State of Emergency Declared in Ulster County
Ulster County is under a State of Emergency. Workers are furloughed in Orange County and Dutchess County is monitoring 24 people.
Ulster County Executive Patrick K. Ryan declared a State of Emergency on Thursday after announcing two more residents received positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in Ulster County to four.
Both individuals were connected to the previously announced cases in the towns of Rochester and Shawangunk, officials say. Ryan is suspending in-person County services for a two-week period starting Monday.
“I have directed a series of immediate actions to bolster our response to the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus in Ulster County,” Ryan said “My top priority remains ensuring the health and safety of all of our residents, and these measures will provide additional safeguards for everyone. As the situation develops, we will continue to lean forward and take proactive steps informed by real-time data and the advice of our team of public health experts.”
Additionally, Ryan announced the formation of an Executive’s Health and Safety Task Force to advise the County Executive on issues regarding containment and mitigation issues surrounding COVID-19.
“Our response here in Ulster County is informed by what our team of public health nurses are seeing on the ground as well as what we are learning from the response of other governments and institutions around the country and the world,” Ulster County Commissioner of Health Dr. Carol Smith said. “In close coordination with the NYS Department of Health, we are using best practices and regularly updating our public guidance to ensure we keep everyone in the county safe and healthy.
Further, the Ulster County Department of Health has released new guidance related to public events, spaces, and large gatherings.
The Ulster County Department of Health is strongly recommending all non-essential indoor events be canceled or postponed for at least the next 14 days. In particular, events with 50 or more expected attendees pose the greatest public health risk. This includes the postponement of Kingston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, Shamrock Run and other festivities.
Starting Monday, March 16, Ulster County will limit access to public offices and locations for at least the next 14 days, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Social Services, Office for the Aging, Veteran Services Agency, and the Office of Employment and Training. The County will be rolling out phone and online options for residents to continue to receive all critical services.
Dutchess and Orange counties have both confirmed one resident in each county tested positive for COVID-19. Dutchess County is currently monitoring 24 cases. The person who tested positive was one of those 24. 22 of the 24 are under precautionary quarantine. Two are under mandatory quarantine.
The 24 were identified because of a connection to a confirmed COVID-19 case in Ulster County, overseas travel or other reasons that had them at a higher risk. The group has given "universal cooperation," according to Molinaro.
At an abundance of caution, Molinaro suggests canceling or postponing large social gatherings in Dutchess County.
"If you're at an event with 20 people more, that's a social gathering and it's recommended to cancel," Molinaro said.
The current recommendation is no public social gatherings until the end of April. Officials will make the determination to extend based on how things look at the beginning of April.
The Orange County resident with coronavirus was a patient who went to Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in the City of Newburgh. The person is presently hospitalized and isolated. The hospital has furloughed a number of its workers, officials confirmed.
"MSLC proceeded with an abundance of caution relating to staff furloughs and continues to review and return employees to work, having already reduced from the number released earlier today," Montefiore St. Luke's Cornwall wrote on Facebook.