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DOH mulls how to conduct drive-through clinics

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State conducts covert antibody testing

HUDSON—With a delivery of Covid-19 testing kits to the Columbia County Department of Health on the way, Department Director Jack Mabb said in the county’s April 21 Covid-19 update press release that he and DOH staff continue to explore ways in which to best conduct the drive-through clinics the department plans to hold, along with whether these clinics should target a certain population segment.

Fifteen hundred of the 2,000 testing kits ordered are in the pipeline with the remaining 500 coming in a second order, according to the DOH. Once the tests kits are received, the county will begin organizing “by appointment only” drive-through clinics. Further information on the clinics will be announced when they are scheduled, Director Mabb said in the release.

Mr. Mabb said he is “excited about the opportunity to do more testing within the county.” He recognized that more testing will bring its own challenges. When testing does indeed happen on a larger scale, he expects the current number of 123 in-county positive cases “to increase. How do we handle the influx of positive cases, which will come under mandatory isolation, that will come with increased testing? This is the type of thing we continue to look at.”

When someone is in mandatory isolation, a health department staff member must visit their home every day to verify their presence, said Mr. Mabb. “We don’t go into the home, but instead we call them from the driveway and visually verify they are home. We need to see them in their home.”

While county DOH has fielded calls regarding a recent random testing done by New York State DOH, it had no connection to local testing efforts, Mr. Mabb said.

“We heard that the state had 3,000 antibody testing kits. They came in under the cloak of darkness in various locations to try to get a random sampling—they wanted to see how prevalent the virus is across the state. By the time anyone knew they were there, they were gone. The list of testing sites came out well after testing had begun. We had no control over where state DOH went,” he said.

Columbia County continues to receive monetary donations toward the purchase of additional coronavirus testing kits, Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said in the April 21 release.

Previously, the county had received $26,150 in donations from the public oward the coronavirus fight, he said.

Since then, a total of $2,135 has been donated: $200 from Berton and Stephanie Poucher; $35 from Arthur Kaufman; $400 from Joseph Ahern; $1,000 from Tony Jones; and $500 from Amy and Brad Barr.

“We couldn’t be more appreciative for the donation of these funds. The money has been very helpful as we look to do as much testing as possible in the county,” said Mr. Murell.

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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