Monday evening, Rye Mayor Josh Cohn released the latest city COVID-19 update. Some of the highlights:
- The mayor has no reliable means to report fatalities in Rye, and will not attempt to do so. We have previously written on some of the reporting challenges. In fact, last night Rye guy and county boss George Latimer sent us this article from Newsday so demonstrate this is not just a Westchester issue. Indeed;
- Social distancing complaints continue, especially from Rye Town Park and Rye Golf Club. Note that yesterday Governor Cuomo increased the financial penalty for non-compliance to $1,000 from $500. But this is really about doing the right thing. You know who you are!;
- The city recycling drop at Disbrow is still a mess. Just because you don’t want it any more does not mean it is recyclable. Read this handy guide on what is and is not recyclable. One tip: greasy pizza boxes are not recyclable. Rip off any area with food or grease and put that dirty piece in the garbage.
The full update follows:
Coronavirus Update – April 6, 2020
A beautiful, beautiful day, today. A pretty contrast with our preoccupation.
There have been 14,294 who have tested positive, out of the more than 45,000 tested in Westchester. 377 people are hospitalized. 233 have passed away from COVID-19. In our time-lagged and otherwise questionable reporting system, we find 58 Rye positives.
A resident asked me to report Rye fatalities. I do not have any consistent means of gathering that information, so I will pass on that. Rye, of course, is as much at risk as any other place. The County reports that, Westchester hospitals are not expected to be strained until the next week or so, but the processes for handling fatalities are strained already.
This somber news brings me back to my continued urging to all to zealously practice social distancing and handwashing, and to avoid touching our faces. Councilwoman Carolina Johnson has put together an excellent video interview with two doctors who live in Rye but who are working in New York City. The two doctors’ narratives are convincing testament to the need for these measures. The video should be featured in the next day or two on Rye TV and its Facebook page. A point well-made in the video is that no age group gets a pass from COVID-19. Although some age groups may do better overall than others, there have been fatalities of non-immunity compromised patients of all ages. For many who survive the disease, COVID-19 is an intensely debilitating and frightening trial.
The State is providing guidance to all municipalities on enforcement of the various executive orders relating to COVID-19, including those relating to social distancing, business closures and the like. The City will be following that guidance. As always, the City, and our police, have no desire to make days that are already not so good into really bad days for anyone. We still need a bit more cooperation from some in order to lessen the risk of that happening.
I continue to receive complaints about failures to distance. As the more general complaints diminish, I hear more about teenagers unable to grasp the need to keep apart, not just when facing each other in conversation, but at all times, including when taking a walk, jogging or riding in a car. Parents, it is up to you to bring the message home.
Focuses of social distancing complaints have been Rye Town Park and Rye Golf Club. I have visited both over the past weekend to see how things are going. Rye Town Park now has employees out asking people to distance. More signs are going up at Rye Town Park, as they are at the Rye Golf Club, which is also devoting more personnel to distance enforcement. RGC, as previously reported, has taken many steps to diminish the possibility of touch-transmitted pathogens. The Rye Golf Club Commission and City staff are focused on treating any remaining concerns about Club operations.
A non-COVID-19 issue at RGC is the continuing influx of runners, cyclists and dog walkers. These visitors are not permitted on the golf course. Yes, Club grounds are beautiful and yes those paths are mighty pleasant — and mighty dangerous. Non-golfer visitors to the golf course run a tremendous risk of being injured, on those paths or off. These visitors also interfere with the steady play that keeps golfers from bunching up on the course and losing the distance among them. As always , the City does not want to rain on any parade, but in the case of these visitors, we will have to.
As many know, the CDC is now recommending the wearing of masks. City workers have received a mask directive that attempts to take into consideration the needs of each worker’s job.
I am pleased to report that people have gotten the hang of the new DPW pick-up schedule. They are being nicer at, and to, the Disbrow recycling center. That said, I visited there this weekend and had to marvel at what some of us think may be disposed of beneath the sign that says “bottles and cans.” Taking the cake (very much so to speak) was the chandelier composed of jacketed and waist-coated frogs seated on lily-pads.
It might just be me, but I don’t think this is what we are able to recycle. To test my guess, please click here, where the City has republished instructions for recycling, ranging from specification of acceptable grades of plastic to guidance on flattening cardboard so that it is manageable. Following these instructions will be enormously helpful to our City staff, which is strained by the protective measures the health emergency demands.
Some neighbors did, literally, a bang-up job at recognizing our first responders and other essential workers, Saturday evening. One church kindly rang out appreciation with its bells. I am very glad that it was both a moment to recognize others and to cheer-up each other. I am aware that there have been smaller celebrations (birthdays!) going on involving honking cars and, perhaps, people gathering in the streets. We need to keep our healthy spirit, but, I have been reminded, we need to be considerate of non-participating neighbors and the need for social distancing. So, occasionally and with care, please.
People tell me their days go quickly, but there is also a sense of time standing still. Of course, it is not. I saw a news clip that said the CDC was preparing guidelines for a return to normal. A hopeful sign. We are helping each other through and normal is coming. Hold the thought!
Mayor Josh Cohn