I know many of you are concerned about what you are reading in the media and/or what you have heard from friends and neighbors about Covid-19. We are working closely with the County to monitor the situation and have been told there are currently no known cases in Hastings-on-Hudson, however, as you may have heard, there are cases in Westchester County.
Following protocols from the New York Department of Health, the Superintendent of Schools decided to close the Village schools for two days in order to sanitize the buildings to ensure the safety of students and faculty. Several other school districts have followed suit.
For those of you who want accurate and vetted information about Covid-19 the best source (and the one that all other levels of government are referring to) is the CDC website which you can access HERE. The CDC site has a tremendous amount of information - there is specific guidance for schools, pregnant women and children, and businesses. There is also a section with protocols for first responders and health care providers. The key messages for individual citizens have been well summarized on the County site (see HERE) and also replicated on the Village website HERE.
How to protect yourself: The advice is simple, clear and practical and reminds me exactly of what my grandmother always said about avoiding the flu:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (enough time to sing “Happy Birthday to You” twice). Use alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue (not your hands), then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a cleaning product that contains bleach.
- Get a flu shot.
There is detailed information on the CDC website on what to do if you think you might be sick, again the advice is very sensible: if you have the typical symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) stay home, separate yourself from others, and call the Covid-19 hotlines to notify the authorities so that you can be given the help you need while protecting your family and neighbors. Here are the numbers to call:
- People under self-quarantine or exposure to known case, call (866) 588-0195
- NYS Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline (888) 364-3065
- Westchester County COVID-19 Information Call 211
Here are some other helpful links: the County's COVID-19 fact sheet; the County’s news conference; the State's news conference; and the fast facts page from the County on the Westchester case.
The Village Manager, the Chief of Police, the Fire Chief, the Board of Trustees and I have been preparing for the possibility of a potential or actual exposure for several weeks. We have been coordinating directly with County and have approved protocols in place for our emergency responders. The County Health Department has activated its Emergency Operations Center in Hawthorne to respond as needed. We are working with local, County and State authorities to stay informed as the situation changes. Please know that the risk of becoming infected remains low, and that most people who fall ill are likely to experience mild to moderate disease with full recovery. While it is important to be attentive and prepared, fear and panic are not helpful. The CDC encourages all of us to share facts, not fear.
Please reach out to me if you have specific questions or concerns: email@example.com