Poughkeepsie, NY… Seventeen weeks to the day after holding his first online Town Hall Forum about Coronavirus/COVID-19, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro hosted his latest such online conversation this afternoon, providing residents with the latest updates on the pandemic and the County’s “Restarting Dutchess” efforts, as well as answering their questions about the re-opening process. Today’s online discussion emanated from Quiet Cove Riverfront Park in Poughkeepsie, one of Dutchess County’s six award-winning parks.
County Executive Molinaro has hosted more than 25 online discussions about COVID-19 since March 18th, addressing the pandemic, County efforts, state actions and more. The archive of the online conversations, including today’s, can be viewed on Dutchess County Government’s YouTube page.
Among the highlights from today’s discussion:
- County Executive Molinaro reviewed Dutchess County’s most recent COVID-19 data posted on the County’s COVID-19 data dashboard:
- 4,318 total confirmed cases - The County Executive addressed the apparent jump in total confirmed cases. Of the 39 new cases reported for 7/13/2020 on the Dutchess County COVID-19 data dashboard, at least 13 were false positives resulting from a lab error. Nine cases are from prisons located in Dutchess County, which the County has no role in monitoring. There is no evident connection among any of the remaining 17 cases. False positives were also reported in other neighboring counties and the State is currently investigating. As updates are provided, the County’s data dashboard will be updated to reflect the most current data.
- 73,471 tests completed
- 208 current active cases
- 7 hospitalizations
- 152 deaths
- 3,958 recoveries
- Mary Kay Vrba, President and CEO of Dutchess Tourism, Inc., joined County Executive Molinaro to discuss the local low-risk, indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment options available to County residents and visitors under Phase 4 of the state’s “NY Forward” re-opening process, which the County entered on July 7th. Ms. Vrba will retire from Dutchess Tourism later this month following a 40-year career devoted to local tourism, and County Executive Molinaro announced Dutchess County will dedicate the south observation deck at Quiet Cove Riverside Park in her honor. Under Ms. Vrba’s leadership at Dutchess Tourism, annual visitor spending in Dutchess County has topped more than $600 million in recent years. Earlier today, the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce honored Ms. Vrba for her decades of work at its monthly virtual Contact Breakfast.
- County Executive Molinaro earlier today announced $100 million in rent relief is available to low-income residents whose income has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through New York State’s COVID Rent Relief Navigator. Applications will be available on the state’s website, beginning July 16th. There is a two-week window to apply and eligible residents are encouraged to submit applications quickly.
- Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released updated guidance for re-opening schools with in-person instruction in September for the 2020-21 academic year. For schools to be considered for re-opening, their region must be in Phase 4 of the “NY Forward” process and have a 14-day average daily infection rate of 5 percent or lower. The state has released guidelines for school districts, which must submit their re-opening safety plan by July 31st. The state will approve or disapprove of a school district’s re-opening plan during the first week of August. If approved to open, schools can be closed if their region experiences a 7-day average infection rate above 9 percent after August 1st.
- With the state-provided guidance for in-person instruction for colleges under Phase 4, County Executive Molinaro shared updated plans for students’ return to campus at Marist, Vassar, Bard and Dutchess Community colleges, as well as the Culinary Institute of America. Current guidance for each institution is available on their respective websites.
- On July 10th, following months of advocacy by County Executive Molinaro, the State finally acquiesced and permitted families to visit loved ones living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, provided the facility’s residents and staff are free of COVID-19 for 28 days. Social distancing and quarantining have caused isolation among many residing in nursing homes and long-team care facilities, and County Executive Molinaro has proposed a way to brighten these local residents’ day, encouraging residents of all ages to send greeting cards to those residing in such facilities, letting them know Dutchess County cares about them. Cards and letters can be sent to the following facilities:
The Community at Brookmeade
46 Brookmeade Road
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
Wingate at Beacon
10 Hastings Drive
Beacon, NY 12508
County Executive Marc Molinaro’s next COVID-19 Town Hall will take place on Wednesday, July 22nd at 5:30pm. The July 22nd event will be a countywide TeleTown Hall event and will also be broadcast live on the Dutchess County Government Facebook page. American Sign Language interpreters will translate the conversation on Facebook. For information on how to participate and view past online COVID-19 community conversations, view the County’s Coronavirus webpage.