At 10:00 a.m. Monday, 16 March 2020, Otsego County Board Chair David Bliss convened a meeting establishing a task force to address the impact of the recently declared State of Emergency relating to COVID 19. The presence of the virus in upstate New York has led to the closure of schools and will impact the business of the county in delivering and providing services to the residents of Otsego County.

The meeting included Department Heads across the range of county services. They are tasked with recommending and implementing procedures to allow the County to best assist and keep safe the county workforce in these challenging times, and how to best provide safe delivery of the services that the county provides. The meeting was held via conference call and video conferencing technology. The topics discussed included:

-Employee safety in the field- meeting state mandates and best practices. Limiting exposure at work

-Potential changes to work schedules and related labor issues

-Procurement of material necessary to allow for work to go on

-Information- establish a process to disburse information to the public in a clear and meaningful fashion

-Financial issues and planning

-Public Health-how to establish best practices and carry out the work necessary to keep the public safe and well informed

-Public Safety

County Treasurer Allen Ruffles will chair and coordinate the work of this task force to establish work groups to recommend and implement strategies to do the work of the county in a safe and productive way.

In the coming days, County leadership will be working with partners, both public and private, within the county to share information, provide support and work together to meet the task of keeping our residents safe and our services delivered in a uniquely challenging environment.

Decisions will be made in the best interests of our workforce and County residents. The County will be guided by protocols set forth by the New York State Department of Health and Center for Disease Control, which are subject to frequent updates and changes.