Operators of large regional businesses and mid-Hudson county leaders are seeking to reassure the public they’re addressing the threat of the coronavirus, following state officials’ Sunday announcement of New York’s first confirmed case.
Following the Manhattan woman’s diagnosis, local government and business leaders said on Monday they’re doing extra communicating, cleaning and monitoring as a result of the coronavirus. The virus causes the Covid-19 disease, a severe acute respiratory syndrome, which has swept the globe in recent months.
Meanwhile, representatives of Simon Property Group's Woodbury Common Premium Outlets continued to decline to speak publicly about the coronavirus.
Simon Property executives have long touted their property as a top attraction for tourists from China, the coronavirus’ country of origin. And the outlets’ customer attendants speak more than a dozen foreign languages to serve countless international visitors.
In 2018, Woodbury Common’s former marketing director told a Chinese business publication, “There are 13 million visitors to Woodbury every year, and a sizable portion of them are Chinese.”
Just one of several popular Chinese tourist tours to Woodbury Common has transported 20,000 Chinese shoppers to the outlets annually. Other local business leaders didn’t hesitate to say they’re tackling the coronavirus threat.
“I just got back from a trip to Vegas, and I was telling our staff that, `Per capita, I think we have more hand sanitizer than anywhere on the (Vegas) Strip,’ ” said Andrew Chafatelli, chief operating officer of Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland, one of Ulster County’s most popular resorts.
Resorts World Catskills casino is “maintaining rigorous cleaning and sanitation” standards, and carefully following safety guidance from federal, state and local health authorities, a spokesman for the Sullivan County casino said.
Sullivan County’s largest employer, the Center for Discovery, which serves developmentally disabled individuals, including those with complex conditions, said it has an “extensive pandemic plan.” And it’s communicating about the coronavirus with employees and clients’ families to handle any cases that might arise.
“As caretakers for the most vulnerable population, many of whom have compromised immune systems, we have to be especially vigilant at all times,” said Center spokesman Michael Rosen, who added that the Center is “taking extra precautions.”
Representatives of the Galleria at Crystal Run, a Town of Wallkill shopping mall, and the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, said they’re carefully cleaning their properties, closely following virus news and communicating with local health authorities.
Medline, America's largest private distributor and maker of medical supplies, which has a large Wawayanda warehouse, has warned customers of potential shortages of supplies such as face masks.
Like the other businesses, Medline has instructed employees to stay home if they're sick, to thoroughly and frequently wash hands, to use hand sanitizer, and to avoid touching their faces if their hands are dirty.
A leader at Crystal Run Healthcare, the mid-Hudson’s largest doctor practice, said the provider will identify patients and employees of interest (such as those with a fever, cough and shortness of breath) to inquire about their travel histories.
For potential cases, the practice plans to recommend face masks, while suggesting isolation as needed, using telemedicine, when possible, for home care, and informing local health departments.
Business owners “must make sure you have a communication plan in effect and consider human resources and staffing ramifications (if the virus spreads), while emphasizing washing hands and respiratory hygiene,” including sneezing into elbow crooks, said Dr. Gregory Spencer, Crystal Run’s chief medical officer.
Among local county governments’ virus responses, a Sullivan County spokesman said county leaders created an emergency task force of county leaders and an incident command center on Monday. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said his county will run an emergency preparedness exercise Tuesday.
Ryan also reiterated that the county has called for travelers who think they have come into contact with the virus to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days. And an Orange County spokesman said county officials continue to have regular emergency preparedness meetings.