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Posted on: November 17, 2020

Important Dutchess County Covid-19 Update

Coronavirus-CDC-Image

Update from County Executive Molinaro

November 16, 2020

 

Situation Update

  • 519 Active Cases
  • 24 Hospitalizations
  • 174 Deaths
  • 5,492 Recovered
  • 3.6% Regional % Positive, Yesterday
  • 3.7% Regional % Positive, 7-Day Average

 

Dutchess County Dashboard

NY Forward Regional Dashboard

 

Restaurants, Gyms and Gatherings

Please see the newest Executive Order in relation to SLA licensed establishments and limiting gatherings to 10 individuals at a private residence:

  • Executive Order 202.3, as extended, and Sections 105 and 106 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, to the extent necessary to require that: 
    • All businesses that are licensed by the State Liquor Authority under sections 63 and 79 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law (“liquor stores” and “wine stores”) shall cease all off premises sales and close at or before 10:00PM, and shall not reopen before existing county opening hours permit.
    • All businesses that are licensed by the State Liquor Authority for on premises service of alcoholic beverages, shall cease all on premises service and consumption of food and beverages (including alcoholic beverages), inside or outside, at or before 10:00PM and shall not reopen before the later of any stipulated opening hours or existing county opening hours permit; further, to-go and delivery service of food, and non-alcoholic beverages only, may continue at such business licensed for on premises service until the earlier of any stipulated closing hours or existing county closing hours permit. 
    • This provision shall be subject to reasonable limitations and procedures set by the Chairman of the State Liquor Authority and/or any relevant Department of Health guidance.  
  • All restaurants, irrespective of whether such restaurant is licensed by the State Liquor Authority, shall cease in-person dining at 10:00PM, but may continue curbside takeout and delivery service after 10:00PM so long as otherwise permitted, and may reopen no earlier than 5:00AM.
  • Any gym or fitness center shall cease operation and close to the public at 10:00PM, and cannot reopen until 5:00AM.
  • The directive contained in Executive Order 202.45, as extended, which amended the directives in Executive Order 202.42, 202.38, and 202.10, that limited all non-essential gatherings to allow gatherings of 50 of fewer individuals for any lawful purpose or reason, is hereby modified only insofar as to further limit non-essential private residential gatherings to 10 or fewer individuals for any lawful purpose or reason, provided that social distancing, face covering, and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the Department of Health are adhered to.

 

 

Travel Advisory

Governor Cuomo released updated out-of-state travel rules in an advisory document published November 3rd.  Complete and up to date information is available on the State’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory webpage. The new guidelines include:

  • New option to “test out” of the mandatory 14-day quarantine beginning Wednesday, November 4.
  • Individuals who were in a state on the travel list for more than 24-hours must
  1. Obtain a test within three days of departure from a state on the restricted list
  2. Quarantine for three days upon entering New York and Fill out a Traveler Health Form
  3. Obtain another COVID test on the fourth day of quarantining.

If both tests come back negative, the individual is allowed to end their quarantine.

  • Individuals who were in a state on the travel list for less than 24-hours must
  1. Fill out the Traveler Health Form
  2. Take a COVID test four days after arriving in New York
  • If you are in a designated state for less than 24-hours, you do not have to quarantine for the first three days back in New York, or take a COVID test before your fourth day back in New York
  • The requirements do not apply to individuals traveling to and from contiguous states including: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. These states are considered exempt from the domestic Travel Advisory

Questions regarding these updates can be directed to the New York State Hotline at 1 (888)364-3065, or you can submit an inquiry online.

 

 

New York Micro-Cluster Summary

Overview

The designation of micro-clusters by New York State prompted many questions related to the metrics upon which these determinations are being made. Yesterday, the State released the attached document summarizing their micro-cluster strategy. Please see the below summary of the document (provided in large part by a New York State Association of Counties briefing) including relevant details for Dutchess County. It is important to note that Dutchess County Government does not have access to the real-time specific data points that New York State refers to throughout the document, but continues to closely monitor and control the spread of COVID-19 in our county. There are no current micro-cluster areas within Dutchess County, and we continue to maintain one of the lowest transmission rates in the region.

