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Posted on: March 10, 2020

Neuhaus takes steps to help County Departments address potential of Coronavirus

Orange County Seal

Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus has signed an Order authorizing emergency purchasing by County Human Service Departments to better enable them to secure goods and services to mitigate the potential of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Order will commence at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10th and terminate at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 15th unless renewed by County Executive Neuhaus. 

Neuhaus signed the declaration under Section 24 of the Executive Law declaring solely for purposes to make the acquisition of goods and services easier a “limited State of Emergency.” Neuhaus emphasized that the step was necessary solely to expedite the ability of key human service departments to secure equipment and services in an expedited fashion if necessary. As of Tuesday, there still are no reported COVID-19 cases in Orange County.

“As of now, we have not had a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Orange County,” Neuhaus said. “However, we do operate the Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation and the Office for the Aging, all of which deal with populations especially susceptible to COVID-19. While Orange County will not go on a buying spree, if we see these Departments along with our Department of Health in need of supplies associated with a COVID-19 response, we will purchase them.”

Neuhaus also cautioned people against unnecessary “binge buying” and illegal price gouging. 

“I have four children and I understand the desire to protect our families,” Neuhaus said. “Buy what you need for your own family, but we are all one community. Price gouging, as Governor Cuomo has noted, is illegal. If people become aware of price gouging in Orange County, I encourage them to notify the County Attorney’s Office at 845-291-3150.  I have authorized the County Attorney to commence litigation against any establishment engaging in price gouging.”

Governor Cuomo, this past Saturday similarly declared a State of Emergency to enable the State to similarly acquire goods and services and take other steps to protect the public at large. 

Dr. Irina Gelman, Orange County’s Commissioner of Health encouraged residents to take care of themselves and stay away from others if they are sick.

“The best way to stop Coronavirus from coming into Orange County or spreading if it arrives is to wash your hands regularly, avoid shaking hands, and to do your best to stay at least six feet away from others,” Gelman said. “We are in regular contact with Orange County’s major medical providers, the State, and the CDC.  I encourage people if they feel sick to call their doctor’s office before going there and to always call 911 in case of an emergency.”

Steve Brescia, Chairman of the Orange County Legislature, added: “The County Legislature fully backs the efforts of the County Executive, our Human Services Department heads and staff to do all we can to protect Orange County from Coronavirus.  We have excellent hospitals and healthcare provides across the County and I know together we can get through this challenge.” 

Orange County residents can follow Orange County Government on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/OrangeCountyGovernment and the Orange County Department of Health at www.Facebook.com/OCNYDOH for more information about COVID-19.

For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or jrodriguez@orangecountygov.com.

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