GOSHEN – Orange County’s death toll from the coronavirus is up to 25 as five more people died on Wednesday, County Executive Steven Neuhaus said.
The deaths have occurred across the county, he said, trying to allay fears that they centered on one particular area.
There have been some community residents who believe the largest numbers of people to test positive for COVID-19, and also the largest numbers of deaths, are in the Village of Kiryas Joel/Town of Palm Tree. They have large families and traditionally have large gatherings.
Neuhaus debunked that, saying only between 20 and 25 percent of those infected live in that area.
County Emergency Services Commissioner Brendan Casey said there is going to be a concerted effort to crack down on large gatherings, which are outlawed during the pandemic.
“The state has put together a task force, they are going to be sending some additional troopers to partner up with the DA and sheriff’s office and local municipalities to enforce that social distancing in some of our hotspots like the Town of Palm Tree, Newburgh, where we had to close playgrounds in some of these areas,” he said. “It’s not just KJ, it’s not just Palm, we are having issues with people coming out and getting involved in mass gatherings and we can’t that at this point.”
As of Wednesday evening, 38 percent of the ICU hospital beds in Orange County area available, Neuhaus said.