutchess County averaged 62 new positives a day for the 7-day period ending Saturday (April 23), compared to 92 the previous week. Putnam averaged 23 new cases a day for the week ending Saturday, compared to 31 the previous 7-day period.

■ New York’s 7-day positivity rate stood at 2.57 percent as of Wednesday (April 21), the lowest rate since Nov. 1, according to the state.

■ Active cases in Dutchess stood at 931 as of Friday (April 16), the county’s first time below 1,000 since March 9 and the lowest daily total of active cases since 878 on Feb. 17.

■ Putnam County’s average daily positivity rate (the percentage of daily tests confirmed for COVID-19) fell by a full percentage point for the 7-day period ending Friday (April 16), to 3.8 percent compared to 4.8 percent for the week ending April 8. Dutchess County averaged 4.2 percent for both 7-day periods.

■ New York’s Office of Children and Family Services is now accepting applications from essential workers and first responders for the state’s Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund, which has $26.6 million in grants available to reimburse workers for out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the pandemic. Households earning up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level, $125,470 for a family of four, are eligible to apply for up to $1,000 for expenses like child care, lodging and transportation. Visit the fund’s website for more information. The deadline is May 18.

■ The Fishkill Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Beacon had not had a resident test positive for COVID-19 in 115 days as of Thursday (April 22), according to data posted on the facility’s website. The nursing home also had gone 50 days without a staff member testing positive case. Overall, the Fishkill Center has had 80 residents and 88 staff test positive, and 14 residents die from COVID-19.

■ An average of 963 people a day have been getting COVID-19 tests in Putnam County this month, as of Friday (April 9), compared to 808 tests a day in March and 857 in February. The county averaged 1,039 in January, during the height of pandemic’s second wave in New York state.

■ Payments made to families through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority COVID-19 death benefit program will be exempt from state taxes as part of the newly approved budget for the 2022 fiscal year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday (April 9). Started in April 2020, the program has approved $62 million in payments to families of MTA employees who died of COVID-19, said Cuomo.

■ A 23-member Essential Workers Advisory Committee will oversee the design, locating and construction of a monument to honor the service of essential workers during the pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday (April 6). The monument will be built in New York City and be dedicated to essential workers in 17 categories: nurses, doctors, hospital staff, teachers, transport workers, police, ambulance/EMT, firefighters, corrections, sanitation, National Guard, store employees, government employees, building service workers, utility workers, delivery drivers and construction  / manufacturing.

driscoll memorial

Family members and friends of art scholar and gallery owner John Driscoll planted a tree in his memory in Garrison on April 10, a year after his death of COVID-19. (Photo provided)

■ The Beacon Bread Co. at 193 Main St. is closed “until further notice” due to a possible COVID-19 exposure, the store announced via Facebook on Monday (April 5). “We will keep you updated as we take all proper precautions to ensure we safely open back up, including clearing our staff with negative test result,” the post said. [It reopened on April 10.]

■ Split Rock Books in Cold Spring said that it will mark Independent Bookstore Day on April 24 with a return to walk-in browsing, initially just on Saturdays. Leading up to that day, the store will test-drive walk-ins on select weekdays, to be announced on its Instagram page. Customers will be required to wear mask and only eight will be allowed in at one time. Split Rock also said the decision is contingent on a continued decline in COVID-19 cases.

■ The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will begin taking applications on April 12 for assistance with COVID-19-related funeral expenses up to $9,000 incurred after Jan. 20, 2020. In addition to providing a death certificate attributing the death to COVID-19, applicants must be a U.S. citizens, non-citizen national or qualified alien, according to FEMA. There is no legal requirement that the deceased be a U.S. citizen. More information can be found here.

■ Colleges can resume allowing spectators to sports events on April 2, with capacity limited to 10 percent at indoor venues holding 1,500 or more and 20 percent at outdoor venues holding 2,500 or more. Attendees will have to provide proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test or full vaccination. Smaller college venues used for intercollegiate, intramural or club sports will be limited to 2 fans per player, 100 people indoors or 200 outdoors, but can expand to 150 indoors or 500 outdoors if attendees give proof of a negative test or vaccination.

■ Hudson Beach Glass in Beacon plans to reopen on April 10, according to a post on the company’s Facebook page on March 29. Its staff will be fully vaccinated, mask and social-distancing policies will be enforced, and the number of people allowed inside will be limited, said the company.

■ Indoor family entertainment centers and places of amusement can open at 25 percent capacity beginning March 26, and outdoor amusement parks can open at 33 percent capacity beginning April 9, Cuomo said on Feb. 17. Each site will have to submit reopening plans and health protocols to local health departments. Cuomo also said that day and overnight summer camps in can begin planning for reopening.

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