70 residents, 20 staff at Barnwell test positive for virus


HUDSON—“Seventy residents at The Grand at Barnwell have tested positive for COVID-19 as of this afternoon,” Columbia County Department of Health (DOH) Director Jack Mabb said in the county-issued Covid-19 update press release Tuesday, May 5. “That’s one-third of the current resident population of 216.” More than 20 staff have also tested positive at this point, Mr. Mabb added. The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell is located at 3230 Church Street, Valatie.

May 1, the county DOH reported 37 positive Covid-19 cases at Barnwell and just 7 Barnwell residents were reportedly positive April 28.

“Barnwell has been doing everything they can to mitigate this—they have been very responsive. They’ve taken the situation seriously and been aggressive with testing. I also feel good that the state has sent down a team to help with the testing. It’s a real chore to perform this many tests,” Director Mabb said in the release.

The testing process continues at Barnwell, with all residents and staff to be tested.

County-wide as of May 5 at 3 p.m.,16 Columbia County residents have died as a result of Covid-19; the county has 260 positive cases of the virus; 107 of the 260 cases have recovered; 9 of the positive cases are hospitalized, 3 of those hospitalized are in the ICU. The county DOH has received 1,719 completed test results for Columbia County residents; 180 residents are under mandatory quarantine and 22 under precautionary quarantine.

As of Tuesday morning, 58 testing slots remained open for the drive-through testing clinic scheduled for this Friday, May 8 at Columbia-Greene Community College, 4400 Route 23, Greenport. The plan is to conduct 100 tests on that day and so far 42 individuals had registered for the DOH/Columbia Memorial Health clinic, Mr. Mabb said in the release. “I would encourage those who have not yet signed up to do so.”

Priority for testing will be given to people who meet the following criteria: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, and any symptoms consistent with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

Residents that meet the criteria for testing are asked to fill out the online screening form at https://forms.gle/afxfrFaDkrV7m1DF6. Once completed, the form will be evaluated by county DOH staff and residents will be prioritized for testing. CCDOH staff will call residents who qualify for testing and provide them with their appointment time and PIN number. The PIN number and a form of identification must be presented at the testing site. Residents being tested will stay in their vehicle at all times. Two registrants per car will be permitted.

The testing site will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. by appointment only. Law enforcement will be on hand to manage and direct traffic flow. Anyone coming to the site without an appointment will be instructed to leave the parking lot immediately.

The office of the Columbia County Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is closed, yet “services are available on a limited basis,” County Clerk Holly Tanner said in the May 5 release.

Those who need to conduct business with the county DMV should visit the department’s webpage on the Columbia County website: https://sites.google.com/a/columbiacountyny.com/columbia-county-clerk/ or visit Ms. Tanner’s Facebook page at Holly Tanner, Columbia County Clerk/DMV, for additional information. Until further notice, driver’s license and automobile registration renewals are suspended, along with automobile inspections, she said.

Anyone who wants to donate 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 there is no answer, 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 pantries.

Monetary donations for the purchase of much-needed equipment for emergency responders, medical personnel and others on the front lines of the coronavirus fight can be sent via check in care of Columbia County, with coronavirus noted in the memo field. Mail the check to the Columbia County Controller’s Office, 401 State Street, Hudson 12534. All money received is being placed in a dedicated account.

A hotline has been established for the elderly and vulnerable in the county, including those with medical conditions or who are disabled and would welcome a deputy checking on their well-being on a daily basis. The number for the hotline is 518-828-0601 X 1400.

For the most up-to-date, accurate information visit the County Department of Health’s website at https://www.columbiacountynyhealth.com/home/coronavirus-covid-19 or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Columbia-County-Department-of-Health-469399129790791/. The state’s coronavirus website, with up-to-the-minute information, can be found at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.

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