 

Under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Cluster Action Initiative, New York State is using testing data, hospitalization data, and mapping software to detect small outbreaks of COVID-19, known as “micro-clusters”, and implement restrictions based on the severity of spread.  Yesterday, the Governor released the metrics used to identify “cluster zone” focus areas, the restrictions for each zone, and the criteria that geographic areas must meet to no long be considered a zone.

 

Identifying a Focus Zone

Focus zones can receive one of three designations: (1) red zone (“micro-cluster”); (2) orange zone (warning/buffer); or yellow zone (precautionary/buffer).  The metrics for entering each zone vary based on the population of the county in which the geographic area is located.  See page 5 of the attached guidance for a table with the population tiers and metrics. Geographic areas with in Dutchess County would be considered Tier 2.

 

Tier 2 Metrics for Entering Micro-Cluster Zones

As a Tier 2 community, geographic areas (by ZIP code, census tract, etc.) within Dutchess County must meet the following criteria in order to be classified as a micro-cluster:

  1. Yellow Precautionary Zone
    1. 7-day rolling average positivity above 3% for 10 days within the given geographic area (i.e. zip code)
    2. AND, 12 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on 7-day average within the given geographic area (i.e. zip code)
  1. Orange Warning Zone
    1. 7-day rolling average positivity above 4% for 10 days within the given geographic area (i.e. zip code)
    2. AND, 12 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on 7-day average within the given geographic area (i.e. zip code)
  1. Red Zone
    1. 7-day rolling average positivity above 5% for 10 days within the given geographic area (i.e. zip code)
    2. AND, 12 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on 7-day average within the given geographic area (i.e. zip code)

 

Note: The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health does not have access to all of the data points New York State is using to perform these calculations in real-time. The Dutchess County Dashboard continues to provide County-wide data as well as the regional percentage positive rate updated on a daily basis. The New York State Dashboard continues to provide regional percentage positive results and some county specific data.   

 

 Implementing a Focus Zone

After a geographic area has been designated a cluster zone, the State will implement restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. All zones will be subject to the following restrictions.

  1. Increased community testing efforts
  2. Increased enforcement and compliance efforts
  3. Outreach from state officials to support local containment and educational efforts
  4. Increased contact tracing support
  5. Increased public education outreach where necessary

 

In addition, there are restrictions on worship, mass gatherings, businesses, dining, and schools for each zone.  See page 7 (table shown below) of the attached guidance for the restrictions for each zone.

 

Type of Activity

Red

Orange

(Buffer & Warning)

Yellow

(Buffer & Precautionary)

Worship

25% capacity

10 people maximum

33% capacity

25 people maximum

50% capacity

Mass Gathering

Prohibited

10 people maximum, indoor & outdoor

25 people maximum,

indoor & outdoor

Business

Only essential businesses open

Closing high-risk non-essential business (gyms, personal care, etc.)

Open

Dining

Takeout/delivery only 

Outdoor dining only, 4 person maximum per table

Indoor and outdoor dining, 4 person maximum per table

Schools

CLOSED 

Remote only 

Open mandatory 20% weekly testing of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings.

Congregate Care Facilities

All visitation is suspended (with some exceptions)

Visitation shall be suspended if a staff member or resident in the facility has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days (with some exceptions)

 

 

Please see the visitation guidance for congregate care facilities located in the cluster zones. In summary, visitation is suspended for facilities located in red zones with some exceptions, and visitation shall be suspended at residential congregate facilities in the orange zone if a staff member or resident in the facility has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days, with some exceptions.

 

Testing Protocols for Schools in Focus Zone

Please see the interim guidance related to “testing-out” for schools located in “Red or Orange Micro-Cluster Zones.”

 

In order for a school to reopen in a red or orange micro-cluster zones, schools must:

  • Remain closed for at least 4 calendar days after the zone designation is announced (48 hours to ensure lack of infectious contact in the school, and additional time for testing), and may re-open as early as the 5th calendar day.
  • Ensure that no person may attend in-person on the campus without first receiving a negative test result, this applies to faculty/staff as well as students.

