CARMEL, N.Y. - There are no local cases of coronavirus so far, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said Sunday after a sharp increase in cases statewide led the governor to declare a state of emergency.

“Even though none of our residents have tested positive so far, with increased testing we expect we may have some cases,” Odell said. “Residents should know that the Putnam County Health Department has been preparing diligently and will keep the public informed as things change.” 

The Health Department has been working for weeks with emergency personnel, law enforcement, school district officials and other relevant agencies to prepare and keep them informed of the rapidly changing conditions, Dr. Michael J. Nesheiwat, health commissioner, said. 

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“We are monitoring 19 Putnam residents who either returned from mainland China or came in contact with a person who tested positive for the virus,” Nesheiwat said. “As of Sunday, all of those we are monitoring were asymptomatic.”

Gov. Cuomo declared a state of emergency last Saturday when the number of people who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) was 76. As of Sunday, the number of positive tests increased to 89. Of those, 11 were in New York City and 70 in Westchester County. The remaining eight cases were in Rockland, Nassau and Saratoga counties.

The declaration will allow health departments to speed up the purchase of testing supplies and disinfectants. It should also enable counties to quickly hire more medical workers.

“I think the emergency declaration will help us get the money we need to keep Putnam residents safe,” Nesheiwat said. “It will definitely be a benefit to us.”

The commissioner urged residents to take simple precautions, like frequent hand-washing and staying home if they feel sick, to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

He also recommends the “Call Before You Go,” plan. In other words, before going to the doctor’s office, urgent care or emergency room, call ahead and tell your primary care provider about your symptoms and any possible exposure to the virus.

Article courtesy of Putnam County Executive’s Office