September 17, 2020 Update

Thursday, September 17, 2020



With Labor Day and chillier weather driving meetings of local agencies indoors, the Columbia County Health Department has recently seen an uptick in telephone calls seeking guidance on how to safely conduct in-person meetings.

“People are asking if it’s okay to be in a room with a group of people and not wear masks, provided they maintain six feet of social distancing,” said county DOH Director Jack Mabb on Thursday. “The short answer is no. Masks are the single most important weapon we have to avoid spreading the virus.”

“If you’re sitting in a room with a group of people for more than 10-15 minutes, droplets circulate – people are talking, someone coughs, someone sneezes, and let’s remember we’re also heading into flu season. Social distancing is important, but social distancing alone won’t eliminate the spread of potentially infectious droplets,” he said.

Director Mabb added that while the county recently experienced eight straight days without a positive test result being reported, “that hardly means we can get complacent with mask wearing and social distancing in any circumstance. For instance, today we had three positive test results, none tied to a specific situation, which tells us the virus continues to circulate. All you have to do is look around the country to see the human toll this virus continues to take on people of all ages.”


As of Wednesday, September 16, New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services (NYS DHSES) announced it has discontinued the distribution of free hand sanitizer to local municipalities, according to county Emergency Management Director David W. Harrison, Jr. Since March of this year, Columbia County Emergency Management has worked with NYS DHSES to either process delivery of, or directly distribute, approximately 6,592 one gallon bottles and 36,723 spray bottles of free hand sanitizer within our County


The Columbia County Health Department has announced a series of upcoming seasonal flu vaccine drive-thru clinics for all Columbia County residents two years old and up. Pre-registration is required for the date you wish to be vaccinated – failure to register ahead of time will mean you cannot be vaccinated on that date. Each individual must complete a registration form, and photo ID is required for each adult.

If you are sick with any symptoms associated with the flu or COVID-19 illness (fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, chills, new loss of taste or smell, or extreme headache), do not go to the drive thru clinic. Instead, call your primary care physician or the DOH at 518-828-3358 for further guidance.

Clinic registration can be completed by visiting the DOH website at and clicking on the link for the specific clinic you wish to attend. Those with internet access are advised to call the registration line at 518-828-3358 ext. 1310. Leave your name and phone number and a DOH staff member will contact you to complete your registration.

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.

The drive-thru clinic schedule is as follows:

 Wednesday, September 23, 9-11 a.m., Roe Joe Library, Route 22, Hillsdale.

 Wednesday, September 30, 9-11 a.m., Columbia County Fairgrounds, Chatham.

 Saturday, October 3, 9 a.m. – 12 noon, Columbia-Greene Community College upper parking lot, Hudson.

 Thursday, October 8, 9-11 a.m., Palatine Park, Germantown.

 Saturday, October 17, 9-11 a.m., Ichabod Crane Central School, Valatie,

 Thursday, October 22, 10 a.m. – 12 noon, New Lebanon Town Hall, New Lebanon.

The flu vaccine will also be offered by appointment only at the regularly scheduled immunization clinic every Tuesday from 1-3:30 p.m. at the county DOH building located 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.


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. If no one answers, leave a message and someone will return the call.

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 or their Facebook page @: The state’s coronavirus website, with up-to-the-minute information, can be located at

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