Hundreds of new COVID-19 cases were reported in Westchester over the weekend as the county continues to combat the spread of the virus.
The state Department of Health was reporting 594 new COVID-19 cases in Westchester out of nearly 10,000 tested on Sunday, Dec. 13.
Health officials are currently monitoring approximately 8,600 active cases of the virus, Westchester County Executive George Latimer said during his latest COVID-19 briefing this week, noting that the number is the highest it's been since April, when the county saw a spike upwards of 12,000 active cases.
"We expect there will be some additional movement (in the numbers)," Latimer said on Monday, Dec. 14. "We've seen about eight weeks of continual rise in the infection rate and the number of people hospitalized."
To date, there have been 59,431 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Westchester out of 1.25 million tested, and the infection rate over the past two days has dropped to approximately 6 percent from 6.6 percent the day before.
In the past seven days, the average infection rate in Westchester dropped from 6 percent to 5.9 percent, but the 14-day average jumped from 5.4 percent to 6 percent.
"The infection rate shows how many people are subject to testing positive for the coronavirus," Latimer said. "It's not just about the absolute number - the percentage of people (getting infected) is higher when the infection rate is higher.
"Think about it ... when you go back to the summer the infection rate was around 1 percent, so we're about five times more likely to test positive now."
Currently, there are approximately 360 COVID-19 patients being treated in Westchester hospitals, up from 275 last week, and just 50 five weeks ago following Election Day.
"If there's any good news... it's that the last time we had this many cases in April we had approximately 953 hospitalized with the virus," Latimer added. "So the active hospitalization rate was over 10 percent at one point, and now we're seeing that number is significantly lower than it was in the spring for the same number of cases."
There was no new data released by the county Department of Health on Monday regarding specific breakdowns of total, active, and new COVID-19 cases reported in Westchester over the weekend.
Latimer reminded residents that the largest spread of the virus in recent weeks has been through "living room spread" as families and friends let their guard down and get together to celebrate the holiday season.
"Spread is a concern, especially because we've not seen any group gatherings, places of worship are reduced, we've canceled any (public) celebrations, but we keep seeing a high increase in infections," he said. "It shows that the disease is spreading more because of inter-personal contacts in private domains, rather than out in public dealings.
"It probably means that these infections are being family-wide once they are felt, so the person being infected are infecting their immediate family members, and we're going to see more of that as we go through the holidays."
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