County Executive Ryan and Commissioner of Health Dr. Carol Smith Announce New Developments Related to COVID-19

Posted March 12, 2020

County Executive Ryan declares State of Emergency

County Executive Ryan announces the formation of a Health and Safety Task Force to help advise the County’s response to COVID-19

Two additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in connection to previous cases

Starting Monday, the County will be limiting access to County operated public spaces including the DMV and DSS 

KINGSTON, N.Y. - Ulster County Executive Patrick K. Ryan announced today that he has declared a State of Emergency and that he is suspending in-person County services for a two-week period to commence on Monday, March 16th. This morning, two additional Ulster County residents received positive test results for COVID-19. Both individuals were connected to the previously announced cases in the towns of Rochester and Shawangunk. This brings the total number of cases in Ulster County to four. 

“I have directed a series of immediate actions to bolster our response to the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus in Ulster County,” said County Executive Pat Ryan. “My top priority remains ensuring the health and safety of all of our residents, and these measures will provide additional safeguards for everyone. As the situation develops, we will continue to lean forward and take proactive steps informed by real-time data and the advice of our team of public health experts.”

“Our response here in Ulster County is informed by what our team of public health nurses are seeing on the ground as well as what we are learning from the response of other governments and institutions around the country and the world,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Carol Smith. “In close coordination with the NYS Department of Health, we are using best practices and regularly updating our public guidance to ensure we keep everyone in the county safe and healthy.” 

Additionally, in response to these new developments, County Executive Ryan has announced the formation of an Executive’s Health and Safety Task Force to advise the County Executive on issues regarding containment and mitigation issues surrounding COVID-19. Further, the Ulster County Department of Health has released new guidance related to public events, spaces, and large gatherings. 

  • Per guidance from New York State and the Ulster County Department of Health, which directs that one of the most effective ways to combat the spread of the virus is to limit public gatherings, County Executive Ryan announced new precautions to limit large gatherings and public events: The Ulster County Department of Health is strongly recommending all non-essential indoor events be canceled or postponed for at least the next 14 days. In particular, events with 50 or more expected attendees pose the greatest public health risk.
  • This includes the recommendation, after extensive consultation with Mayor Steve Noble and event organizers, to postpone Kingston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, Shamrock Run, and other festivities. 

Starting Monday, March 16th, the County will limit access to public offices and locations for at least the next 14 days, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Social Services, Office for the Aging, Veteran Services Agency, and the Office of Employment and Training. The County will be rolling out phone and online options for residents to continue to receive all critical services. 

The County Executive announced the formation of the Ulster County Executive’s Health and Safety Task Force consisting of medical and emergency response experts. The following individuals will be serving on the Task Force:

  • Dr. Michael Doyle, MD, MBA, CPE, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, which includes Kingston’s hospitals. He has served in leadership roles at civilian and military hospitals worldwide including recently as Deputy Commander of the Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point, Associate Medical Director for St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie.
  • Dr. Mark Tack, DO, a partner of the Medical Associates of the Hudson Valley, specializes in infectious diseases and internal medicine. He graduated from the New York College Of Osteopathic Medicine. He is Chairman of the Infectious Diseases Department at HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston and former Chair of the Ulster County Board of Health
  • Steve Kelley, Chief Executive Officer of the Ellenville Regional Hospital. Mr. Kelley holds an MBA in Health Systems Management, is president of the Catskill-Hudson Area Health Education Center (CHAHEC), past Chair of The Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State/Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association (NorMet), and a member of the New York State Rural Health Council.
  • Dr. Carol Smith, MD, MPH, Commissioner of the Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health is a member of the New York State Association of County Health Officials, the National Association of City and County Health Officials, the New York State Conference of Local Mental Health Directors, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. She is the recipient of the National Association of City and County Health Officials and the Robert Wood Johnson/deBeaumont Foundation Fellowship Award for new Public Health Officials.
  • Steven J. Peterson, Director of the Ulster County Department of Emergency Services, Peterson previously served as Deputy Director of the Department of Emergency Communications/Emergency Management before being appointed as the Director in 2014. Steven Peterson is a 36 year member of the Rifton Fire Department and has served as its chief the last 10 years. He was recognized as the New York State Emergency Dispatcher of the Year in 2003 and is certified by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services as an Emergency Manager.