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COVID-19 Help

Welcome to the Dutchess County COVID-19 help page. Please select the kind of information in which you are interested. You will be presented with information that may answer your question. If not, please complete the form below to submit your question and someone will get back to you as soon as they can. Thank you for your patience during this pandemic.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find guidance for operating my business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Information for businesses can be found on both and the website, as well as the NYS website at
I have a positive at my business or organization, what do I do?
The person who tested positive (referred to as the Index) must immediately leave the establishment and follow directives from the testing facility, healthcare provider, or the Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH). For additional information see "Isolation Protocol for COVID-19 Positive Individuals."

Determine which individuals may have had close contact to the positive person (closer than 6 feet apart for a total of 10 minutes or more) 48 hours before the Index first experienced COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive, whichever is earlier.

Additional information can be found here:
What to do if you or someone in your business tests positive for COVID-19
What happens if an employee tests positive?
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should safely separate from others at home. They should not leave home except for essential medical care or to get basic needs, like groceries, if someone can’t get them for them. They should not go to work but can work from home if they feel well enough.

They must stay home until all of the following have occurred:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms started.
  • Fever has resolved for the prior 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Their overall illness has improved. If an employee tests positive, they will be contacted by the Case Investigator to help monitor their symptoms, understand who else may be at risk and need testing, and ensure they have the necessary services and resources to safely separate from others.
The employee may be eligible for testing out of quarantine.
Do employees need a letter from the health department to leave or return to work?
No, a positive test result plus the county commissioner’s order to quarantine is all an employer needs to let an employee leave work for COVID reasons. The employee may return to work upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms or 10 days of isolation after the first positive test as long as they do not have symptoms and be fever-free for more than 24 hours without medication. A COVID positive person cannot “test out” of isolation; isolation is mandatory.

For an employee who has close or proximate contact to a person with COVID-19 AND is experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms: The employee may return to work upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms.
How do I or others go about getting tested for COVID? Is there free testing available?
Should employees who had COVID-19 be required to have a negative test result in order to return to work?
No. People should not be required to have a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result in order to return to a work location. Many people test positive long after the infectious period has ended. Similarly, antibody testing should not be used as a criterion for allowing someone to return to work. People who have completed the isolation period are considered no longer infectious and can attend work.
Are employees required to alert the employer if they test positive? Should the employer notify other staff if an employee tests positive?
Employees should notify their employers if they test positive for COVID-19 because it can help keep the workplace safe. As the employer, you may notify other staff or customers that they may have been exposed because they were in close contact with the employee, but you cannot share the name or other identifying information of the employee who tested positive. The Health Department will help you determine who may be a close contact. If the employee has been working remotely and has not had in-person contact with colleagues, the employee has no obligation to notify you of a positive test result.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are COVID-19 symptoms?
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
If I have symptoms, what should I do?
COVID-19 aside, anyone with any signs or symptoms of an illness, should stay home and contact their medical provider if symptoms are severe. Since Community Spread of COVID-19 is increasing, individuals should immediately quarantine when experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
How long should I quarantine or isolate?
If you test positive for COVID-19, you are infectious and you must isolate for 10 days from the date your sample was drawn, or the date your symptoms began – which ever happened first.

If you had close contact with someone who was positive, you would need to quarantine separately from the most recent day you were exposed.
Where can I get tested for COVID-19?
Testing is available throughout Dutchess County, for the most up to date list of testing sites, visit
Can I test out of quarantine?

Yes. However, please note: The virus can take up to 14 days to infect the individual. Once infected, the virus remains active for 9-10 days.

Steps to Test out of Quarantine:

  • Get a COVID-19 test on day 5 or later of quarantine. Rapid & PCR tests accepted.
  • Upon receiving a negative test result, immediately send result to
  • Wait for a release from quarantine letter from the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health. Letter turn around is usually 24 hours from submission. Note, it may take up to 36 hours during non business hours (weekends).
  • Quarantine ends after day 7 or later with a release from quarantine letter. However, if you do not have the release letter you must continue to quarantine through day 10.
  • Continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14
  • For assistance call the COVID-19 information line at 845-486-3555. or visit our Testing for Coronavirus in Dutchess County webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get a letter for work/school documenting my quarantine?
If you have completed your isolation or quarantine, please visit to request your letter.
I’ve tested positive and need documentation for my employer/school, where do I go?
The Dutchess County Commissioner of Health has issued a “Commissioner’s Order” requiring anyone who has tested positive to isolate separately at home for 10 days. This document, along with your test results and the Isolation Protocols, can be provided to your employer/school. Once your isolation is completed, you can apply for a Release from Quarantine/Isolation Letter at

Frequently Asked Questions

I recently traveled to or from New York State, do I need to quarantine?
At this time, New York does not have travel restrictions. Visit for the most recent updates. The website also has information for travelers regarding COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in getting vaccinated against COVID-19 – Where do I go?
Visit to get the facts on the COVID-19 Vaccine in New York.
I am a provider who is interested in offering vaccine to my patients, where can I find more information?
Providers can learn more at

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I become a volunteer?
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) of Dutchess County is part of a national network of volunteers dedicated to supporting public health infrastructure and disaster preparedness and response in their local communities. Locally, the MRC is more than 1,700 members strong, and comprised of both healthcare and non-healthcare professionals. Learn more and become a volunteer at

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