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Mid-Hudson Valley closer to reopening

Valley meets 5 of 7 benchmarks

COVID mask

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that as of May 13, 2020, the North Country has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state's regional phased reopening plan when NYS on PAUSE orders expire on May 15th, joining the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions.

Six of the state’s 10 regions have yet to meet all seven criteria for reopening including the Mid-Hudson Valley, which has met five of the required seven metrics. All five counties in the Mid-Hudson Valley – Ulster, Orange, Dutchess, Sullivan, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester – must meet the seven benchmarks to begin a phased reopening.

Those metrics include:

  1. A sustained decline in the three-day rolling average of total net hospitalizations (defined as the total number of people in the hospital on a given day) over the course of a 14-day period
  2. A sustained decline in the three-day rolling average of daily hospital deaths over the course of a 14-day period
  3. Fewer than two new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents (measured on a three-day rolling average)
  4. Hospital bed capacity of at least 30 percent
  5. Hospital intensive care unit capacity of at least 30 percent
  6. Average daily diagnostic testing over the past seven days sufficient to conduct 30 tests per 1,000 residents per month
  7. Number of contact tracers meet thresholds set by the Department of Health, in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and Vital Strategies.

Of the state’s 340,661 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, as of May 13, Orange County had 9,693 with 61 new cases, Dutchess had 3,429 with 30 new cases, Ulster had 1,481 with 16 new cases, and Sullivan had 1,135 with 16 new cases, Putnam had 1,108 with 10 new cases, Rockland had 12,543 cases with 39 new and Westchester had 31,611 with 139 new.

Numbers of CVID-19 cases are monitored daily, with regions set to adjust their reopening plans as figures decline or spike. The office of Steven M. Neuhaus, County Executive for Orange County, reported that spikes in COVID-19 cases can be easily identified.

According to Dutchess County Executive, Marcus Molinaro, who spoke during the Facebook live town hall session on Wed. May 13, the county has requested to be considered separately from Westchester and Rockland counties in terms of benchmark achievements, but that request has been denied. However, some variations with regions are being considered and the governor’s office is considering   reducing the two-week evaluation period of benchmark measures. As it stands, Dutchess County does not meet for the first two benchmarks, including sustained decline in hospitalizations and sustained decline in hospital deaths.  

Molinaro said reopening will happen in incremental steps to avoid a spike in COVID-19 cases and that campsites that meet permit and protection parameters may be allowed to open the last weekend in May. Overnight camps that meet those regulations currently looking at a July 1 timetable to open. It’s unlikely that school graduations will happen in traditional manners but that alternative programs involving in-car measures are possible.