Poughkeepsie, NY … Today, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro continued his nearly 10-months long series of virtual Town Hall Forums regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Joined by Dr. Lewis Kohl of CareMount Medical, the County Executive provided residents updates about the County’s ongoing vaccine distribution process, which remains sluggish and frustrating for residents and Health Department staff alike, as well as discussing the County’s ongoing response to the pandemic and answering as many questions as possible.
This week’s Town Hall, and an archive of past events, is available on the County’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:
- 463,073 tests completed to date
- 19,408 confirmed cases to date
- 1,301 current active cases
- 140 current hospitalizations
- 365 deaths to date
- 17,742 recovered to date
- Positivity Rate Dutchess County (7-day rolling avg.): 5.79%, as of 2/1/21.
- County Executive Molinaro candidly addressed the stress, anger, and frustration that the state-operated COVID-19 vaccination process is causing thousands of Dutchess County residents as well as County personnel:
- This week, Dutchess County received 700 doses of vaccine from the State. At exactly 12pm today, a notification of vaccine appointment availability was sent out to a list of over 30,000 residents via email and text messages. Additionally, the registration link was posted on the County’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information webpage, which saw over 150,000 pageviews as residents continuously tried refreshing the page waiting for the link to go ‘live.’ As a result, available appointments for this week filled within mere seconds.
- With more than 7 million residents statewide currently eligible for vaccination under the New York State Phased Distribution Plan, and only 250,000 to 300,000 doses per week from the Federal Government, the demand for vaccines still far exceeds allocated supply. The Governor has estimated that it will take upwards of seven months to vaccinate the current eligible group based on current supply.
- Currently, appointments for vaccination can only be made as vaccine supply is received by local health departments. Following news from the Federal government that supply will be increasing and is now guaranteed to states, the County hopes to soon enable residents to book appointments for dates a few weeks into the future instead of only a week at a time.
- This week, Dutchess County Government will open Points of Dispensing (PODs) located at the former JCPenney store at the Poughkeepsie Galleria and Dover High School in Dover Plains to vaccinate eligible Dutchess County residents. Once again, appointments for these sites booked within seconds due to continued limited supply. These sites are open BY APPOINTMENT ONLY and cannot accept walk-ins.
- County Executive Molinaro advised residents to:
- Sign up now to receive emails or text messages notifying them of when appointments for vaccination will be available at the PODs. Visit www.dutchessny.gov/covidvaccine to sign up for alerts, as well as for the latest vaccine information and updates about new appointment availability at the County-run PODs and other sites within the county.
- Please do not call the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) for vaccine appointments. DBCH cannot make appointments for residents.
- Call the New York State’s COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline (1-833-697-4829), which is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., for scheduling appointments at New York State-run vaccination sites (the nearest state-run locations include Westchester County Center, the Javits Center in NYC, and SUNY Albany.)
- Use the State’s “Am I Eligible?” online tool to check their eligibility for vaccination and make appointments at the state-run vaccination sites.
- Dr. Lewis Kohl, Chief Medical Information Officer, Senior Medical Director & Chief Safety Officer at CareMount Medical, joined County Executive Molinaro to answer residents’ questions. Dr. Kohl reiterated the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, while answering several questions.
- County Executive Molinaro thanked residents for their continued patience and vigilance as COVID-19 cases are decreasing in our area, but the risk is still real. Residents are reminded to continue the precautions to prevent COVID-19: wearing masks, washing hands frequently, practice social distancing, and not engaging in social gatherings.
County Executive Molinaro has hosted more than 50 such virtual discussions since March 2020, and an archive of all such forums, including today’s conversation, is available on the County’s YouTube page.
County Executive Molinaro’s next virtual discussion will take place on Wednesday, February 10th at 3pm, when he hosts a virtual town hall on the County’s Facebook page. American Sign Language interpreters will translate the conversation on Facebook.