During an hour-long community forum hosted on Facebook Wednesday evening, County Executive Steve Neuhaus offered an update on the coronavirus within Orange County.
As of Wednesday, April 1, there were 1,782 positive cases of the coronavirus. There are 227 people who are hospitalized. Twenty-five county residents have died.
He also said that 38 percent of hospital beds in the county remain available.
The broadcast also included updates from Heath Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman and Commissioner of Emergency Services Brendan Casey as well as questions posted on Facebook residents.
Several people asked about coronavirus patients from New York and whether they would be coming to Orange County to help offset the crisis in city hospitals.
Neuhaus said he didn’t think that would be the case because of the already large number of local cases.
He also reported that supermarkets throughout the county have told him they are about 48 hours behind in restocking their shelves. He, like Casey, urged residents to avoid buying in bulk because the supplies will be available.
Later in the broadcast, Casey said the governor has authorized counties to create task forces of prosecutors, state police and local police to enforce social distancing in this time of coronavirus.
He said the effort would focus on areas of high density such as the Town of Palm/Kiryas Joel, where 20 percent of all cases are from, and the City of Newburgh.
Casey, a former state police captain, said District Attorney David Hoovler will prosecute those who are not observing the social distancing protocol.
He said police already had done a “knock and talk,” adding that the leaders of Kiryas Joel are behind this.
“If people are gathering, take a picture,” Neuhaus added, “then call the police, call your leaders.”
Earlier in the day Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office notified Neuhaus that he would not honor the county executive’s request for a Town of Palm containment zone similar that what the governor order for a section of New Rochelle. There was no discussion about this.