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GovernorCuomoThe number of positive cases of Coronavirus in Westchester County climbed from 538 on March 18 to 798 on Friday March 20. Westchester County is second in the state to NYC where the count has jumped to almost 4,000. As a result, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new restrictions calling them “the most drastic actions he can take.”

On Friday March 20 Cuomo said, “I will sign an Executive Order mandating that 100% of workforce must stay home, excluding essential services. This order excludes pharmacies, grocery stores, and others. This goes into effect on Sunday night March 21 at 8 pm.”

He recommended that seniors over 70, immuno compromised people and those with underlying illness do the following:

-Remain indoors to the greatest extent possible.
-Go outside for solitary exercise
-Pre-screen all visitors by taking their temperatures
-Wear a mask when in the company of others and ask everyone in their presence to wear a mask.
-Stay six feet away from individuals
-Do not take public transportation unless it is urgent and absolutely necessary.

For others he said outdoor exercise should be solitary and barred any group activities like ball games.

All barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing salons, nail salons, hair removal services and related personal care services will be closed to the public effective Saturday, March 21 at 8:00PM.

Casinos, gyms, theaters are closed until further notice. Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure.

The Governor said these provisions will be legally enforced and there will be fines for those who violate them.

New York State is waiving all park fees in state, local and county parks.

Testing is free for all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider.

Your local health department is your community contact for COVID-19 concerns.

pizzaDear Friends: We hope this note finds you well and safe during this strange and unsettling time. As we are all aware, we owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to our dedicated healthcare workers, many of whom are our friends and neighbors and will be working around the clock on the frontlines of this crisis. Many will not be able to see loved ones and children for long periods of time due to risk of exposure.

We have coordinated with White Plains Hospital administration and found a suitable way to thank our health care professionals for their service and tremendous sacrifice. We are organizing meals to be delivered to the emergency room doctors, nurses and staff at White Plains Hospital throughout the coming weeks. We will order from local restaurants which, no doubt, will also be challenged during this difficult time. The hospital and emergency department are appreciative of this outpouring of support.

White Plains Hospital will be accepting donations for this purpose. You can contribute by following this link. All donations are tax-deductible. Should restaurants be forced to close in the coming days, your donation will be rolled into a general donation fund to the hospital.

Thank you for your support. We hope you and your families stay healthy.

Warmly,

Rachel Krisbergh, Jennifer Galeon, and Dara Gruenberg

FrontdoorWhat’s it like to be quarantined inside New Rochelle’s containment area? This week Governor Cuomo made an unprecedented announcement, ordering a circle with a one- mile radius had been designated a “containment area” and that the National Guard would come in to distribute food and clean and sanitize.

Cuomo was following the advice of State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker who recommended this step to stem the spread of the virus after cases jumped up by 10 in just one day. We spoke to a member of Young Israel Synagogue where the original outbreak occurred. She shared news about her congregation of 800 people and explained how members are dealing with the outbreak and the aftermath.

Lisa Bernstein of New Rochelle was surprisingly open as she explained how her community was quickly overtaken by the virus, and what has occurred in the weeks since that time. In a community that is accustomed to praying, eating, celebrating and mourning together, the Coronavirus has struck very hard. Their synagogue was suddenly shuttered and temple members were prohibited from meeting, praying together or gathering in any way.

But putting aside the social isolation, many have tested positive with the virus. Of the over 800 congregants, Bernstein said the majority are quarantined, with many infected and asymptomatic. Of those who have symptoms, she says most have been managing at home. Sadly a few have been hospitalized.

No one know where Lawrence Garbuz, the first to test positive in the synagogue, contracted the virus. He was present in the synagogue during the weekend of February 22 before there was general awareness about the virus. By the following weekend, Garbuz and several others had contracted the virus and unknowingly attended services again. Garbuz remains in the hospital.

Bernstein herself was out of town during the weekend of February 29-March 1. However, when she returned she was exposed to a friend who tested positive. Bernstein has no symptoms and has been unable to obtain a test so she and her husband are self-quarantined for the 14 days.

As it has been difficult to get tested we asked Bernstein how the testing occurred. She explained that the Department of Health has come to the homes of people who met the criteria for testing. They appeared in hazmat suits. However the results have been slow in coming back, with some waiting five days to find out if they have the virus. Bernstein says that the reason the numbers look so dramatic is that unlike other populations, this group is getting tested. She guesses that if other groups were tested, they might find that the infection rate is equally as high.

Are people complying with the quarantine? Bernstein said that yes, absolutely. People are taking the instructions very seriously and following the instructions from the Department of Health. Markets like Seasons and other kosher food purveyors have been very generous and are delivering food for free. Friends are reaching out and the community is very grateful that food has not been a problem.

