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Poughkeepsie, NY … This evening, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro continued his months-long series of virtual discussions with the community about the COVID-19 Pandemic’s local impact as well as other important County issues and answering residents’ questions.
Several thousand residents took part, either through the telephone town hall component or watching the dialogue on Dutchess County Government’s Facebook page. County Executive Molinaro has hosted nearly 40 such online forums since mid-March, all of which are archived and can be viewed on the County’s YouTube page.
Among the highlight of today’s conversation:
- County Executive Molinaro updated residents on the most current data posted on the Dutchess County COVID-19 Community Impact Dashboard:
- 5,084 total confirmed cases
- 162,003 tests completed
- 141 active cases
- 6 hospitalizations
- 156 deaths
- 4,788 recoveries
- 1% infection rate
- A cluster of COVID-19 cases has been identified at the Hedgewood Assisted Living Facility in Beacon. A total of 35 cases have been directly related to the facility, including residents and staff – with 30 of those cases considered currently “active.” The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) has been in close communication with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), as assisted living facilities are licensed and monitored by NYS DOH. DBCH’s public health experts on the Nursing Home and Adult Care Taskforce have been providing resources and assistance to Hedgewood staff throughout this process and Dr. Anil Vaidian, Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral & Community Health has issued a Commissioners Order requiring mandatory quarantine for all residents of Hedgewood. Staff members who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine at home. Officials are working with the City of Beacon police to ensure quarantine rules are being observed.
- Yesterday, the governor updated the list of states from which travelers must quarantine for 14 days, adding Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island and Wyoming to the travel quarantine list. There are now 34 states and territories including Guam, on the travel quarantine list. All out-of-state travelers from the designated states and territories must complete a traveler health form upon entering New York, including New York State residents. For individuals seeking an exemption from the travel advisory should contact TravelAdvisoryExemption@health.ny.gov.
- Following his announcement last week that Halloween activities would be permitted in Dutchess County, Governor Cuomo also announced last week that there were no bans planned for Halloween trick-or-treating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance this week this week relating to Halloween activities. Residents are cautioned to be smart and safe when planning their celebrations, including wearing masks, avoiding large groups and following physical distancing protocols and using hand sanitizer. Consider alternative ways for trick or treating including leaving candy in bowl or basket outside for trick or treaters to help themselves.
- The County Executive also offered other health reminders including the importance of getting a flu shot and remaining vigilant in avoiding tick bites to prevent Lyme Disease and other tick-bourne illness. The addition of another respiratory illness on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could overburden the health care system, strain testing capacity, and increase the risk of catching both diseases at once. Additionally, as many residents enjoy the outdoors and ticks are very active this time of year. Precautions include wearing light colored clothing with socks over pant legs, wearing tick repellent, and completing tick checks after being outdoors.
- Fall Prevention Week is Sept. 21-25, and Dutchess County’s Office for the Aging (OFA) continues to spread awareness about the dangers of falls, as well offer guidance and instruction on how to avoid falling, as one in four Americans ages 65 and older experience a fall each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2014, the most recent year for which it has data, falls cost New Yorkers almost $3.8 billion – about half of that in Medicare spending, another $950 million in Medicaid spending, and private/out-of-pocket costs approaching $500 million. Collaborating with the Lower Hudson Valley Falls Prevention Network, OFA is hosting a tai chi lesson at Bowdoin Park on Thursday, Sept. 24th, which will later be available to view of the OFA webpage, which also has information about fall-related resources, including the OFA’s award-winning “A Matter of Balance” classes.
- There is only one week left to complete the 2020 Census. Last week, the County Executive announced the County had exceeded the 2010 response rate. While response has been strong in some areas of the County, residents are urged to complete the census to ensure all localities are accurately represented. County census workers will be knocking on doors as part of the 2020 Census, which ends September 30th. It is not necessary to wait for census field workers; the census form can be completed at My2020Census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020 for English or 844-468-2020 for Spanish.
County Executive Molinaro’s next virtual discussion will take place on Wednesday, September 30th and will be broadcast live on the County’s Facebook page. As with the County Executive’s previous 30+ virtual forums, American Sign Language interpreters will translate the conversation on Facebook.