Two cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Greene Co.; countywide emergency declared
Mar 16, 2020 12:55 am
Greene County Legislator William Lawrence of Cairo is reporting that the county Legislature Sun., Mar. 15, declared a countywide emergency. The action comes as news of the county's first two COVID-19 cases were reported by the state Department of Health. Lawrence wrote in a post on Facebook, "At an emergency meeting this morning, all the Greene County school districts were represented, as well as most of the towns and villages in Greene. The declaration states that all schools in Greene County will cancel classes and not allow students in schools on or by Wednesday of this week. This will result in a shutdown of the school systems for at least two weeks until March 27th and maybe longer after advice is sought from the Public Health sector and the County of Greene. The school systems are working on ways that teachers can interact with students via internet and on a system to supply lunches and/or breakfast for those in need." Lawrence advised parents to explain to children that it is essential they stay away from public places, such as movie theaters and malls in order to prevent community spread of the virus The Department of Motor Vehicles, in Greene County and statewide, is now operating by appointment only. Walk-in service is suspended until the emergency has passed. All senior centers are closed, but the Meals on Wheels program will continue as long as volunteers are available. County employees will be briefed on the situation this week, and they will be encouraged to work from home, as much as possible. Overall there were 729 cases confirmed cases in New York as of March 15, with three deaths. Albany County has eight confirmed cases, Dutchess County has seven, Greene has two, and Ulster County has five confirmed cases, according to the New York State Department of Health. The Daily Mail reports that three people who tested positive for the virus elsewhere traveled to Greene County to self-isolate in a second home. New York State courts are postponing all “non-essential” services, beginning at 5 p.m. March 16. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control recommended March 15 that organizers cancel or postpone all events with 50 people or more in attendance for the next eight weeks. Gov, Andrew Cuomo wrote in an open letter to President Donald Trump March 15, that hospitals in New York and around the county won't be able to treat all the sick soon unless the federal government uses the Army Corps of Engineers to create temporary medical centers. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan told the Daily Freeman that the county asked for 2,000 coronavirus testing kits from the federal government, but only received 250. Massachusetts closed schools for at least three weeks. New York City canceled all schools, closed movie theaters, and all bars and restaurants would be limited to takeout and food delivery. Locally, businesses such as HiLo in Catskill moved to all takeout. The New York 24-hour Price Chopper and Market 32 stores changed their hours to close at 1 a.m. and re-open at 6 a.m. so employees can clean and restock the stores. Wal-Mart is also shortening their hours to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and both companies could not say how long the changes would last. Amtrak suspended the Adirondack service to Montreal. The Hudson Area Library is closing from March 18 until the end of the month.