Molinaro, Marc 2020
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro
KINGSTON, N.Y. — Ulster County continues to be the only county among the seven in the state-designated Mid-Hudson Region to meet all COVID-19 criteria necessary to begin a Phase 1 reopening.

Still, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is holding out hope that the state later this week will let the region enter the phase.

Under state guidelines, that can’t happen until each county in the region meets all seven criteria. The Mid-Hudson Region comprises Ulster, Dutchess, Sullivan, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.

The six counties other than Ulster each have met five of the seven criteria. As a result, the entire region is regarded as having met five.

Molinaro on Sunday said a shift in the way the state seems to be interpreting key measures for the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths could open the door for the Mid-Hudson Region to move off the “New York on Pause” order.

Seven of the state’s 10 regions have now met all seven criteria: Western New York, the Finger Lakes, Central New York, the Mohawk Valley, the Capital Region, the North Country and the Southern Tier.

Still on the sidelines, along with the Mid-Hudson Region, are New York City and Long Island.

Last week, the Capital Region met the hospitalization metric, but it fell back when the number of hospitalizations rose.

On Sunday, the governor’s regional monitoring slide showed the Capital Region and Western New York meeting that metric. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the two regions still had to meet the criteria for contract tracing, but he called that an “administrative issue” and said the state is working with county leaders to make sure procedures are in place.

Of the fluctuating hospitalizations metric, Molinaro said Sunday that he doesn’t believe the state intends to force a region to “reset” and begin a new 14-day monitoring period if it has a one-day change in a metric, which is what he believes occurred in the Capital Region.

“This is not the way they interpreted it to begin with,” Molinaro said. “Day-to-day, you’d expect to have some ups and downs, which is why it calls for three-day average.”

Molinaro said he believes a similar review is taking place for the Mid-Hudson Region and that he hopes the state will give its OK for the region to starts its Phase 1 opening to by the end of the week.

In Phase 1, construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, manufacturing and wholesale trade businesses are allowed to reopen, and retail stores can provide curbside or in-store pickup or drop-off.

“It’s something we’re aiming for,” Molinaro said of reaching Phase 1. “Yesterday, the Capital District had no belief they would be opening this week, and now they do.

“In the totality of the concerns, all of those things suggest we are where they Capital District is, and even Westchester in our conversations feel that and that a Phase 1 the end of this week is achievable,” he said.

In a related matter, Molinaro said he interprets Cuomo’s permission for some low-risk outdoor activities, such as tennis, to resume to include horseback riding. He said riding lessons that include a single instructor and a single student will be permitted.

By the numbers

Ulster County reported Sunday that it had had 1,596 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began and 66 fatalities. It said there were 669 active cases and 831 recoveries.

Dutchess County reported 3,527 confirmed cases, 123 fatalities, 1,989 active cases and 1,415 recoveries.

Orange County reported 10,039 active cases and 408 fatalities.

Columbia County said it had 344 confirmed cases, 26 fatalities, 162 active cases and 156 recoveries.

Greene County, which last updated its numbers Friday, reported 238 confirmed cases, 15 fatalities, 64 active cases and 174 recoveries.

For local stories about the coronavirus, go to bit.ly/DFCOVID19. For live updates, visit bit.ly/DFcovid19live.