Coronavirus roundtable to be held Friday in Orange County

Goshen. Twenty two cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in New York State as of Thursday, March 5. Orange County’s health commissioner, Dr. Irina Gelman, said the county is "working on risk mitigating strategies for residents.” County Executive Steven Neuhaus has announced a press conference with U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney to be held Friday afternoon.

Goshen /
| 05 Mar 2020 | 02:23

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, and other officials will provide a status update on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Orange County Health Department announced last week that it is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health to prepare for local cases of COVID-19, a new virus that can cause severe acute respiratory illness.

Twenty two cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in New York State as of Thursday, March 5, according to the department of health. The first case was reported on Sunday, March 1.

Three of the cases confirmed so far are located in New York City, 18 are in Westchester County, and one is in Nassau County on Long Island. New Jersey on Thursday announced its first confirmed case today in Fort Lee, across the Hudson from New York City. Many Orange County residents commute to these places for work.

The health department reports today that 34 tests are pending, with 122 more people under investigation.

Orange County’s health commissioner, Dr. Irina Gelman, said last week, “Our planning efforts in respect to COVID-19 have been ongoing for months, and the county’s health department, in conjunction with the Office of Emergency Management and community partners, are working on risk mitigating strategies for residents.”

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China last year. COVID-19 is spreading from person to person in China, and limited spread among close contacts has been detected in some countries outside China, including the U.S. On Tuesday, the CDC noted an escalated potential for community spread in the United States.

Gelman says that, while Orange County residents are focused on the possible risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the flu poses a direct and immediate risk. Both are respiratory illnesses, so the basics of personal hygiene prevention practices are the same. It is important to wash hands often, stay home when sick, and cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing by using the elbow or a tissue. If you have not done so, there is still time to get the flu vaccine.

This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation, Gelman said. For general questions, the public may contact the New York State Department of Health 2019 Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 to speak with an expert who will answer questions from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. After hours, voicemail messages will be returned the following business day.

If you are an Orange County resident and have recently traveled outside the U.S. and have questions regarding COVID-19, call the Orange County Department of Health at 845-291-2330. If you are experiencing symptoms, call your medical provider immediately.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law on Tuesday that expands his emergency management authority to deal with the outbreak. State lawmakers passed a Cuomo-backed bill Wednesday night to give the health department $40 million for coronavirus preparations.

For the most up to date information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website at

Stay safe
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.