As of yesterday, 233 Westchester residents had died as a result of COVID-19, according to statistics from the New York state Department of Health. There were a total of 253 deaths in the county as of April 5, 20 of which were people who lived outside of the county.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer today said that later in the week there will be a small ceremony to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives as a result of the pandemic. He noted that he ordered flags at all county facilities to be flown at half-staff in tribute to the residents who have died. He said that the event would be kept small in size in order to comply with social distancing requirements.
“Now that we have a face to the virus, the face of people we know and love, it becomes much more important that we do the correct thing,” Latimer said.
Latimer said he believes the Westchester County Center will open as an auxiliary hospital under the control of the New York state Health Department working through White Plains Hospital sometime before April 17.
“We expect it will have 120 beds that will be used for patients in need of health care. It will be the decision of the Health Department whether or not that facility will be used for COVID patients or non-COVID patients,” Latimer said.
Latimer said that the county Health Department has received almost $1 million from New York state as reimbursement for its some activities in dealing with the pandemic. As examples, Latimer said the country has deployed public health nurses to do testing and assigned nurses to do investigative work in tracking down contacts people testing positive may have had with others. He said the county has set up a refrigerated trailer as a temporary morgue outside of a research facility in Valhalla.
“It is not a pleasant topic to discuss. What it does do is it makes this real, just as much as when you know somebody, a family friend or relative, who has passed away,” Latimer said. “It’s even worse now to consider we have a fatality management problem.” He said that the county accepts its responsibility to do this kind of work.
Elsewhere in the area, as of yesterday a total of 86 Rockland County residents succumbed to the virus, with 76 of those deaths taking place within the county, according to the state Health Department.
Fifteen Putnam County residents died as a result of the virus, with 12 of those deaths taking place in Putnam.
Fourteen Dutchess residents have died, with 12 of the deaths taking place in Dutchess.
In Orange County, there were 47 deaths from COVID-19 with 44 of the people being county residents.
A breakdown by age of the fatalities reveals that 26.5% of fatalities in New York state are in the 70-79 age range while 25.5% are in the 80-89 group. Those age 9 and over account for 11.4% of the deaths from the virus. Other age ranges are affected as follows: 10-19, 0.1%; 20-29, 0.5%; 30-39, 2%; 40-49, 4.3%; 50-59, 10.5%; 60-69, 19.1%. Those statistics deal with fatalities and do not necessarily reflect the percentages of positive tests within those age ranges.
Latimer said that he has started wearing a mask when he goes out.
“When I wear this mask, I’m no different than anybody else. I’m a subject of this disease as you are. I have the same concern for the people that I love that you have for the people that you love,” Latimer said. “This is not about politics. This is not about an election. Those things will come in due time. What it’s about right now is survival, survival for each of us and all of us.”