New City – County legislators held a special session Tuesday to obtain updates on the impacts of COVID-19 on Rockland, including the implications for public health, and the impact on the local economy from the drop off in Chinese tourism.
“Worldwide, this virus is impacting just about everything and it’s important we do our best to stay on top of it and the changes and challenges it may bring,” Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder said.
Wieder, who chairs the Public Safety Committee and sought the update, noted that many residents are nervous about the virus and how it will impact them.
Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Ruppert stressed that there have been no positive COVID-19 cases in Rockland County. A total of 26 people were in self-isolation and monitored by the Heath Department, but only two people continue to await clearance, she said.
Legislators voted to conduct a Committee of the Whole session to be able to receive the updates and to ask questions about the virus, its impact so far, and what contingency plans were in place.
Rockland County’s Director of Economic Development and Tourism, Jeremy Schulman, said the county has completely paused its efforts at promoting the county as a destination for Chinese tourists.
Schulman had previously informed legislators that he was monitoring the virus and its impacts in China, but on Tuesday, said the county program had been paused.
The Rockland County Health Department is in frequent contact with the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, as well as the New York State Department of Health, to stay up to date regarding all information concerning the virus.
County residents and businesses could possibly face disruptions depending on the severity of the virus’ impact in Rockland, including school and work closures and the need to teach or work via the internet, as well as the cancellation or rescheduling of public gatherings, according to the Health Department.
“Whatever actions may become necessary to fight this virus, it’s extremely important that no community feels it is being targeted if, and more likely it’s when, the coronavirus impacts Rockland,” Legislator Wieder said.
To help fight the spread of the virus, experts stress that frequent handwashing is important, that people should cough and sneeze into a tissue or their sleeve, not their hands, and should stay home when they are sick.
More information about COVID-19 is available on the Rockland County Health Department’s website:http://rocklandgov.com/departments/health/coronavirus-covid-19/
The public can call the 2019 Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily to speak with a New York State Health Department expert who will answer general questions. After hours, please leave a voicemail message that will be returned.