Sullivan County Health Director Does Not Want Camps to Open This Summer

NEW YORK -
Sullivan County Public Health Services Building. (sullivanny.us)

On a recent conference call, Sullivan County Public Health Director Nancy McGraw told local government leaders that based on the current coronavirus data, she recommends that summer camps in Sullivan County should not open this summer, the Sullivan Times reported.

“My recommendation up to this point is that we do not open given the current circumstances,” she said. McGraw said that the number of people currently sick and still quarantined has to come down before she thinks it would be safe to even considering them opening, “and introducing thousands of thousands of people into the county.”

The decision concerning camp opening will ultimately be determined by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Department of Health. New York State is still on pause till May 15, and no decisions have been announced concerning the exact schedule of unpausing the state.

County Manager Josh Potosek said on the call, “We kind of paused on that (of formally opposing camp openings). We are awaiting more guidance (from state).”

Town of Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Vegliante criticized the County for backing off a plan last week to send a letter to the governor opposing camp openings.

Vegliante has been vocal and adamant that the Town of Fallsburg won’t support any decision to open camps, due to the tremendous population increase it will bring with its opening.

“Fallsburg won’t stay quiet,” Vegliante said. “I will encourage people not to open. It will be a state decision and the County will either be helpful or not helpful. We’re not putting our kids and our staff at risk.”

Town of Callicoon Supervisor Tom Bose joined him, saying that although no camps exist in Callicoon, it would be a problem for the entire county. Bose said he thinks the County should take a position now.

Town of Bethel Supervisor Dan Sturm took an opposing position, saying he wanted to open the town’s summer camp. “That comes into our decision – making quite a bit. We want to open that camp for recreation and day care for people who need it and it provides summer jobs,” Sturm said. “That camp means a lot to us.”

A subsequent phone call is expected to happen on Thursday or Friday with all town supervisors, with the goal of gaining some kind of consensus if possible.

Both Senator Jen Metzger and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther are now on record stating it’s best to keep camps closed.

McGraw reported that this week when only seven of 43 people tested positive at the new mobile test site in Fallsburg that was set up on Monday.