When will they be able to return to their usual routine? Bernstein says it’s unclear. Will those who are infected need to be cleared to go out? Those directives have not yet been established and she is not aware of the protocol.

Despite this huge disruption in her life, Bernstein was calm and reflective. She said the congregation shared a virtual Purim celebration this past weekend and she is in touch with family and friends online and via text. She is doing some work from home and feels fortunate that she can use the internet and phone to stay connected.

Most of all she is grateful that neither she nor her husband are sick for now. She says, “If you have your health you have everything. I am keeping my eye on the prize …. summer and no virus!”

personal errandsAre you quarantined, feeling sick or afraid to go out? If so, your neighbors would like to help. We have received inquiries from people in Scarsdale who are willing to do errands or make a delivery for those in need.

If you need a favor, go to the site's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Scarsdale10583/

Scroll down to our post about requesting help - and post your name, email address and phone number and a description of what you would like to be done.

If you would like to help by doing errands, you can also post your name and phone number or email address so that others know they can reach out to you.

When a task is completed, please email us at scarsdalecomments@gmail.com so we can remove your post.

Also – if you have comments or questions, feel free to email us at scarsdalecomments@gmail.com.

Check in with the Elderly

Also, Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service’s Aging in Place Initiative would like to remind all residents to please be mindful of your elderly neighbors and friends during this period of time surrounding COVID-19.

The elderly are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of their age or because of underlying health problems. It is extra important for the elderly to take actions to reduce their risk of contracting the virus and therefore they have been encouraged to avoid public settings.

Please consider simple gestures like calling to check in with your elderly neighbors and possibly assisting with groceries. These acts are particularly meaningful and necessary during this uncertain time.

Guidelines for COVID-19 care and prevention are outlined on reliable sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Westchester County. www.cdc.gov and www.westchestergov.com.

For additional information, the New York State Health Department Hotline 1-888-364-3065 offers experts on hand to answer questions relating to COVID-19.

sleepAbout 70 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder, but there is hope.

It’s no coincidence that this year’s Sleep Awareness Week runs March 8-14, right at the kickoff of Daylight Saving’s Time (DST), which this year is Sunday, March 8. As we spring ahead to longer days and lighter evenings, many people who struggle with getting adequate slumber bemoan the loss of that one precious hour.

It may sound silly, but that one hour can have a long lasting effect. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently summarized studies regarding the sleep health effects of DST and found that:

Moving into or out of DST has adverse effects on sleep/wake patterns that last about 5-7 days; and
The effects of changing to DST are probably most notable for those who enter the change with insufficient sleep.WhitePlainsHospitalSponsorBanner

In America, 70% of adults report that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11% report insufficient sleep every night. Whether because of medical disorders, work schedules, or a 24/7 lifestyle, there is a pervasive restlessness and unfortunately, many people today still measure their productivity by how little sleep they get.

The claim “I only got five hours of sleep last night” has almost become a measure of an individual’s dedication to their profession. However, the cost in health, absenteeism, and safety is creating a national crisis. A Harvard study found that insomnia leads to the loss of 11.3 days’ worth, or $2,280, in productivity per person every year. Nationally, that adds up to an estimated loss of over $63 billion.

The lack of adequate, restful sleep can impact a person’s ability to form memories, think and react quickly, and solve relationship problems. It can also impact blood pressure, blood sugar levels and one’s overall health. And driving while sleep deprived can be as dangerous as driving under the influence!

So how can you improve your sleep habits?

The first thing most sleep specialists recommend is following the same sleep schedule, even on weekends. This allows the body to find its rhythm.

Pre-bedtime rituals can also be helpful, like darkening the environment for an hour or two before going to bed, or reading, or bathing before bedtime.

A period of exercise during the day, although not too close to bedtime, can also be helpful.

Creating the right sleep environment is also important. A comfortable bed in a soothing environment, with no light or noise, is helpful for most people. Avoiding a heavy meal in the evening, and avoiding cigarettes and alcohol late in the day can also be beneficial.

And finally, there is probably nothing worse than lying in bed and not being able to fall asleep. Should that happen, get up for a short period of time and do something relaxing until you are tired enough to fall asleep.
The importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be overestimated. If the lack of adequate, restful sleep is disturbing you, speak with your physician or a sleep specialist. Your physical and emotional health may very well depend on it.

Dr.MiliteDr. Fulvia Milite is a board certified sleep medicine specialist and Director of the Sleep Center at White Plains Hospital. To make an appointment for a Sleep Study, call 914-681-2626 or visit the Sleep Center’s Webpage.

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