Poughkeepsie, NY… Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro commenced his sixth month of outreach to residents regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 today hosting his most recent of more than 30 online Town Hall Forums – providing residents with the latest updates and answering questions about the pandemic as well as the County’s ongoing response to Tropical Storm Isaias.
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 dialogue:
- Dutchess County Emergency Response Commissioner Dana Smith joined the County Executive to update residents on the County’s ongoing response to Tropical Storm Isaias, which impacted the region on Tuesday.
- Dutchess County’s 911 Communication Center dispatched over 1,100 storm-related calls between 7 a.m. Tuesday and midnight Wednesday. Highway crews from the County’s Department of Public Works have been addressing roadway issues and are coordinating with Central Hudson and NYSEG to clear downed trees and wires to reopen roadways as quickly as possible.
- As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 37,000 Central Hudson customers in Dutchess County remained without power, in addition to some 13,000 reported by NYSEG. Central Hudson reported complete service restoration is expected to take several days, and potentially into the weekend; NYSEG estimated that 50 percent of outages should be restored by tomorrow, with the remainder restored over the following days. Due to limited availability and high demand, ice, dry ice, and bottled water distribution sites are closed for today and both utilities are working to establish additional distribution sites for tomorrow.
- Wilcox Park is currently closed due to downed trees and wires, and Parks staff is assessing damage and cleaning up Dutchess County’s other parks and trails. Visitors should expect sporadic closures of portions of parks and rail trails while clean-up takes place.
- County Executive Molinaro reviewed Dutchess County’s most recent COVID-19 data posted on the Dutchess County COVID-19 Community Impact Dashboard:
- 4,557 total confirmed cases
- 96,461 tests completed
- 240 current active cases
- 3 hospitalizations
- 153 deaths
- 4,164 recoveries
- 1% infection rate
- The County Executive renewed his support for low-income residents who were “rent-burdened” before and during the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for the state’s Rent Relief Program after the state extended its deadline for applications to Thursday, August 5th. More than $100 million is available to low-income residents who pay more than 30 percent of their gross monthly income for rent and have experienced an additional decrease in income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Dutchess County and the Mid-Hudson region commenced Phase 4 of the state’s “NY Forward” re-opening process on July 7th, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday amended New York’s list of states from which travelers must quarantine, adding Rhode Island to the travel quarantine list while taking Delaware and the District of Columbia off the list. Currently, 34 states and Puerto Rico remain on New York’s travel quarantine list.
- For the period July 19th to August 2nd, the New York State Department of Health reported 165 individual cases of COVID-19 in Dutchess County; 64 of those reported cases were inmates at Downstate Correctional Facility in the Town of Fishkill and Green Haven Correctional Facility in the Town of Beekman. Though those 64 cases of COVID-19 were contracted in the two correctional facilities, each operated under the auspices of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and not any County or local jurisdiction, the state assigned the cases as occurring within Dutchess County and, as such, appeared on the Dutchess County COVID-19 Community Impact Dashboard.
- More than 170 Dutchess County Government employees across numerous departments and divisions have applied for the County’s separation incentive program, which has been offered in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its anticipated economic impact. The County anticipates saving between $10 and $15 million in the 2021 County Budget through the separation incentive program, depending on how many applications can be approved; separations will be approved the employee’s position can be held vacant or if there is an offsetting position that can be held vacant. Employees were offered three options from which to choose as part of the program:
- Eligible for retirement only: an additional 10 percent County contribution on retiree health insurance and 100 percent County-covered vision and dental coverage for 10 years from date of retirement;
- Eligible for retirement only: an additional 10 percent County contribution on retiree health insurance and $10,000 separation payment; or
- Eligible for retirement or separation: $20,000 separation payment.
- The Dutchess County Legislature’s Budget, Finance & Personnel Committee will consider a resolution Thursday that would authorize the incentive program for 2020 and pay for employee benefit payouts and incentive payments.
County Executive Molinaro’s next virtual COVID-19 Town Hall forum will occur on Wednesday, August 12th; residents can view the conversation on the Dutchess County Government Facebook page and submit their questions in the comment section. American Sign Language interpreters will translate the discussion live on Facebook, as they have for all 30 of the County Executive’s previous virtual conversations.