March 16, 2020
Supervisor Update on COVID-19
As you may know, I issued an emergency declaration last week and an additional order yesterday. We understand that two Bedford residents have been tested positive, though I have not yet received official notification from the Westchester County Department of Health. It is highly likely that more Bedford residents will test positive.
This is uncharted territory. Our obligation is to take action to protect public health and safety, erring on the side of caution. We have taken the following actions:
- Closure of Town Offices We have closed Town Offices to the public, except by appointment with the Tax Receiver for cash payments. We encourage you to make payments by check or money order (utilizing the drop box in front of 425 Cherry Street) or online at www.bedfordny.gov(click on “Pay Taxes and Parking Tickets”). Only essential employees will be coming to work on a staggered basis in observance of the Governor’s order regarding staffing.
- Town Parks Due to the use of playground equipment, basketball courts and other town park facilities in which groups gather and have close physical contact, I have closed the hamlet parks (Bedford Hills Memorial Park, Bedford Village Memorial Park and Katonah Memorial Park) and Canine Commons to vehicular traffic (except emergency vehicles). You certainly may walk into the parks, use the trails and grounds, but please no groups and we ask that you please observe social distancing. We are looking into whether we can re-open the parks to vehicular traffic, but only if we can do so without compromising the public safety.
- Cancellation of Programs, Events and Meetings We have cancelled meetings of advisory committees and boards. We are deciding on a case by case whether to cancel meetings of the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and other permitting boards. We will hold tomorrow’s meeting of the Town Board with videoconferencing capability (see notice).
I wish to share with you the following:Quarantine and IsolationMany of you asked for more clarity on quarantine parameters. Included in this email are links to the information released by New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Zucker for testing guidance: https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/Interim_Testing_Guidance_COVID-19.pdfand quarantine and isolation guidance:https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/Interim_Containment_Guidance_COVID-19.pdfPrice GougingIf you are witnessing price gouging on items like cleaning supplies, toilet paper or soap, please encourage them to call the New York State Department of Consumer Protection.They have launched a toll-free hotline 1-800-697-1220 and will investigate reports of unfair price increases amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Testing I’ve been asked about the status of expansion of testing capabilities. I asked Dr. Sherlita Amler, Westchester County Commissioner of Health on a conference call today among other Town supervisors. She replied that the leading effort now is to provide drive-through testing.
For maximum safety, patients remain in their cars for the tests, which are administered by a public health professional outfitted in protective clothing. Each appointment would only take a few minutes. Prevention Please continue to take “everyday” preventive measures of avoiding exposure to other illnesses.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
- The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing websiteFor information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. Chris BurdickTown Supervisorsupervisor@bedfordny.gov914-666-6530