February 5, 2021 Update

Chairman’s press release


Columbia County has experienced its first case of the UK variant of the coronavirus, said Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb on Friday. Director Mabb said the UK variant was discovered in a Chatham woman. Contact tracing efforts around her uncovered five other positive cases — Albany’s Wadsworth Laboratory is working to determine if they are also the UK variant, which is identified through DNA. The UK variant is currently understood to be more contagious than the coronavirus strain to which we have become accustomed, yet manifests itself in the same way. The current vaccines do work against the variant, Director Mabb said.


To ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to access a Columbia County Department of Health vaccine POD registration link, the time of day that the vaccine POD appointment registration link is posted has changed. Under normal circumstances, when vaccine supply is received as expected, new POD appointment registration links will now be posted each week on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings between 5 and 6 p.m. The Columbia County Department of Health website is located at https://www.columbiacountynyhealth.com


Pharmacy currently has open vaccine appointments for Ages 65+,teachers K-12, daycare and preschool workers, and staff, said Columbia County Health & Human Services Committee Chairman Rob Lagonia on Friday, based on information he had gleaned from the CVS website. Those who are experiencing difficulties with vaccine signup are advised to contact the county vaccine call center at 518-697-5560. The line is active Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


On Thursday, the Columbia County Department of Health recorded eight new cases of COVID-19 among county residents, with 12 reported as of midday Friday.  Ten individuals are currently hospitalized, and one is in the ICU. A death brings to 88 the total of county residents who have died as a result of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. As of Friday, 3,587 county residents have been infected with the coronavirus – there are currently 74 active cases, and 227 are on mandatory quarantine. “That’s still a big number that needs to be called by the department every day,” said county DOH Director Jack Mabb.

ADVISORY: Please note that the numbers distributed in Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell’s coronavirus press releases are morning results provided to the county Department of Health via the state reporting system. Updated numbers are issued again by the state in the afternoon, ordinarily past the time this press release is distributed. Consequently, there may be discrepancies in the numbers that appear here versus the final daily numbers shown on the DOH website and elsewhere.


On Saturday, March 6, New York State has scheduled a pop-up vaccination clinic designed for the minority and underserved community. These individuals may not be aware of their vaccine options or have no way of traveling to a vaccine site, said clinic organizer Bill Hughes. Community leaders are calling individuals from lists such sources as the 1199 census tract, which identifies Hudson’s 2nd Ward and part of the 4th Ward as the poorer locations in the city, Hughes explained. The pop-up clinic is open to those 65 and over. Those who wish to participate are advised to contact their county supervisor or Bill Hughes. “Our intention is to saturate the 2nd Ward with calls, then move on to the 4th. You don’t want people not getting the shot because they don’t know about it,” said Hughes. “Covid impacted communities of color at a much higher rate, and it exposed the inequalities that have existed in our nation’s health care system for decades,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo. “From day one we have made the fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine a top priority, but two issues still exist, especially in our Black and Brown communities: accessibility and skepticism. These pop-up sites allow us to work with the local leaders and trusted voices in those communities that were hit the hardest by Covid.” This is a New York State-sponsored event, supported by Columbia County and the City of Hudson. New York State is providing the vaccine doses out of its supply, not as part of Columbia County’s regular allotment. Initially, when Hughes realized this need was not being met locally, he reached out to the governor’s office, which said the state could do it. After researching several locations, the Hudson Firehouse at 77 North 7th Street was approved by Mayor Kamal Johnson as the clinic site – the City of Hudson will also provide the necessary workers. At the same time, it was determined that the Columbia County Department of Health would provide the vaccinators. The county Office for the Aging will provide transportation, with buses to be stationed in front of Hudson Terrace and Bliss Towers. “This is a total nonpartisan effort,” said Hughes. “This virus doesn’t care about anyone’s politics. I thank Chairman Murell, Mayor Johnson, and everyone else who has had a hand in making this happen.


The Columbia County Department of Health has introduced a dedicated telephone number for those inquiring on their vaccination eligibility: 518-697-5560. The line is active Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This phone line provides general info about vaccine availability in Columbia County. It does not determine eligibility for the vaccine. To check on vaccination distribution procedures and other vaccine-related information, residents may to consult the New York State Department website at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov The Columbia County Department of Health does not have the authority to define vaccination categories.

