FAQs

 

People can donate blood for the State convalescent plasma program by registering online here.

 

New CDC guidance indicates that community transmission of COVID-19 can occur when people are asymptomatic.  Therefore, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.  The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Effective April 15, 2020, employees of essential businesses will be required to wear face masks when they are in direct contact with customers/members of the public and requires employers, at their expense, to provide face masks to all employees. Enforcement of this order can be done by local government or local law enforcement under Public Health Law section 12 or 12-b.

Effective April 17, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order requiring all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, such as on public transportation goes into effect.

People can make their own masks using sew and no-sew directions, which can be found here.

If people are having trouble coping, need practical support, or just need to talk things through, Family of Woodstock has a 24/7 hotline. Call or text 845-679-2485 for more information and support.

NYS has set up a COVID Mental Health Hotline, staffed by over 6,000 MH professionals, where people can access online or telephone therapy to cope with the stress and anxiety of isolation. Call 844-863-9314.

It may take 10 days or more to get your test results back. Your ordering health care provider will notify you of the results. Only call your health care provider if you have not heard back in seven days.

The only documentation currently being provided by the Ulster County Department of Health (DOH) are mandatory quarantine orders, which are provided in writing. If the person is scheduled to receive written orders, they will be contacted by DOH.

If the DOH determines that an individual can be released from quarantine, that release will be delivered verbally via phone call. If documentation is required, it will be emailed.

Employers may accept a letter from a primary care physician indicating an employee’s need to self-quarantine. For employees looking to apply for Paid Leave, a doctor’s letter attesting to a patient having met the State’s criteria is required.  The COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Hotline is available at 844-337-6303.

Yes! The Ulster County COVID-19 Hotline has an initial call menu in Spanish as well as Hotline Agents who speak Spanish.  When these Agents are not available (on another call or after hours), the Hotline will accept a voice mail and a Spanish-speaking Agent will return the call as soon as they’re available.

County Executive Pat Ryan has created a new unit to exclusively review tenant complaints related to COVID-19. The COVID-19 Tenant Protection Unit, staffed by members of the Ulster County Public Defender’s Office, will assure that tenants’ rights are being protected through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “New York on Pause” order, which put all commercial or residential eviction under a 90-day moratorium.  The COVID-19 Tenant Protection Unit will serve as a liaison between the tenant and appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction, the State Attorney General, building inspectors and landlords, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, and other government resources to help protect tenants from illegal evictions. To make a tenant complaint, call 845-303-5503 or please visit the online form.

Visit the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office website for help with emergencies which need 24 hour response. (Eg. if someone is evicted, kicked out of apartment because of COVID)

For non-emergencies, first read the lease to find relevant sections. Second, have a productive conversation with the landlord and negotiate agreeable terms. (Suggest that appraisals be pushed off for one month).

New York State’s moratorium on COVID-related evictions will be extended until August 20th with fees for missed or late rent payments banned during the moratorium.

Senator Jen Metzger’s office will also help with constituent advocacy issues as relate to the state bans on evictions and rent hikes. Residents of Rosendale, Gardiner, New Paltz, Warwarsing, Denning, and Shawangunk may call 845-344-3311.

Ulster County has three Mobile Test Sites for COVID-19 testing.  For more information visit: covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/mobile-testing

 

The primary indicators of COVID-19 are fever, shortness of breath, cough, history of travel to a highly affected area, or direct exposure to someone who has been diagnosed.  Secondary symptoms of COVID-19, like fatigue, body aches, cough, and worsening symptoms, could be the flu.

Ulster County has launched three mobile testing sites for diagnostic testing!  Find info on that here.

However, there’s not capacity to administer a COVID-19 test to everyone who thinks they need it, and it is not always necessary to test for COVID-19.  Ask your primary care provider if you need and meet the criteria for a test.

Anyone who is feeling ill should stay home to avoid the possibility of spreading infection. Avoid unnecessary contact with other household members if possible. Monitor your symptoms and, if you feel that you need medical assistance, reach out to your primary care doctor. If you do not have a primary care doctor, reach out to a local urgent care center or hospital. In case of a medical emergency, dial 911.

If your symptoms are severe, or if you have an underlying medical condition, such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or a compromised immune system, call your doctor to discuss the possibility of testing to rule out other possible viral infections, such as the flu.

Only in the event of a medical emergency should you attempt to visit the hospital, urgent care facility, or your doctor’s office. PLEASE CALL IN ADVANCE TO ASSESS WITH A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL BEFORE VISITING A MEDICAL FACILITY.

Hospitals and urgent care facilities are very busy dealing with patients who require urgent medical attention. COVID-19 is not considered life-threating for most patients. The best option for the time-being is to rest at home until 48 hours after your symptoms have passed.

