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County Confirms First Case of COVID-19/Coronavirus
New recommendations about community events & gatherings

Published: 3/12/2020

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro and Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DBCH) Commissioner Dr. Anil Vaidian announced today a Dutchess County resident has tested positive for Coronavirus/COVID-19. The positive test has been confirmed by New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). DBCH staff is monitoring the individual, who is under mandatory quarantine, and is performing contact tracing, identifying all the contacts the individual has had since exposure.    The latest updates and guidance about COVID-19 will continue to be available at www.dutchessny.gov/coronavirus.
County Executive Molinaro said, “In conjunction with our Departments of Behavioral and Community Health, Emergency Response and other departments, we have been working diligently to plan and prepare for our response to COVID-19 here in Dutchess, preparing for weeks for the inevitable case.”

“Although there is a confirmed case in Dutchess County, and patient confidentiality prevents specific details about the individual case, the risk to our community remains low,” County Executive Molinaro continued. “However, it is more important than ever to be vigilant about proper hygiene to keep yourself and your family healthy and minimize the further spread of Coronavirus. If you are experiencing symptoms, or think you have contracted Coronavirus, please contact your primary-care physician – do not go to your physician’s office before calling; your physician will provide further guidance based on your symptoms and exposure. Additional information is available on Dutchess County’s website, dutchessny.gov/coronavirus.”
Individuals who are traced to have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case will be notified by the DBCH public health professionals and precautionary or mandatory quarantine will be established for each person.  
Symptoms of Coronavirus include:

  • fever
  • coughing
  • shortness of breath

Residents are reminded to call ahead to their doctor’s office, urgent-care facility or hospital, so they may take necessary precautions to prepare. If, however, you are in respiratory distress, call 9-1-1. COVID-19 symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. 
Testing for COVID-19 is occurring in Dutchess County; tests are administered at the discretion of the attending physician following NYSDOH and CDC guidelines. 
Residents can protect themselves from COVID-19/coronavirus, flu and other droplet-spread viruses, with basic, common sense personal hygiene actions including: 

  • Cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze, sneezing into their elbow or a tissue – not their hand
  • Wash their hands regularly with soap and water; spend 20 seconds thoroughly scrubbing hands
  • Disinfect surfaces; most household cleaners and wipes are extremely effective
  • Practice social distancing – when possible, maintain 6 feet between themselves and others while in public
  • Stay home when they are sick – rest, recover, and help prevent the spread of any disease

DBCH Commissioner Dr. Anil Vaidian,  who has more than 20 years experience as an infectious disease specialist,  noted, “The overall risk of serious illness from COVID-19 is low; approximately one in six people who contracts COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Most people recover from COVID-19 — a droplet-spread disease, like the flu or common cold — without needing special treatment.  Additionally, according to recent data, most cases in children have had mild upper respiratory symptoms or no symptoms from the virus. Older people and those with underlying medical problems, such as pre-existing lung issues, heart problems, COPD, or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.”
With the declaration yesterday of COVID-19 as a pandemic and today’s first confirmed case of Coronavirus here in the County, Dutchess County Government is recommending the suspension of large community and social gatherings and events as a precautionary measure through the end of April.     This guidance will be updated and revisited regularly over the coming days and weeks.  Many local organizations have already taken proactive measures to postpone or cancel events.
Additionally, residents should be proactive with their personal household preparedness, should someone they know become ill or if there are disruptions in the community, such as a daycare closure or workplace issue.   Household action plans should include:

  • Consider members of the household that may be at greater risk such as older adults and people with severe chronic illnesses.
  • Create a list of local organizations you and your household can contact in case you need access to information, healthcare services, support, and resources.
  • Create an emergency contact list including family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.
  • Establish ways to communicate with others (e.g. family, friends, co-workers)
  • Plan for options relating to telework, what to do about childcare needs, how to adapt to cancellation of events.

Dutchess County Government has taken multiple proactive actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community including:

  • monitoring of all potential COVID-19 exposed individuals who are isolated in their homes;
  • created a dedicated Coronavirus information page on County website to provide reliable, verified information to Dutchess residents;
  • created a COVID-19 hotline, (845) 486-3555, for residents to call in the event they don’t have access to the internet;
  • activated the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) of Dutchess County and trained members in dealing with potential Coronavirus patients; 
  • trained law enforcement on how to deal with potential COVID-19 exposures; 
  • reassigned staff from different departments to help with COVID-19 containment;
  • cross-trained County staff, including Office for the Aging nurses, to respond to possible cases;
  • met with school superintendents to provide guidance and updates on most current situation;
  • coordinated with local colleges to establish protocols with regards to students returning from abroad and potential exposures on campus; 
  • coordinated with mayors and supervisors to discuss emergency protocols and response;
  • remained in regular communication with healthcare providers, hospitals, doctors and urgent-care facilities, to advise on guidelines and procedures when dealing with potential cases of COVID-19; 
  • informed residents through regular social media updates, providing guidance about how residents can protect themselves and family members; and
  • increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting all Dutchess County Public Transit vehicles and County buildings.