CORONAVIRUS TESTING SITES (as of 1-8-2021) New York Testing Sites by appointment only at 888-364-3065 or to find a location visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you; WellNow Urgent Care, 446 Fairview Avenue, Hudson. 518-267-3496. May be out-of-pocket costs; Columbia County Department of Health, 518-828-3358. Check www.columbiacountynyhealth.com for scheduled walk-up and drive-thru clinics; Greene County Department of Health, by appointment only on Wednesdays from 5-6:30 p.m., 518-719-3600.. Also, Community Care Physicians, Latham. 518-863-3600. 12-7 p.m.; Priority 1 Urgent Care, Guilderland, 518- 867-8040; Whitney Young, Albany, 518-465-4771; Rite Aid, Colonie, 518-267-3496; CareMount Medical Urgent Care, Rhinebeck, 844-484-6564; CVS-Valatie, 518- 758-2200; CVS-Red Hook, 845-758-9612. Also, Central Med Urgent Care, 1662 Central Avenue, Albany, 518-240-1456, bills insurance; Walgreens Rapid Testing, 41 Holland Avenue, Albany, 518-426, 2976. EmUrgentCare locations offer COVID-19 tests for patients without symptoms at the following locations: 98 Wolf Rd., Albany; 11835 US-9W, West Coxsackie; 2976 US-9W, Saugerties; 5 New Karner Rd., Guilderland. The telephone number for all locations is 518-264-9000. Check for out-of-pocket costs. Price Chopper test locations with testing hours from 7-9 a.m. on Tuesdays: Chatham, Clifton Park, Latham, Troy, Wilton. Other Price Chopper locations and times: Ft. Edward, Tuesday, 7-10 a.m.; Glenmont, Wednesday, 7-10 a.m.; Johnstown, Tuesday, 7-11 a.m.; and Schenectady, Wednesday, 12-2 p.m. Pine Plains Pharmacy: 2965 Church Street, Pine Plains, 518-398-5588. Monday-Saturday by appointment only.


LabCorp currently offers an at-home COVID-19 test at https://www.pixel.labcorp.com/at-home-test-kits/covid19-test-home-collection-kit This test does not detect antibodies or immunity. It is designed to determine active infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. After completing a short eligibility survey, choose a billing option, which can be through personal insurance, the use of federal funds to cover the cost of this test on your behalf if you’re uninsured, or with a credit card. The test kit will arrive via FedEx. After collecting and returning your sample, the average time to deliver results is one-two days from when your sample is received at the lab, according to LabCorp.


The flu vaccine will be offered by appointment only at the regularly scheduled immunization clinic every Tuesday from 1-3:30 p.m. at Columbia County Department of Health at 325 Columbia Street, Hudson. An evening immunization clinic is also available on the third Tuesday of each month from 4-6 p.m. All clinics are by appointment only. The flu vaccine is the best protection we have from the flu and its complication, and has become even more critical in the time of COVID-19. Talk to your doctor before getting the flu shot if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction to eggs or a previous flu shot, or have a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The DOH accepts the following insurance plans: Blue Shield of North East New York, CDPHP, Fidelis, Medicare Part B, MVP, Medicaid, and United Health Care. Other senior plans may be billed, including some Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. If you are uninsured or underinsured, you may be eligible for a lower fee or no fee for the flu vaccine. All others are expected to pay a fee of $42 for the flu vaccine, with the exact cash amount or checks accepted. Debit or credit cards are not accepted.


Masks: Those wishing to donate cloth masks to the county stockpile may contact the county Emergency Management office at 518-828-1212 or [email protected] Or Supervisor Rob Lagonia at [email protected] Monetary: Monetary donations intended for the purchase of coronavirus testing kits and much-needed equipment for emergency responders, medical personnel, and others on the front lines of the coronavirus fight are advised to send a check in care of Columbia County, with coronavirus noted in the memo field. The check can be sent to the Columbia County Controller’s Office, 401 State Street, Hudson, NY 12534. All money received is being placed in a dedicated account. PPE: Those wishing to make donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, face shields, and gowns, are advised to contact the Emergency Management Office at 518-828-1212. Food: Donations should be directed to the county Office for the Aging (518-828-4258) and local food pantries.

DISCLAIMER It is the county’s intention to issue accurate information regarding the coronavirus situation under conditions that can change by the minute. For the most up-to-date, accurate information, visit the County Department of Health’s website at https://www.columbiacountynyhealth.com or their Facebook page @: https://www.facebook.com/Columbia-County-Department-of-Health-469399129790791. The state’s coronavirus website, with up-to-the-minute information, can be located at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the county will issue a press release on the coronavirus situation at 4 p.m. The releases can be found on the Columbia County website and the Facebook pages of the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Health, and the Emergency Management Office.

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