This is a roundup of coronavirus news and announcements from New York State and Hudson Valley and Catskills counties published on Monday, March 16. Produced in collaboration with The River Newsroom
The River is compiling a list of resources that are helping folks manage during the coronavirus pandemic. The list is not comprehensive, but if you know anything you’d like us to include, please email us.—Phillip Pantuso
A Facebook group called the Hudson Valley Mutual Aid Network is offering resources and support to the Hudson Valley community. The organizers are compiling information in a spreadsheet that will be shared with all who express interest. Read more here.
The COVID Childcare Co-op Calendar is a social tool that allows groups of parents and other caregivers to automatically generate a fairly distributed cooperative childcare schedule given each adult’s availability.
The educational publisher Scholastic has created a learn-at-home site with daily projects to projects to keep kids reading and thinking.
Spectrum is offering 60 days of free internet access to new customers in households with K-12 or college students, starting today, the Daily Freeman reports.
The Service Workers Mutual Aid Fund supports furloughed service industry employees who “need funds for food, medical bills, childcare, or any other financial stressor.” It was started in Ohio, but workers anywhere can apply for relief—and anyone can contribute.
The COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources website is just what it sounds like: An aggregated list of free resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.
Sweet Relief, which provides financial assistance to career musicians facing illness, disability, or age-related problems, has started a COVID-19 fund for those affected by the virus and fallout therefrom.
NEW YORK STATE
950 cases confirmed (221 new)
New York State has been on a roll, acting decisively in the midst of a crisis, and our governor—often prickly, sometimes corny, widely feared, and frequently blamed for problems both upstate and down—is in his element. “Andrew Cuomo Is The Control Freak We Need Right Now,” wrote The New York Times media columnist Ben Smith today, observing that many of Cuomo’s sharpest critics are now praising the governor’s swift action and leadership.
Announced by New York State today:
-A tri-state plan, coordinating with New Jersey and Connecticut, to guide tough policy in the region and prevent “state shopping” for restaurants and services.
Cuomo and his fellow governors have ordered all gyms, theaters, and casinos to close as of 8 p.m. tonight, and all restaurants and bars to stop table service at the same time, though restaurants can still do pick-up and takeout orders. The state liquor authority will change its regulations to allow takeout alcohol. He also ordered a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.
Cuomo has called on the federal government to follow suit.
-An executive order allowing New York State to increase its hospital capacity, with the goal of creating 9,000 additional beds. Cuomo said the state’s National Guard would work with construction unions and private developers to convert existing facilities into temporary medical facilities for the afflicted, saying the hospital system would be overwhelmed.
-Nonessential state employees are directed to work from home statewide. Local governments are directed to reduce workforce by 50 percent and allow nonessential personnel to work from home.
-Village elections originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, have been delayed until April 28, the date of New York State’s presidential primary. That too might be subject to revision: The New York Times reported Sunday that officials are weighing whether to postpone New York’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 23.
-Schools statewide are ordered closed for two weeks.
-Fees at all state, county, and local parks will be waived.
On Sunday evening, the CDC announced new guidelines for the entire US that recommend the cancellation of all gatherings of more than 50 people, social distancing measures for gatherings of any size, and cancelling gatherings of more than 10 people for organizations that serve vulnerable populations. Today, guidelines posted to the agency’s website were even stricter, recommending that Americans avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, stop eating and drinking in restaurants and bars, and begin schooling from home. In a press briefing, President Donald Trump repeated the advice that all Americans avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
The guideline about avoiding restaurants comes from Anthony Fauci, the CDC’s leading expert on coronavirus. Restaurant Business reported Sunday that the nation’s top disease doctor had proposed the guidance to the Trump administration and gotten a favorable response.
Takeout booze? Really? Gothamist is on it—and shames the Way Station, a Brooklyn bar, for being an example of what not to do during a pandemic.
Maple Weekend, the 25th annual celebration of the running of the sap in late March, is officially cancelled. Maple producers are planning to hold open houses later in the season, though.
220 cases confirmed (24 new)
We had to read that twice to be sure we had it right: Westchester County executive George Latimer declared a state of emergency Monday, and ordered a two-week closure of any public or private schools in the county that have not already shut down. Although the 463 confirmed cases found in New York City now exceed Westchester’s, the county was the location of the state’s first confirmed case of community spread, and the containment zone in New Rochelle has become the face of New York’s outbreak to the nation. Many other Hudson Valley and Catskills counties declared states of emergency last week or over the weekend.
Mount Vernon issued a voluntary curfew starting Tuesday asking all residents to stay indoors from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. starting Tuesday. “Hands-on business” such as nail salons and hairdressers must close beginning on Tuesday at 8 p.m. The city also ordered all businesses except pharmacies, groceries, and gas stations to start closing at 5 p.m. beginning Wednesday.
16 cases confirmed (3 new)
Rockland County executive Ed Day declared a state of emergency Monday. The declaration orders the two-week closure of public and private schools and colleges, but exempts day care, preschool, and pre-K. Colleges are allowed to leave dorms open. The order also imposes sale restrictions on some household and grocery items to two per household, imposes mandatory quarantine, and orders buffets and salad bars to prepackage food. The order establishes potential fines and/or jail time for violators.
7 cases confirmed (2 new)
Ulster County COVID-19 hotline: 845-443-8888
Ulster County executive Pat Ryan will hold a teleconference for the local business community on Tuesday, March 17, at 10 a.m. Ryan wants to address “supply chain disruption, customer flow and spending disruptions, sick and leave time issues and staffing shortfalls, along with any other problems businesses are facing,” the Daily Freeman reports.
