Coronavirus: FAQs and New Visitor Policy

United Way has established the Dutchess Orange Community Strong Fund for families impacted by COVID-19. For more information, click here. 

United Way is compiling a list of community resources available for families during the COVID-19 crisis.

During the COVID-19 crisis, United Way's offices are closed to visitors. Please email

The continued impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) within our region reminds us of our collective responsibility to our families, colleagues, neighbors and all community members.  As an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of our community, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and taking steps to minimize the impact of an outbreak.

Be Informed: You can call United Way’s 2-1-1 confidential free helpline 24/7 with non-emergency questions or concerns about COVID-19. This service is free with translators available. 

We encourage everyone to read the recommendations from the New York State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection for yourselves and others. 

Additionally, Dutchess and Orange County Governments have information posted on their website and are providing updates as necessary. For information specific to your county, please utilize the relevant link below: 

Am I likely to become infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19)? The risk depends on where you are - and more specifically, whether there is a COVID-19 outbreak unfolding there. For most people in most locations the risk of catching COVID-19 is still low. However, there are now places around the world (cities or areas) where the disease is spreading. For people living in, or visiting, these areas the risk of catching COVID-19 is higher. If widespread cases were to occur in our area, most people are likely to experience mild to moderate disease with full recovery. In addition to staying informed, you can reduce your risk of becoming infected by taking proper prevention measures similar to what is recommended to avoid the common cold and flu.

What is a coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause either mild illness, such as a cold, or can make people sick with pneumonia.

What is a novel coronavirus? A novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. Multiple cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S. and New York State and it is expected that more cases of COVID-19 will be identified in the future. For the most recent case information, visit the CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary webpage.

How is COVID-19 spread? Many of the initial patients with COVID-19 in China had links to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, cases being reported at this time have been occurring through person-to-person spread. The virus is thought to spread mainly:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? The most common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, an infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

What should I do if I (or someone I know) traveled to an area where COVID-19 is spreading? Anyone who has traveled to a CDC Level 3 destination (one that is experiencing widespread sustained transmission of COVID-19) should self-quarantine at home for 14 days following their return. For the most recent travel alerts, visit the CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel webpage. You should monitor your symptoms and call your health care provider if you feel sick with fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing. If you need to go to your doctor’s office or an emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. The same precautions should be taken if you have been in close contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19. You should also avoid contact with others.

Who can be tested for COVID-19? New York State is now able to perform testing for COVID-19. All testing performed on patients in our area must be approved by the respective County's Department of Health. The CDC has developed specific criteria for who can be tested for COVID-19. As the situation evolves, the criteria may change. For the most current testing criteria, visit the CDC Evaluating and Reporting Persons Under Investigation (PUI) webpage.

Is there a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19? There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. There is also no specific treatment for COVID-19 disease at this time. However, most people will recover on their own after resting and drinking plenty of fluids. 

What can I do to protect myself? You should go about your daily life, but take the same precautions that you would during cold and flu season:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap water area are not available. (Here's a way to make this fun for kids: link to wash your lyrics)
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue (not your hands), then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a cleaning product that contains bleach.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue (not your hands), then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Will wearing a surgical mask protect me from COVID-19? Surgical masks do not protect the person wearing the mask from infection with COVID-19. Surgical masks should only be worn by people showing symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of disease to others. In addition, N95 respirator masks are not recommended for the general public and should only be worn by health care workers who have been properly fitted for them

Should I travel during the COVID-19 outbreak? If you are planning to travel, visit the CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel webpage for the latest travel advisories related to COVID-19.

State of Emergency Declared in New York State: new visitor policy, but we are monitoring the situation closely.

More information 

UNITED WE WINOur community is stronger when we LIVE UNITED, and together we can support each other through the challenges and implications of a COVID-19 outbreak.


Annual Sponsors

Premier Annual Sponsors: Central Hudson Gas & Electric, M&T Bank, Orange & Rockland, Pratt & WhitneyAnnual Sponsors: IBM, Resorts World, RBT, TD Bank, Ulster Savings