The latest guidelines state that patients undergoing testing for COVID-19 should self-quarantine until they receive a COVID-19 test result.

HOWEVER, persons with a negative COVID-19 test result should CONTINUE TO SELF-QUARANTINE for 14 days after test sample was taken or last exposure.

If COVID-19 testing results are positive, medical providers are asked to notify the Ulster County Health Department via fax to 845-340-3162.

Per New York State guidance, Local Health Departments (LHDs)  must utilize the following definitions in determining whether or not to institute a mandatory or precautionary quarantine:

Mandatory Quarantine

  1. Person has been in close contact (6 ft.) with someone who is positive but is not displaying symptoms for COVID-19.
  2. Person has traveled to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea or Italy and is displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

Mandatory Isolation

  1. Person has tested positive for COVID-19, whether or not displaying symptoms for COVID-19.
  2. LHDs must immediately issue an order for Mandatory Quarantine or Isolation once notified, which shall be served on the person impacted.

Precautionary Quarantine– Person meets one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Has traveled to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea or Italy while COVID-19 was prevalent, but is not displaying symptoms.
  2. Proximate exposure to a positive person but has not had direct contact with a positive person and is not displaying symptoms.

Any person the Local Health Department believes should be quarantined that is not addressed through the interim guidelines, should contact the Department of Health.

For Persons who are self-quarantined awaiting test results, please remember that negative test results are considered a point-in-time test and do not predict future status. The Ulster County Commissioner of Health advises to continue to self-quarantine for the full 14 days after the last known exposure, travel, or test was taken.

Persons in contact with someone who was in contact with a COVID-19 patient are not subject to quarantine but should follow recommendations for social distancing. That includes household members who are asymptomatic and community members or co-workers who are asymptomatic.

For further clarification, please refer to your own doctor or to the State’s website or the NYS Coronavirus Hotline: 888-364-3065.

The County is updating the public through press releases, press conferences, telephone Town Halls with County Executive Pat Ryan, official County social media accounts, and interacting with the public directly through our COVID-19 Hotline at 845-443-8888. Please use these channels to stay up to date.

Please keep in mind that statements on unofficial social media accounts and discussion of rumors diverts resources that could be otherwise used for stemming the spread of COVID-19.

When the public health nurses at the Ulster County Department of Health learn of a positive case of COVID-19, that individual is placed under mandatory quarantine and asked to contact anyone they may have exposed to inform them of that risk. Those who have had direct exposure to a known positive should contact a medical provider, who will determine whether or not the individual should be tested.

Everyone is encouraged to self-quarantine if they have been exposed to a COVID + patient and, if symptoms develop, contact their medical provider.

In consultation with the Health Department and the Ulster County Health and Safety Advisory Task Force, and out of an abundance of caution, the Ulster County Executive directed the closure of all schools in Ulster County starting on Monday, March 16th, 2020.

Governor Cuomo extended an executive order directing all schools in New York to close, now through the remainder of the academic year.  The existing orders don’t apply to preschools, nursery schools, and day care.  Child care is considered to be an essential function, critical to enabling parents – especially our first responders, health care workers, and direct care workers to go to work.  Visit this link for more information.

Ulster County school districts are continuing their food programs for low-income families.  Please refer to your local school district here for more information.

According to the latest guidance from NYSED, when a student or staff member who attended school prior to being confirmed as a COVID-19 case, New York State Department of Health requires an initial 24-hour closure in order to disinfect the building and begin an investigation to determine the contacts that the individual may have had within the school environment.

Students and faculty returning from currently impacted countries or regions of impacted countries are required by the State Department of Health to be under precautionary quarantine for 14 days upon return. This includes school sponsored travel or individual travel (spring break).

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan has declared a State of Emergency.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Andrew Cuomo put New York on PAUSE. That means non-essential businesses are closed and gatherings of any size for any reason are canceled. All New Yorkers are directed to practice social distancing — by staying home and keeping six feet away from others when in public.  New York State parks are currently free to enter.

The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Effective April 17, 2020, Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order requires all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, such as on public transportation.

For the latest business updates please visit: covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/businesses

Small businesses can reach out to the County’s Office of Economic Development for Disaster Recovery Loans through the Small Business Administration. Call the Office of Economic Development at (845) 340-3556.

Congressman Antonio Delgado’s office can also help small businesses with federal aid programs. Call the Kingston Office at (845) 443-2930.

