Our County Administrator Carissa Knapp and I have signed documents that extend the State of Emergency Declaration for Allegany County as it pertains to COVID-19. This is a continuation of our original declaration of March 14. This was enacted under authority given in Section 24 of the New York State Executive Law. The original declaration which cannot exceed 30 days was extended on April 13, May 13, and June 12. This extension is good for another 30 days unless rescinded prior to that date.
Each of these extensions has not been taken lightly. We have been monitoring and reviewing the statistics for Allegany County, and that information has been shared on a daily basis by Press Release sent out from the Clerk of the Board as well as being posted on our County website. Along with the local numbers, we have been watching the Western New York Regional reports as shown on the Percentage of Positive Results Dashboard, Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard, as well as the Daily Hospitalization Summary for this Region which is available to the public by going to the Forward New York website (forward.ny.gov). We have had daily conference calls with Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and our counterparts from Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara Counties that make up the Western New York Region, along with the Governor’s team assigned to re-opening New York State.
Our Legislative Board Chambers have been utilized as the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center, operating daily until recently, with reports coming from our Health Department, Office for the Aging, Emergency Management & Fire, Sheriff’s Office, Department of Social Services, Community Services, our Administrative Team, and others. Our County Administrator has led these meetings, and our department heads have reported on the effects of COVID-19 to the County and those that they serve.
Conference calls facilitated by the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) with the leadership of all counties across New York State have been very beneficial. These calls have included key guests from the Governor on down since the start of this.
With the ongoing testing and positive cases still rising, many due to travelers from outside our County or residents visiting hot spots and returning, we feel it is prudent to continue the State of Emergency Declaration. We also have financial concerns for the operations of our County and the services we provide and are hopeful that relief will be provided beyond what we have seen thus far and feel that this declaration could assist in obtaining it.
Today represents the first time that this Board of Legislators has met for a regular Board Meeting in these Chambers since March 9. For 18 weeks we have operated under unusual circumstances. Employees have been periodically working from home to reduce contact, some have been furloughed, and although services have continued and in some cases such as our Home Delivered Meals Program, they have expanded to meet a crucial need, we still need to be vigilant and move ahead in a safe but steadfast manner. Even though the Board of Legislators are meeting in the Chambers today, we are adhering to social distancing by rearranging the desks, wearing a mask when it is needed, and limiting attendance to Department Heads and staff as needed.
I have mentioned the dedication of our Department Heads, staff, and volunteers many times since COVID-19 first began, and we will be highlighting some specifics at future meetings. Allegany County should be proud of the way we have adapted to this crisis. Let’s continue to keep ourselves, our family, our friends, and neighbors safe.
I would like to remind the public that the extension of this State of Emergency Declaration has no negative effect on the New York State Re-Opening Plan.
On behalf of this dedicated Board of Legislators, I thank you for your ongoing efforts.