Poughkeepsie, NY … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro today hosted his 50TH virtual town hall forum, providing the latest information on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination efforts, and other important topics and updates to residents.
These Town Halls have been a vital source of connection and information sharing for residents during this pandemic. Since mid-March, County Executive Molinaro has shared updates on the County’s extensive response efforts, shared critical statewide updates, and has answered thousands of questions from business owners, families with school aged children or relatives in care facilities, and concerned citizens feeling isolated and uncertain during these unprecedented times.
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:
o 340,798 tests completed to date
o 10,405 confirmed cases to date
o 1,657 current active cases
o 103 current hospitalizations
o 215 deaths to date
o 8,533 recovered to date
o 6.33% Dutchess County 7-day rolling average positivity rate as reported by the State DOH.
• County Executive Molinaro reminded residents to stay home and avoid gatherings with those not in your household as much as possible this holiday season. If residents are with others outside their household members, they can keep themselves and their families safe by wearing a mask even around friends and family, maintaining safe physical distance and keeping up with good hygiene practices like washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes.
• There are currently no cluster zones within Dutchess County. Cluster Zones are determined and initiated by New York State; to see the complete list of metrics and restrictions, view the NYS Cluster Action Initiative webpage. The Cluster Action initiative also includes a hot spot zone map where you can look up cluster zone locations by address on the State’s website.
• County Executive Molinaro gave an update on the State’s Regional Vaccine Hubs and vaccine distribution progress in Dutchess County. The Hubs, which will be led by local hospital systems, will work with communities to develop regional distribution of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that both require two doses. Since last week, doses continue to be given to high-risk hospital workers including emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff. Starting this week, staff and residents at all 13 skilled nursing homes in the county will be receiving the first dose of the vaccine. The County Executive reminded residents to remain vigilant with safety precautions – hand washing, physical distancing, minimizing social gatherings, and wearing a mask – as the vaccine will not be widely available to the general public for several months, yet.
• Dutchess County continues to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and help low- and moderate-income residents and small businesses with more than $2.3 million Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding distributed through the County’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) program. County Executive Molinaro announced today new initiatives being implemented – eviction prevention program and local municipal projects for senior citizens. These new initiatives are in addition to the small business grant program and the childcare relief scholarships already underway. The County has allocated CARES funding as follows (some of these programs have been previously announced, others are being implemented):
• Nearly $1.3M in eviction prevention to ensure housing stability;
• More than $450,000 in economic development relief for small businesses;
• Over $400,000 to childcare to assist parents balancing work and student remote learning;
• More than $150,000 for local municipal projects promoting food security and safety for seniors.
• County Executive Molinaro also updated residents that additional rent relief assistance is now available through the State’s COVID Rent Relief Extension Program, which has been extended and expanded to help low-income residents stay in their homes. The program is now accepting applications now through February 1st. Additionally, residents who applied previously and were denied do not need to re-apply; the State will review their application under the new criteria and make a new determination.
County Executive Molinaro’s next online forum will take place on Wednesday, January 6th 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.