On Monday morning, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro urged residents to assume that they already have or will soon come in contact with the coronavirus.

There are eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dutchess County, but according to Molinaro that number is pretty meaningless. In a live interview on 101.5 WPDH, the county executive urged residents to act under the assumption that we already have, or will soon come in contact with someone who has the coronavirus. Acknowledging that there have not been nearly enough tests performed to accurately show just how widespread the pandemic has become, he emphasized that hand washing, social distancing and acting responsibly are the only ways we can make sure things don't spiral out of control quickly.

When asked whether the county would be instituting a ban on restaurants, bars, theatres and gyms like New York City and other states already have, Molinaro said that he is in contact with Orange and Ulster counties discussing further measures. While he doesn't expect a mandatory quarantine to "happen today" he left the possibility open for something to possibly be put into place at a later date.

Molinaro urged residents to voluntarily stay away from crowded bars and restaurants. Although he knows those industries are going to take a financial hit, he says that social distancing is everyone's responsibility to make sure the most vulnerable are protected. The County Executive acknowledged that something needs to be done for those who find themselves out of work, and is working on just how to address that and so many other issues that have come up over the past few weeks.

As far as local hospitals, Molinary indicated that Dutchess is fortunate to have two well-respected health networks operating in our area. Hospitals are already canceling elective surgeries and clearing beds in the event that COVID-19 cases see a huge spike. Social distancing, he says, is really what will ensure that our local hospitals don't find themselves overrun by patients all at once.

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