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COVID-19 Blog: Counties Innovating in Response to COVID 19 Vol. 2

Daily catalog of counties finding innovative solutions in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.
 


New York City 
 

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio called for retired health care personnel to come forward and join the Medical Reserve corps. More than 2,000 people immediately stepped up. Opportunities to support those affected by this emergency will be shared on this website, including volunteer and donation opportunities. 

New York City has created a text service to provide local updates on COVID-19. Residents can text 'COVID' to 692-692 to get notifications sent straight to their phone or ‘COVIDESP' for updates in Spanish. 

Long Island 

Suffolk County has launched a webpage is intended to consolidate available information and resources for the business community. The Suffolk County Business Recovery Unit serves as a one-stop-shop for business questions and resources related to impacts as a result of COVID 19 and at a collection for economic and workforce impacts. They have also created an Economic & Workforce Impact Survey to help capture the monetary loss to businesses and workers. 

County Executive Steve Bellone shares the Senior Shopping Hours for stores in Suffolk County. These special hours help to keep seniors – who are among the most vulnerable - safe. 

Nassau County's VetMart food pantry is open for veterans in need. VetMart served 9,500 veterans and their families in 2019, and now the County has a drive-up program to continue services in a safe way. If you can't pick up, their volunteers deliver. 

Counseling is another critical service offered to Nassau County Veterans. The Nassau County Veterans Services Agency will continue to offer this service over the phone at 516-572-6565. 

Hudson Valley 

County Executive Pat Ryan and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro held a Facebook Live Town Hall today reaching over 10,000 participants to update residents on how the two Counties are working together to respond to COVID-19. County Executive Ryan and County Executive Molinaro directly answered residents' questions ranging from support for elderly and disabled individuals to the process for applying for unemployment assistance. 

The County will make free childcare available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the children of health care workers and first responders (ages 5 to 12). County residents who want to drop off their children will need to provide proof of employment, like a work ID, at drop-off. In addition, health care workers and first responders who live outside Westchester but work within the county can take advantage of the childcare program. 

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said that the county expects to open its first mobile testing facility for COVID-19 by Monday, March 23rd at the latest. The mobile testing site will help ramp up testing in the county. 

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office became aware of a robocall stating that a company will mail you a COVID-19 test kit if you provide your social security number. The Putnam County Health Department confirmed that there are currently no FDA-approved COVID-19 tests available through the mail. The Sheriff's Office shares tips for residents to protect themselves from scams. 

The Rockland County Department of Health is calling on residents to help enforce the Governor's restrictions on mass gatherings. If they see a gathering of any size, residents can report it to 845-364-2585. Locations, including private residences, hosting gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason can be issued a violation for creating a Public Health Nuisance and can be shut down and fined $2,000 per day per violation under the Rockland County Sanitary Code. 

Capital Region 
 

Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett has made adjustments to how his department operates under these trying times. Bartlett has cut hours for his staff, closed the jail to visitors, and assigned deputies to work out of satellite stations in Valatie, Chatham and Germantown. He has done this all to minimize the exposure for his deputies. 

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday authorized the allocation of $1 million to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus in the county. The allocation of funds will be dedicated to hiring staff and buying the supplies necessary for the county Department of Public Health to execute the county's emergency operations plan and support county operations. 

Mohawk Valley 

As we all continue to fight back against #COVID19, there will be people and organizations who need help, which is why Oneida County created #VolunteerOneidaCounty. If residents are willing to lend a hand to someone in need, they are encouraged to email volunteer@ocgov.net.  

The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area have launched a community-wide fund to support organizations responding to human services needs in Herkimer and Oneida counties resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

The group announced is working together to attract resources and distribute them to nonprofit groups through a single community online effort at www.mvcovidfund.com

North Country 

The County is establishing an emergency operations center in the chambers to better coordinate the fight against coronavirus. Each county department will have someone there, along with state police. 

Lewis County officials held a press conference late yesterday afternoon announcing a number of new procedures being implemented starting today to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

The St. Lawrence County Health Initiative wants to ensure that residents have access to insurance that provides cost-free COVID-19 testing, across all insurance types. SLCHI Navigators are adhering to St. Lawrence County Public Health's guidance of social distancing and are available by phone to answer questions and, in some cases, assist with completing applications over the phone.

Central New York 

The Oswego County Human Resources Department is exercising preventative measures in the interest of preventing the spread of the coronavirus and protecting the health and well-being of the public. Until further notice, people are asked to call and request an appointment for in-person services. 

Cortland County provides daily COVID-19 updates on its website. Residents are encouraged to call their health care providers with health concerns related to COVID-19. If they do not have a primary care doctor or are uninsured, the County encourages them to call Upstate's COVID-19 triage at 315-464-3979 and someone will tell them if they should be tested. 

Southern Tier 

Broome County will provide free daycare at the Broome West Senior Center in Endwell. Staff from the office for aging will work with the children of Broome County employees from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Priority is being given to children of parents who are essential employees. The County is also offering its services to children of healthcare workers. 

Broome County's buses continue to run, although they're now free to ride and have a very different seating configuration. BC Transit went fareless and is now asking passengers to board and exit from the rear door. That will keep riders and drivers from being in close proximity to one another and reduce the need to touch cash and the fare box. 

Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss and County Health Department Director Pete Buzzetti held a livestreamed press conference and Q&A session about the COVID-19 coronavirus. The presentation was livestreamed on the county's website. Public questions can be submitted by emailing communications@chemungcountyny.gov. 

Finger Lakes 

The Orleans County Economic Development Agency is committed to assisting local business owners and new entrepreneurs impacted from restrictions imposed on our community due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The agency will release local, state, and federal business assistance information as it becomes available and is vetted by the OEDA office. 

Yates County officials are taking aggressive efforts to combat COVID-19, including proactively creating a task force. Members of the task force include the County's sheriff, treasurer, public health director, deputy public health director, director of the emergency management office, information technology director, personnel director, deputy highway superintendent, buildings and grounds supervisor, and the vice president of community services for Finger Lakes Health. 

Western New York 

 The County announced the launch of CHQbuylocal.com, a website where people can find a list of open businesses (for takeout or delivery) in Chautauqua County. Any restaurant or essential service business that is not currently included in the searchable list can sign up to participate. 

Allegany County has established a partial stand up of an emergency operations center to address the ever-changing issues related to the coronavirus epidemic. The county's Department of Health has established a hotline, (585) 268-9700, that will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. 

CCIDA Emergency Working Capital Loan Program 
In response to the COVID-19 crisis and the impact it is having on businesses throughout Chautauqua County, the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) is providing low-interest loans not to exceed $10,000 to businesses throughout Chautauqua County. This emergency funding can be used for working capital needs, and the normal application and securitization requirements are being relaxed. While these emergency loans are to be paid back in their entirety, they will be interest-only for a minimum of three months, and leniency is being exercised in terms of normal collateral requirements. 

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