 

After a school reopens in a red or orange micro-cluster zone, vigilant symptom and exposure screening must be conducted daily and must follow the below guidelines:

  • 25% of the in-person learning school community (both students and faculty/staff) must be tested per week.
  • The school should ensure that it provides opportunities to test on school grounds, or otherwise facilitates testing and accepts test results from healthcare providers.
  • If the school does not hold a testing event or provide testing on school grounds, test results provided to the school as part of the 25% testing of the population must be received within 7 days from the date of specimen collection and specimen collection must be after the school reopens.
  • Each week the 25% of the school population tested must be composed of unique individuals who have not previously been tested for the surveillance screening, as part of the weekly 25% testing until the fifth week of weekly testing at which point the individuals who participated in the first week of testing should be tested again.
  • Members of the school community who test positive must isolate according to established guidelines.
  • Contact tracing must be performed to ensure that contacts to newly identified positive individuals are quarantined according to established guidelines.

 

Schools that cannot meet the reopening requirements must remain in remote learning for the duration of the zone designation. If the 25% of the school population random sampling generates a minimum of 9 cases, or if for a sample size of more than 300 weekly tests, achieves a positivity rate of 2% (6 cases or more depending on size) in New York City, or 3% (9 or more cases) outside of the city, then the school will be required to close. Reopened schools that fail to comply with these requirements could be subject to Section 16 orders, or other fines and penalties.

 

Exiting a Focus Zone

Fourteen days after a geographic area is placed in a focus zone, the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH), in consultation with the local health department and global health experts, will decide whether the focus zone will be extended, modified, or ended. NYSDOH will base this decision on whether the data demonstrates that the area has reduced viral spread to a level able to be contained given testing, contact tracing, and other health system metrics. The target metrics for exiting each zone again vary based on the population of the county within the geographic area. See page 8 of the attached guidance for these metrics. Geographic areas with in Dutchess County would be considered Tier 2.

 

Tier 2 Metrics for Exiting Micro-Cluster Zones

As a Tier 2 community, geographic areas (by ZIP code, census tract, etc.) within Dutchess County must meet the following criteria in order to re-open a micro-cluster zone:

  1. Leaving any zone
    1. Decline in positivity (7-day rolling average) over 10-day period
    2. AND positivity rate below 2% for at least 3 consecutive days at the end of 10-day period
  1. Leaving Orange Warning Zone
    1. Decline in positivity (7-day rolling average) over 10-day period
    2. AND positivity rate below 3% for at least 3 consecutive days at the end of 10-day period
  1. Leaving Red Zone
    1. Decline in positivity (7-day rolling average) over 10-day period
    2. AND positivity rate below 4% for at least 3 consecutive days at the end of 10-day period

 

Current Status

Currently, there are no cluster zones in Dutchess County. Cluster zones have been identified in Port Chester, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and Tioga, Rockland, Orange, Broome, Chemung, Westchester, Erie, Monroe, Onondaga Counties.

 

Paid Sick Leave & Return to Work

See Department of Labor flyer regarding the Families Frist Coronavirus Response Act.

See New York State flyer regarding COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave.

 

As noted, if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of whether the employee is symptomatic or asymptomatic, the employee may return to work upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms or 10 days of isolation after the first positive test if they remain asymptomatic. This requirement is consistent with New York State and local guidance.

 

If an employee has had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time AND is not experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, the employee may return to work upon completing 14 days of self-quarantine.

 

Dutchess County Government is adhering to a “return to work” protocol for employees. See the protocol attached as well as flow charts that help explain various employee absence and when they can return to work.

 

More information about how the FFCRA may apply to your municipality can be found on the DOL website, specifically the FAQ questions 52-54. 

 

COVID Exposure or Positive Guidance for Businesses

See this PDF distribution to be used as guidance for your businesses and their employees related to COVID exposure. I encourage you to distribute this to your networks and use caution when attaching or forwarding to ensure the links within the document work. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ron Hicks at (845) 486-2565. 

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