Poughkeepsie, NY… Five months to the day since the first positive case of Coronavirus/COVID-19 in Dutchess County was reported, County Executive Molinaro today hosted his latest online Town Hall Forum about the pandemic, providing residents with the latest updates and answering their questions.
County Executive Molinaro has hosted more than 30 such virtual discussions, and an archive of the online conversations, including today’s, can be viewed on Dutchess County Government’s YouTube page.
Among the highlights of today’s discussion:
- County Executive Molinaro reviewed Dutchess County’s most recent COVID-19 data posted on the County’s COVID-19 data dashboard:
- 4,619 total confirmed cases
- 103,993 tests completed
- 235 current active cases
- 2 hospitalizations
- 153 deaths
- 4,231 recoveries
- 1% infection rate
- Andrew Evans, Coordinator of Communicable Disease for the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health’s (DBCH) Communicable Disease Control and Preparedness Division, joined County Executive Molinaro to provide additional information about the pandemic and answer residents’ questions. Mr. Evans has been an integral part of the County’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Team and has been involved with providing guidance to schools about contact tracing as part of their re-opening plans.
- County Executive Molinaro provided residents an update on a decline in the County’s sales tax revenue during the pandemic. New York State provided Dutchess County its latest sales tax payment last week, which was a 4.6 percent decrease, compared to the same time in 2019; sales tax supports 40 percent of Dutchess County Government programs and services. The County’s sales tax revenue, year-to-date, is down 10.7 percent over 2019. On Tuesday, County Executive Molinaro joined his counterparts from Suffolk and Broome counties for a virtual press conference, calling on the federal government to deliver disaster assistance for counties dealing with unprecedented budgetary shortfalls and increased costs caused by the pandemic.
- Five weeks since the Mid-Hudson region, including Dutchess County, entered Phase 4 of the state’s “NY Forward” re-opening process, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not provided guidance about permitting establishments such as gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and indoor wedding venues. Earlier this week, the governor updated the list of states from which travelers must quarantine for 14 days, adding Hawaii, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands to the travel quarantine list, while taking Alaska, New Mexico, Ohio and Rhode Island off the list. There are now 33 states and two territories on New York’s travel quarantine list.
- Gov. Cuomo last week announced school districts throughout the state will be allowed to open for in-class instruction in September, provided their individual re-opening plans receive approval from the state health and education departments. Districts have until this Friday to submit their plans, outlining how they can educate students safely to the state, and are awaiting final endorsement.
- Dutchess County will continue its longstanding partnership with the Dutchess County SPCA to holds its next free rabies vaccination clinic on Saturday, August 29th, from 8 a.m. to noon at the DCSPCA, located at 636 Violet Avenue in Hyde Park. Vaccinations for dogs, cats and domesticated ferrets are free for Dutchess County residents, and non-residents will be charged $10 for each pet vaccinated; proof of residency is required. Pre-registration is required by visiting the Dutchess County SPCA website at DCSPCA.org.
- County Clerk Brad Kendall will host a small, socially distant naturalization ceremony this Friday, August 14th, in the County Office Building’s Legislative Chambers to welcome 17 new American citizens. The event will be live streamed on the County’s website.
- U.S. Census counters began collecting information door-to-door earlier this week, visiting only homes whose residents have not already filled out their 2020 census form. County Executive Molinaro stressed the importance of every County resident to fill out their census form, as census counts play an important role in how much federal funding the County and local communities receive; how legislative district lines are drawn; and how many congressional seats each state receives. The County’s current census response rate is 62 percent. Census counters in the field will carry proper identification and have been extensively trained in social-distancing protocol. The deadline for residents to submit census information is September 30th.
- County Executive Molinaro announced Dutchess County will host a free, socially distant, drive-in movie event at Wilcox Memorial Park, located on Route 199 in the Town of Milan, on Friday, August 28th. The movie, “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” will be screened in the park’s main parking area, which will open to cars at 6:30 p.m. Attendees must pre-register at dutchessny.gov/parksevents. This drive-in movie night is a carry-in, carry-out event. Picnics and coolers are allowed, but glass containers, smoking, and alcohol are prohibited on park property. Restrooms will be available.
- A week after Tropical Storm Isaias impacted Dutchess County, County Executive Molinaro provided another, brief recap of the storm’s effect on local communities. The storm resulted in 72,238 power outages throughout the County: 58,653 reported by Central Hudson, 13,585 reported by New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG). Both utility companies reported earlier this week that power had been restored to all storm-related outage areas. County Executive Molinaro has scheduled two virtual meetings with mayors and supervisors of the County’s 30 municipalities to recap the storm and its local impact, as well as how to plan for future significant weather events.
County Executive Molinaro will continue his outreach about the pandemic on Wednesday, August 19th, when he hosts his next virtual Town Hall Forum, which will be broadcast live on the County’s Facebook page. As with each of the County Executive’s 30-plus online forums since March, American Sign Language interpreters will translate the August 19th discussion, as residents ask their questions virtually.