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County reports 12th virus death

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HUDSON—Twelve Columbia County residents have now died of the coronavirus as of April 20.

County Department of Health (DOH) Director Jack Mabb told The Columbia Paper by email the evening of April 20, “We have 12 county residents who have died from Covid: Nine are Pine Haven residents and three are from the community. We lost two Pine Haven residents this weekend. We also record another death of an individual who worked in the county but lived elsewhere.”

While the non-county resident’s death is part of the record, that person is not included in the Columbia County total, Mr. Mabb explained in a subsequent phone call.

The county’s April 20 Covid-19 update press release erroneously stated that all 12 Columbia County deaths were at the Pine Home.

“The community should know that we continue to closely monitor the situation at Pine Haven, to the extent that, while we have limited testing kits, we consider nursing homes within the county to be a priority,” Mr. Mabb said in the county’s April 20 release. “If a doctor determines that someone needs to be tested, we will test them.”

The DOH director explained that while the County DOH has no jurisdiction over the operation of private nursing homes, “These are county residents and we will do all we can to try to keep them safe. I will say that Pine Haven has done an excellent job of getting its residents tested, and an excellent job of containing the virus.”

In addition to the total number of cases (12), the county DOH’s April 20 daily report on Covid-19 activity here as of 2 p.m. reported 120 positive cases of Covid-19; 54 of the 120 cases have recovered from Covid-19; 9 of the positive cases are hospitalized, 3 of those are in the ICU; 912 test results have been completed for Columbia County residents; 118 residents are under mandatory quarantine and 14 under precautionary quarantine. There are 2 residents with suspected, not tested cases.

The DOH report went on to say:

“The data we share pertains to individuals who have positive cases of Covid-19 confirmed by test results (aside from the suspected, not tested).

“The information we get comes from an NYSDOH database that distributes test results for residents to counties based on their address provided at time of testing. This means that results of Columbia County residents who get tested outside of the county and other county residents who get tested here all reach the Department of Health of their home county through the NYSDOH database.

“Additionally, those deemed “recovered” are residents who have tested positive, have endured their required isolation and are well enough to end their isolation,” said the health department website (www.columbiacountynyhealth.com/home/coronavirus-covid-19/)

Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell is establishing a committee to help determine what needs local businesses will have when they are given the okay by New York State to begin re-opening, according to the chairman’s April 20 Covid-19 update press release.

Michael Tucker, president and CEO of the Columbia Economic Development Corporation, and Jeff Hunt, president and CEO of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, have agreed to co-chair the committee, to be known as Columbia County Business Moving Forward Together, Mr. Murell said in the release.

Also asked to serve by the chairman are Germantown Town Supervisor and chair of the County Economic Development committee Rob Beaury; Austerlitz Town Supervisor, chair of the Health and Human Services committee and a restaurant owner Rob Lagonia; and New Lebanon Town Supervisor and

Economic Development committee member Tistrya Houghtling. Mr. Murell will also ask four or five business people to join the committee. “We will definitely need their perspective. We will be looking at such things as how county businesses have been affected, what businesses will need assistance, and what they might need to return to business. I think it’s important, in this unique time, to get ahead of these and other business-related issues as we look ahead to when the state allows business to begin re-opening.”

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.

To contact Diane Valden email dvalden@columbiapaper.com

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