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Alternative graduations get green light


HUDSON—The New York State Department of Health and Governor Cuomo have announced guidance for alternative graduation celebrations for school districts to consider, according to the June 5 Columbia County-issued Covid-19 press release.

Provided the guidance is strictly followed, school districts are cleared to proceed with graduation.

The new guidance is contrary to the previous state approach, which called for a local committee composed of the county’s chief elected official, the county DOH director, and the county Emergency Management director to review and approve a school’s graduation plan.

In its announcement, the state provides extensive guidance for holding a virtual celebration or a celebration that maintains social distancing. The full state press release can be accessed at

Nothing in this guidance would prohibit delaying a graduation ceremony until later in the year, the county press release said.

Updated numbers

For a sixth day, the coronavirus death toll in Columbia County remains at 34 residents as of June 6 at 10 a.m., according to the Columbia County Department of Health (DOH) numbers update at

Of the deceased, 12 were residents of the Pine Haven Nursing Home in Philmont, 17 were residents of The Grand at Barnwell Nursing Center in Valatie, and 5 were community residents.

The DOH has received a total of 5,812 PCR test results with 400 confirmed positive cases.

There are currently 72 active cases of Covid-19 in Columbia County with 37 additional residents on mandatory quarantine and 10 residents on precautionary quarantine.

Of the total 400 cases, 294 cases have recovered from the virus; 16 of the positive cases are hospitalized, none of those hospitalized is in the ICU.

The DOH has received 1,574 antibody results, of which 148 were positive.

The following is a breakdown of total confirmed, positive cases of Covid-19 in Columbia County as of June 5: Ancram 7, Canaan 11, Chatham 18, Claverack 9, Clermont 4, Copake 19, Germantown 8, Ghent 19, Greenport 13, Hillsdale 12, Hudson 33, Kinderhook 41, Livingston 8, New Lebanon 4, Stockport 3, Stuyvesant 9, Livingston Hills 2, Pine Haven 38, The Grand at Barnwell 142.

Get tested

A coronavirus testing clinic open to everyone takes place at the Columbia County Fairgrounds, 142 Hudson Avenue (Route 66) in Chatham, Sunday, June 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Signup instructions and further instructions regarding the clinics can be found on the Health Department’s webpage on the Columbia County website or by calling 518-828-3358.

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