Poughkeepsie, NY … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro today hosted his most recent virtual town hall forum, providing residents with updates about the COVID-19 pandemic and answering their questions about the rise in active cases and hospitalizations, quarantine guidelines, micro-cluster zone designations, and other topics of interest.
The County Executive has held four dozen such online discussions since mid-March, and an archive of each of the County Executive’s online conversations, including today’s event, is available on Dutchess County Government’s YouTube page.
Among the highlights of today’s discussion:
- County Executive Molinaro updated residents on the most current data available on the Dutchess County COVID-19 Community Impact Dashboard:
- 307,281 tests completed to date
- 8,339 confirmed cases to date
- 1,094 current active cases
- 93 current hospitalizations
- 198 deaths to date
- 7,047 recovered to date
- 6.2% regional positivity rate
- Dutchess County’s 7-day rolling average was 5.4% as of Tuesday, Dec. 8th
The County Executive discussed the growth in active cases and hospitalizations. Dutchess County has seen active positive COVID -19 cases rise from 613 cases two weeks to 1094 current active cases. Hospitalizations have likewise rise, going from 39 hospitalizations two weeks ago to 93 current hospitalizations. “The rate of growth in hospitalization is alarming and not sustainable,” noted County Executive Molinaro. “Each of us has a personal responsibility to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The data is clear – wearing a mask, physical distancing and personal hygiene (i.e. hand washing) all help prevent the spread of the virus. Until the vaccine is widely available, we cannot give in to fatigue or impatience, we must redouble our commitment to the preventive measures that help keep our family, friends and community safer.”
The County Executive also clarified that there have been no micro cluster zone designations to date for Dutchess County. These designations are the determination of New York State.
- County Executive Molinaro also announced the County’s Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) is hiring for temporary positions to assist DBCH staff with data entry, call taking and COVID rapid testing. The positions, which offer up to 30 hours of employment per week, are ideal for college students and others looking for part-time options, and require either graduation from high school or possession of an equivalency diploma/GED; for COVID testing assignment, preferred qualifications include experience as an EMT, Paramedic, LPN, CNA, RN or training in first aid and/or medical training.
- While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have updated its guidance relating to quarantine for close contacts of those who test positive for COVID-19, County Executive Molinaro reminded residents that New York State has not changed its guidelines. In New York State, close, asymptomatic contacts of those who test positive must still quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they test negative.
- During today’s online conversation, less than a week after the Dutchess County Legislature adopted the 2021 County Budget, County Executive Molinaro signed the $501.8 million spending plan, which reduces County spending with no layoffs or reduction in services – all while providing a property tax levy reduction for the seventh straight year and a property tax rate reduction for the sixth consecutive year.
- County Executive Molinaro provided residents an overview of Dutchess’ County Wide Shared Services Initiative, mandated by New York State, which identifies long-term property tax savings plans, including initiatives such as shared services, the elimination of duplicative services, consolidation or other efficiency activities that will result in recurring property tax savings. This year’s plan includes two projects – upgrades and consolidation of a sewer facility utilized by the Village of Wappingers Falls and the towns of Wappinger and Poughkeepsie, as well as body camera systems to be used by 15 local municipalities – to be implemented in 2021, anticipated to save taxpayers more than $382,000, and eligible for matching funds from the state in 2022.
A statewide leader in shared services under County Executive Molinaro’s leadership, dating back prior to the state’s 2017 initiative, Dutchess County Government has long offered shared services with local municipalities – everything from website development and automotive fuel acquisition, to workers’ compensation and Real Property System assessment administration software – as well as fostering similar collaborations through its Municipal Consolidation and Shared Services Grant Program, saving local taxpayers untold millions of dollars over the last nine years.
- County Executive Molinaro encouraged seniors throughout Dutchess County to take part in the Office for the Aging’s free Holiday “Car-aoke” on Tuesday, Dec. 15th at 1 p.m., hosted by the County’s award-winning Bowdoin Park. Seniors who attend will receive complimentary hot cider and holiday cookies, and will remain in their car and can sing along to holiday music, broadcast for seniors to listen to through their car radio. OFA staff will also hold holiday trivia contests, offering seniors the chance to play for fun and prizes.
- Bowdoin Park will also host a free Story Walk & Holiday Music event each of the next three weekends (Dec. 12th and 13th, 19th and 20th, 26th and 27th) from 3-5 p.m. Park guests can read “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats in larger-than-life format as they walk throughout the park and enjoy holiday music from the Ellessdie Chapel.
County Executive Molinaro’s next online forum will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 16th at 3 p.m. and can be viewed on the County’s Facebook page. As with previous virtual forums, American Sign Language interpreters will translate the live conversation.