Governor Cuomo signed an executive order mandating businesses that rely on in-office personnel to decrease their in-office workforce by 100%.  Exemptions from the order will include shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production (including food market), pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions.  Find more info about essential businesses here.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. Procedures and supplies should be in place to encourage proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and to avoid close contact with people who are sick. Encourage people to stay home when they are sick. Employers may discuss opportunities for employees to work at home for a period of time.

In addition, the CDC recommends the following:  “If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The fellow employees should then self-monitor for symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath).”

Institutions and facilities should review and update their current emergency plans and procedures. This should include updating contact information and communicating with vendors who supply critical products or services to plan for continuation of those services throughout this situation. Critical services may include food service and hygiene supplies. This planning is especially important since suppliers could also be affected by COVID-19.

Due to privacy and confidentiality laws, the County will not disclose personally identifiable information regarding suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Agencies looking for masks and other resources must deplete their stock to an estimated 10-day supply and show that they are unable to re-supply through normal suppliers. If your agency needs specific supplies or resources, you can submit your request to the Ulster County Emergency Operations Center by email to eoc@co.ulster.ny.us.

To donate supplies, email covid19supplies@esd.ny.gov AND nys-midhudson@esd.ny.gov indicating what you can do, company name, contact person and info, and the critical supplies/equipment you think your company could produce and what you need to do this.

For individuals in need of prepared food delivery and grocery shopping assistance, please see our Project Resilience page.

The County is limiting access to public offices and locations, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Social Services, Office for the Aging, Veteran Services Agency, and the Office of Employment and Training. For phone and online options, please see County Department Updates page.

For Service Updates for Probation and Pretrial Release Program, the Restorative Justice and Community Empowerment Center, Community Service, and the Crime Victims Assistance Program, and the Stop DWI program, see County Department Updates page.

The County’s public transit system, UCAT, has a procedure in place for regular disinfection of area buses to protect riders and County employees. There are current route adjustments, so please see County Department Updates page.

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced March 17 the formation of a new countywide effort – Project Resilience – to help direct the surge of support and goodwill towards those in need throughout the county. Project Resilience includes:

  • a community fund, in partnership with the United Way
  • an online portal for anyone in need to ask for help
  • a robust food distribution network
  • a partnership program for businesses and community groups to provide food and other critical services

To donate, request meal delivery and assistance, or to sign up as a participating business or service provider, fill out the corresponding forms on our website.

The best thing for people to do right now to help stem the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home, practice regular hand and respiratory hygiene, and isolate from other members of your household when sick.

County Executive Pat Ryan announced that the Ulster County Department of Health is now actively seeking doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to assist in the County’s response to COVID-19.  Find the form to volunteer here.

For companies interested in donating supplies, email covid19supplies@esd.ny.gov AND nys-midhudson@esd.ny.gov indicating what you can do, company name, contact person and info, and the critical supplies/equipment you think your company could produce and what you need to do this.

For individuals looking to donate or with meal delivery, see our Project Resilience page.

People can donate blood to the State convalescent plasma program by signing up online.

Because the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, it is recommended that people practice social distancing: maintain a 6-foot distance from each other when in group settings, stay home and avoid contact with others, and avoid group settings and public transportation when possible.

The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Effective April 17, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order requires all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, such as on public transportation.

NYS is increasing the maximum fine for violations of the State’s social distancing protocol to $1,000 to help address lack of adherence.

When healthy people practice social distancing (maintaining a 6-foot distance from others) for the incubation period of COVID-19 (currently thought to be 2-14 days), it reduces the number of people who can be directly exposed to Coronavirus. This allows County and health care resources to remain focused on providing guidance and assistance to people who need it. Staying home as much as possible, in alignment with the latest recommendations, helps us stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect people who are most vulnerable.

According to the CDC, not all patients with COVID-19 will require medical supportive care. Clinical management for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is focused on supportive care from complications. There are currently no antiviral drugs licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat COVID-19.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. People are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic (the sickest). That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. More recently the virus has also been detected in asymptomatic persons.

In December 2019, a new respiratory disease called Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) was detected in China. COVID-19 is caused by a virus (SARS-CoV-2) that is part of a large family of viruses called coronaviruses.

The U.S. reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on January 30, 2020. New York has now confirmed its first cases of person-to-person spread with this virus March 3, 2020.

While some individuals ill with the virus may be asymptomatic or have mild illness, older individuals, particularly those with underlying health conditions, have shown greater susceptibility to the virus and can experience more serious illness and outcomes.

The incubation period of the virus is currently thought to be between 2-14 days, so many recommendations are in alignment with that timeframe.

For the latest updates on New York State policies and mandates, please visit the State’s website.

For more about the virus, tracking, and to fact check what you’ve heard, read the latest CDC guidelines.