As a reported number of positive novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continue to grow in Kiryas Joel, the Orange County executive has requested the area be mandated a containment zone by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The issue came to light when an area doctor posted on Facebook that nine of 14 patients from Kiryas Joel tested positive for the virus. He also made predictions about the potential for mass spread of the virus in the area.
Although Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus would not confirm the number of patients who had tested positive, he did say in his nightly Facebook town hall on Thursday, March 19, that due to the number of those testing positive in Kiryas Joel he had requested the containment zone be designated by Cuomo.
Neuhaus said a large outbreak in Kiryas Joel “would be a major problem for us right now,” with only about 40% of hospital beds available in the county.
In response to COVID-19, village leaders have closed all synagogues and gathering places. In addition, Kiryas Joel officials have closed all private schools and the one public school in the community, per the governor's order.
As of Thursday, there were 68 positive cases of COVID-19 in Orange County, with 10 hospitalized, and two in critical condition, Neuhaus said.
Neuhaus said the county is awaiting the results of thousands of tests.
There are also 100 residents in mandatory quarantine and 300 in voluntary self-quarantine. All are being monitored by the Orange County Health Department.
For those needing help, needing food or prescriptions, Neuhaus said residents should call 1-800-832-1200.
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