UlsterCorps is compiling a list of volunteer needs from local agencies. Contact them to offer help or to announce a volunteer need: “Email email@example.com, call/text 845-481-0331, or post directly to our Facebook group or page. If you would like to help out, please register for the specific opportunity or sign up for our Action Alerts, join our Facebook group, or text UlsterCorps to 22828 to get started.”
The town of Gardiner declared a state of emergency Sunday until April 14, and the town supervisor closed town hall. Elected officials are still able to access it, if necessary, but were encouraged to self-isolate at home.
Cherries Ice Cream Bar & Grill in Stone Ridge is providing free kids meals Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. while schools are closed.
The Table at Woodstock, an organization that provides no-cost meals to community members in need, is raising emergency funds to meet demand during the pandemic. “Every donation goes directly to helping members of our community stay healthy and fed during this national emergency,” the campaign organizers write.
Starting Wednesday, the YMCA Farm Project in Kingston will provide Kingston City School District students with free breakfasts and lunches every day of the week. Pickups are between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at JFK Elementary and Bailey Middle Schools.
11 cases confirmed (4 new)
Orange County Department of Health: 845-291-2330
Middletown’s school district announced late Sunday someone regularly at the Middletown High School was diagnosed with COVID-19. No details about the individual were released, including whether they were a student. They were last known to be at the school March 9.
Blooming Grove, which declared a state of emergency Sunday, will begin using code enforcement and their police department to enforce the prohibitions on public gatherings in the town.
All meetings of the Orange County Legislature scheduled between Tuesday, March 17, and Thursday, March 19, were cancelled today.
The City of Middletown closed all government buildings to the public. City employees will be on duty, but all business must be conducted over the phone or by appointment
The Middletown and Liberty district offices of State Senator Jen Metzger will remain open on a remote basis during the COVID-19 outbreak. Constituent services staff in Middletown can be reached during regular business hours (Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.) at 845-344-3311.
10 cases confirmed (3 new)
Dutchess County COVID-19 Hotline: 845-486-3555
Dutchess County 24/7 Mental Health Helpline: 845-485-9700
County executive Marc Molinaro announced that he will host a coronavirus informational telephone town hall on Wednesday, March 18, at 5:30 p.m. During the call, which will be streamed on the county’s Facebook page, Molinaro will provide a brief overview of the current situation in Dutchess County before answering questions from residents.
The Hudson Valley Food & Beverage Innovation Summit, which had been scheduled for April 22 at the Culinary Institute of America, has been indefinitely postponed, according to a press release.
Note: In official counts, New York State lists the county where a patient was tested, not where the patient is currently, leading to discrepancies in this county, according to Catskill Daily Mail reporter Melanie Lekocevic. The newspaper reported on Sunday that three people confirmed to have coronavirus, all of whom contracted the virus outside the county, are self-quarantining in Greene County.
Columbia Memorial Health COVID-19 hotline: 518-828-8249
The New York Daily News talked to people in ski towns around the country who are facing the abrupt end of the skiing season, including Marianna Leman, chef and hotelier at Albergo Allegria at Windham. “Everything has just come to a screeching halt,” she said.
2 cases confirmed (0 new)
Putnam County announced new measures to increase social distancing at county offices, including a drop box for routine transactions and limiting visitors at the county DMV to six at a time.
1 cases confirmed (0 new)
Delaware County Public Health Services website
Bassett Healthcare Network hotline: 607-547-555
The town of Middletown has activated its emergency website and is posting news updates. (Full disclosure: Lissa Harris’s wife, Julia Reischel, is a Town of Middletown board member.)
Hotspots where people can sit in their cars and access free WiFi were set up today in Margaretville, Fleischmanns, and Roxbury, thanks to local town and village officials and the Margaretville Telephone Company. More are planned for Andes and Downsville, according to an announcement by the MARK Project, a local nonprofit.
0 cases confirmed
Columbia Memorial Health COVID-19 hotline: 518-828-8249
The City of Hudson declared a state of emergency. All city offices except Code Enforcement and the CIty Clerk will be closed to the public, which will see residents by appointment. The offices will continue to be staffed. Mayor Kamal Johnson cited “nationwide and local limitations on medical supplies and the limited availability of life-saving medical equipment” during the announcement.
0 cases confirmed
Note: A single confirmed case in the county was announced by county officials after the state briefing today.
County coronavirus info page
Sullivan County announced the county’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 today, a healthcare worker at the Sunset Lake nursing home in Liberty. The worker has been self-isolating since last Thursday, and county officials said no other staff or residents at Sunset Lake’s Care Center have exhibited elevated temperatures or respiratory symptoms.
The Middletown and Liberty district offices of State Senator Jen Metzger will remain open on a remote basis during the COVID-19 outbreak. Constituent services staff in Liberty can be reached during regular business hours (Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.) by calling the 845-292-0215
0 cases confirmed
County coronavirus info page
Schoharie County Board of Supervisors chairman Bill Federice declared a state of emergency today, a move that was anticipated in light of local school districts announcing closures. The state of emergency allows the Board of Supervisors and its committees to meet via teleconferencing or other remote means. The county also issued an informational update with facts and guidance about COVID-19. Although the document is dated March 16, internal dates on pages in the document say March 12; residents should check state and federal official websites for updated guidance.
The River has begun publishing a weekly Sunday roundup of some of the best longform reporting, analysis, and feature writing on the coronavirus pandemic. Check out our first edition here.
To read more of our daily news roundups, visit our coronavirus page.