Hundreds were virtually on hand Tuesday to take part in discussions about the County’s ongoing response to the pandemic when County Executive Marc Molinaro hosted his latest online COVID-19 Town Hall. Executive Molinaro provided residents with the latest news about the local impact of the pandemic and took time to answer their questions. Molinaro noted Dutchess County meets all metrics required to re-open as per the criteria reviewed by the Mid-Hudson Regional Control Room, which is led by representatives from the Governor’s office. However, the Mid-Hudson region overall has not yet been approved to begin Phase One reopening. Reopening can only begin with approval for the region – counties may not begin reopening independently. One of the current impediments to the Mid-Hudson region’s approval to begin Phase One reopening is a change made yesterday to the requirement for contact tracers. While Dutchess County meets the State-mandated metric of 30 contact tracers per 100,000 population, with more than 90 contact tracers; the Mid-Hudson Regional Control Room announced yesterday the number of contract tracers for the region would now be based on infection rate, rather than population – and more than 1,800 contact tracers are needed regionwide. Dutchess County’s required number of contact tracers is now 250.

Executive Molinaro also noted that on Tuesday the State provided Dutchess County with hundreds of results from tests conducted in April, skewing the County’s cumulative number of confirmed cases, as seen on the Dutchess County COVID-19 Community Impact Dashboard. Many of the individuals whose test results were received late Tuesday have since been categorized as “recovered,” as they have completed their 14-day quarantine. The County’s Recovery Center, located at Dutchess Community College’s Conklin Hall Dormitory, has been stood down without a single COVID-19 patient utilizing the facility as local hospital capacity has remained stable. Established in partnership with Nuvance Health in April, the County set up the center in case it was needed for COVID patients who were recovering and didn’t need to stay in the hospital but couldn’t return home immediately after being discharged. Local hospital capacity continues to be stable, an important metric toward Phase One re-opening.

Meanwhile, in Columbia County, officials are busy navigating the first days of the reopening of the economy under Phase One of New York State’s New York Forward Plan. Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell noted on Wednesday, “There’s definitely some confusion in terms of what businesses and individuals can and can’t do as we begin to emerge from New York on PAUSE.” Murell added, “for businesses looking to reopen under Phase One, a reopening plan must be completed and available on premises for health authorities before the business can open.” Phase One includes construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup; agriculture, forestry and fishing; as well as low-risk business and recreational activities, including drive-in movie theaters and some outdoor activities.

Photo courtesy of the Dutchess County Government’s Facebook page

To view the full town hall update visit the Dutchess County Government’s YouTube page.

New York State has recently added a “Reopening Tool,” designed to let businesses know when they may reopen in a particular region. For more information, click here