Molinaro Holds Latest COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Forum

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Poughkeepsie, NY … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro hosted his latest in a series of virtual Town Hall Forums to inform residents about the latest local developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and answer their questions.

Since mid-March, County Executive Molinaro has hosted more than 30 such online discussions with the community, and an archive of those events is available on the Dutchess County Government 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:

o 4,704 total confirmed cases
o 113,360 tests completed
o 269 active cases
o 6 hospitalizations
o 153 deaths
o 4,282 recoveries
o 1% infection rate

• As local school districts make final determinations on whether students will return to school or not, Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) is working diligently with districts to provide guidance and information regarding testing access, reporting protocols, contact tracing and more. Multiple conference calls with district superintendents, principals and other officials have been occurring and DBCH most recently hosted an overview today with school nurses from throughout the county. Additionally, DBCH’s Rapid Response team is ready to assist districts in the event of positive reports.

• Six weeks after the Mid-Hudson region, including Dutchess County, entered Phase 4 of the NY Forward re-opening process, Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided guidance under which bowling alleys, as well as gyms and fitness studios are allowed to open; the former are currently allowed to open, the latter will be able to open, beginning Monday, Aug. 24th.

Bowling alleys must limit capacity to no more than 50 percent, and all patrons must wear a mask or face covering at all times. Among the other guidance, bowling alley staff must rigorously clean and disinfect any rented or shared equipment, such as balls and shoes, between use; parties of players must remain socially distant, at least 6 feet apart from each other; and patrons may only interact with their own playing party at their assigned lane.

In order to open, beginning Monday, Aug. 24th, gyms and fitness studios must maintain no more than 33 percent capacity; all employees and patrons must wear masks or face coverings at all times, complete and pass a health screening and sign in upon entering the facility; patrons and employees must remain socially distant, at least 6 feet apart; and facilities must ensure individuals do not share equipment without cleaning and disinfection between uses.

Earlier this week, the governor updated the list of states from which travelers must quarantine for 14 days, adding Alaska and Delaware to the travel quarantine list. There are now 33 states, in addition to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, on New York’s travel quarantine list.

• In response to the pandemic, and the associated prohibition on large gatherings and need for social distancing, Dutchess County will host a ThinkDIFFERENTLY Drive-Thru Picnic – in lieu of its successful, in-person, annual picnics for residents with disabilities – on Tuesday, September 1st at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Akin to the Office for the Aging’s (OFA) successful drive-through picnics, the mobile ThinkDIFFERENTLY event will offer residents with special needs brief, socially distant interaction with County staff and volunteers while providing them a nutritious bag lunch prepared by a local deli; the ThinkDIFFERENTLY event will take place alongside the OFA’s drive-through picnic at the fairgrounds on September 1st. Space is limited for this rain-or-shine event, and online registration is required by August 26th at

• The Office for the Aging (OFA) “Drive-Thru Picnic Series,” held in response to the pandemic and the need for social distancing, remains a rousing success, with more seniors registering for this summer’s 12 drive-through events than last year’s dozen traditional, in-person picnics. Halfway through this year’s schedule, more than 4,000 seniors have registered for the drive-through picnics, compared to the 3,807 seniors who attended OFA picnics in 2019. At its first six drive-through picnics, OFA distributed some 600 pounds of local fresh fruit from Hudson Valley Harvest and more than 130 gallons of local milk from Hudson Valley Fresh.

County Executive Molinaro’s next virtual discussion will take place on Wednesday, August 26th, when he hosts a countywide Tele-Town Hall, which allows residents to call (845) 765-7121 to listen to the dialogue and ask their questions. This event will also be broadcast live on the County’s Facebook page. As with the County Executive’s previous 30 plus virtual forums, American Sign Language interpreters will translate the conversation on Facebook.