For More Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus, Communications Director (845) 486-2000
Colleen Pillus, Communications Director
Poughkeepsie, NY … Following last week’s announcement that Dutchess County would seek COVID-19 testing for every nursing home resident in the County, the Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) successfully procured 3,600 tests, enough to test every resident in the 13 nursing home facility in the County. The first round of testing began last week at Wingate at Beacon and the Pines at Poughkeepsie, with additional nursing homes beginning testing this week.
As a result of the County’s efforts:
The majority of these 19 new cases of COVID-19 were asymptomatic and were only identified because of the County’s testing initiative. The families of these residents were notified immediately, and the COVID-19 positive residents have been moved to secluded and secure areas of each facility to be cared for.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Throughout this pandemic, our number one priority has been protecting the health and well being of all our residents. We have been proactive and aggressive in our approach to containing the spread of coronavirus. When our public health experts identified a gap in that protection with regards to nursing homes, we moved quickly and effectively to acquire personal protection equipment (PPE) and ample testing.”
DBCH public health staff is currently working with staff at the remaining 11 facilities to plan and prepare to safely test every individual. Diagnostic kits are being assembled, packaged with appropriate quantity of PPE, and are being delivered to each remaining facility. Administration of tests to all residents is expected to be completed by the end of next week.
Commissioner of DBCH, Dr. Anil Vaidian said, “Our public health experts will continue to provide supplies, guidance and hands-on assistance with the administration of tests when necessary as we move forward. We thank the phenomenally talented and dedicated staff of these nursing home facilities for there continued work to protect some of our most vulnerable residents from COVID-19.”
After County Executive Molinaro successfully lobbied New York State to provide testing for residents, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) reversed its mandate that nursing home facilities accept incoming COVID-19 patients. Additionally, the Governor has now mandated that all nursing home facility staff be tested twice per week or they will not be allowed to work. Dutchess County is currently working with local nursing homes to advocate that New York State provide rapid testing for staff, and the County will continue to provide facilities with PPE.
Nursing home safety has been a top priority for Dutchess County throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Although nursing homes are under the authority and oversight of the New York State Department of Health, County Executive Molinaro established Dutchess County’s Nursing Home Task Force, under the direction of DBCH, to be in regular contact with nursing home leadership. The Task Force keeps open lines of communications, offers guidance where appropriate, and helps facilities address concerns and emerging issues, convening weekly conference calls with nursing homes. Among the pressing needs has been the provision of PPE supplies to meet heightened New York State Department of Health mandates for nursing homes. Dutchess County has worked closely with the nursing homes, providing isolation suits and gowns, eye protection, N-95 respirators, surgical masks, as well as hand sanitizer.
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.