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Westchester Preps For COVID Testing For U.S. Open Golf; Has One Case At A School

WInged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, NY
Courtesy of the U.S. Open Championship
WInged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, NY

The Westchester County executive delivered his weekly COVID-19 briefing today. Democrat George Latimer addressed a positive case identified in a school district. He also talked about the U.S. Open golf tournament set to tee off later this week.

County Executive Latimer says the Tuckahoe Union Free School District in Eastchester has been working with the county health department.

“We’ve spoken to Superintendent Dr. Amy Goodman. She communicated to the parents in the district at the William Cottle Elementary School that one individual tested positive on Friday. That person is now isolated and those students and staff members who have been exposed have also been contacted. The district responded very well in this matter and I want to compliment them,” says Latimer. “Obviously, this is a test for schools being open. We will have positive cases that will arise. And how quickly we respond, how well we communicate, how quickly we test other individuals and isolate will all be the response that’s necessary if we intend to try to continue with school’s year and get in as much education as we can.”

Goodman sent a letter to parents and guardians on Saturday, advising them that an individual tested positive. Latimer says the person showed symptoms Friday, was tested and received the test result later that day, as part of a rapid response program for school districts.

Meantime, the 120th U.S. Open golf tournament will be held at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck.

“It’s the sixth time that a major men’s golf tournament has been held at Winged Foot here in Westchester County,” says Latimer. “We have a long, storied history with golf in this county. There are as many golf courses here as there are at any other location in the United States of America.”

The Open was initially slated for June, but pushed back to September because of COVID, and now with no spectators.

“We lose the excitement of having people there and we also lost the economic benefit of having people stay in and around our area, filling our hotels, dining out in restaurants, buying things in the various stores during the times they’re not out on the golf course,” Latimer says. “So, it has dampened the economic impact, but it hasn’t eliminated it completely.”

He says normally the U.S. Open would see 40,000 visitors a day.

“There are still approximately 2,000 essential personnel that are going to be on site in order to run the tournament and cover it through the press and so forth. We have allowed at Playland parking lot there to be testing for COVID purposes for the people that will be on site at Winged Foot,” Latimer says. “And as a small proportion of it as it is of the normal turnout, it’s still a significant number of people and we want to make sure, once again, that the virus doesn’t spread.”

As for the numbers, Latimer says the county has 587 active COVID cases, up slightly from recent levels. He does not believe there is a spike in one particular area or for one reason. And he lamented Sunday’s first COVID death in the county in two weeks.

“I’m encouraged that we went two weeks without losing a person,” Latimer says. “I’m discouraged that we lost somebody last night.”

Latimer also pointed out that village elections are being held Tuesday. There will be a single voting site in uncontested races. There are contested races in Bronxville, Scarsdale and Tuckahoe.

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