WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY — The curve is no longer flat in an area which first fell victim to COVID-19; coronavirus returned with a bang in Westchester County.
There's a positive infection rate of 4.6%, with 3,975 active cases. That number is nearly double the amount from last week. At least five parts of the county are in the yellow zone, including Yonkers, New Rochelle, Peekskill, Tarrytown and Ossining. Port Chester is in an orange zone.
“Those of us in government, world of nonprofit, business community clergy, we are now tasked with putting additional effort to reduce the infection into that area,” said County Executive George Latimer.
Westchester's top leaders have said most of the exposure comes from outside of school.
Still, schools are switching to remote learning at rapid rates, including in Yonkers, the state's fourth largest city. As of Thursday, Yonkers has over 550 active cases. That’s more than any other city in the county.
In the Yonkers School District, William Boyce Thompson School was closed after a staffer there tested positive. The school will reopen after Thanksgiving recess using a hybrid-learning model.
The most densely populated section of Yonkers is now in a yellow zone and Mayor Mike Spano said it’s up to the public to do their part.
“We have to pay attention to details, wash our hands wear a mask and practice good Social distancing. These are important and this will keep us from going to an orange zone,” said Spano.
In New Rochelle, where a cluster of the virus took hold at the start of the pandemic, the school district announced it would go remote starting Friday until December. A large section of the city was designated as a COVID_-19 yellow zone.
“To the people of new Rochelle, I am not saying there’s a problem in Essex, I’m not saying there’s a problem in Suffolk, I’m saying there’s a problem in your backyard,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The county continues to mandate pandemic measures outlined by the state, but residents say people aren’t always following the rules and that could be a main contributor to the rising COVID rates.
“People are sending their kids to school sick, people are going to work sick people are traveling sick and that’s how illnesses spread,” said Yonkers resident Francine Morgan.
“I hope that gets your attention because it’s your community it’s your block and this is personal to you,” said Gov. Cuomo.