Poughkeepsie, NY… Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro hosted his most recent online COVID-19 Town Hall and Tele-Town Hall this evening, the latest of more than a dozen such conversations that provide residents with latest news about the local impact of the pandemic and Dutchess County’s response.
Several thousand residents participated by phone for this evening’s event, and many more viewed the event on the County’s Facebook page, as the County Executive gave residents updates and answered their questions. The full online discussion can be viewed on Dutchess County Government’s YouTube page.
Highlights from this evening’s Town Hall discussion included:
- County Executive Molinaro provided an update on Dutchess County’s phased re-opening under Phase 1 of the state’s “New York Forward” process. Having met all seven of the state’s required criteria for “Restarting Dutchess,” the County entered Phase 1 of the process on Tuesday, taking a cautious and prudent approach to restarting the County’s economy. County Executive Molinaro reiterated the industries permitted to reopen under Phase One – construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, agriculture and retail for pick up and delivery – as well as other permissible businesses and activities that are now allowed statewide, per the state’s guidelines. He also reminded residents to be patient and courteous to staff and fellow customers at local businesses, as Dutchess County is re-opening “together,” and business owners are working to safeguard the health and safety of both employees and clientele.
- After County Executive Molinaro advocated for the Governor to provide the County with COVID-19 diagnostic kits to be able to test residents in local nursing homes, testing began earlier this month, and the County has conducted tests on residents at six of the 13 nursing home facilities in Dutchess County with sample collection at six more facilities to be completed by the end of this week. More than 280 residents were most recently tested at four nursing home facilities – The Grand at Pawling, Northern Dutchess Residential Healthcare Facility, Wingate Dutchess and Sapphire Wappingers – with 9 new positive COVID-19 cases identified at The Grand at Pawling (there were no positive results from the testing at the other three facilities). Eight of the individuals identified as COVID-19 positive were asymptomatic and identified because of the County’s testing initiative and are now being cared for in a separate, secure area of the facility. The ninth individual had begun demonstrating symptoms and had already been isolated from the general population.
- While Dutchess County has reached the seven metrics needed to enter Phase 1, County Executive Molinaro stressed the importance of residents continuing to get tested for COVID-19. Continued testing will give DBCH an accurate assessment of COVID-19 cases in the community, and it will also allow Dutchess County to progress to the next phase(s) of re-opening. County Executive Molinaro again emphasized the need for residents to wear cloth face coverings when they go out in public, in accordance with the Governor’s executive order, to help contain the community spread of COVID-19.
- Dutchess County Public Transit will return to running on a full schedule, beginning Saturday, June 6th, County Executive Molinaro said. Social distancing guidelines will be enforced on each bus, with drivers wearing masks and gloves, and riders required to wear face coverings to board; face coverings will be available to riders who do not have one. Dutchess County Public Transit will not charge riders a fare for a brief trial period as full-service returns.
- Following a surge in volunteers who were trained as contact tracers this past weekend, helping Dutchess County meet the state’s requirement to reach Phase 1, County Executive Molinaro lauded the hundreds of residents who came forward to help the County reach its goal. As of Wednesday morning, Dutchess County had more than 500 individuals willing to serve as contact tracers, with more than 280 people having completed the training – well exceeding the state required target of 250 contact tracers.
- County Executive Molinaro announced DBCH staff is now offering virtual training in Narcan, the life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, in lieu of the Department’s traditional in-person Narcan training at the Stabilization Center. This free training takes place on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 4:30 p.m. via video teleconference. Each session takes just 30-40 minutes to complete, and participants will receive a free Narcan kit upon completion. Registration is required, and residents can register by calling (845) 243-4428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The County Executive also paused to remember Dutchess County Legislator Barbara Jeter-Jackson who passed away this weekend at the age of 82. Legislator Jeter-Jackson represented District 10 in the City of Poughkeepsie and was an unflinching advocate for her community. She will be greatly missed.
County Executive Molinaro will host another COVID-19 Town Hall on Friday, May 29th at 2 p.m. As with all previous town hall forums, the May 29th event will be broadcast live on the Dutchess County Government Facebook page, and American Sign Language interpreters will translate the conversation. Past online COVID-19 community conversations are archived on the County’s Coronavirus webpage.
Dutchess County Government continues to provide residents the most current information on its COVID-19 Community Impact Dashboard, as well as guidance on its website, dutchessny.gov/coronavirus, its Coronavirus hotline, (845) 486-3555, and its Facebook and Twitter accounts.