HUDSON—“The Healthcare Consortium continues to operate all of its programs and services during the Covid-19 outbreak, albeit in a slightly different way,” Consortium Executive Director Claire Parde said in the April 23 Covid-19 update press release from the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.
The Healthcare Consortium serves residents of Columbia and Greene counties, typically from its main office in Hudson, as well as numerous other locations throughout the Twin Counties. Though all in-person visits are suspended during this time, all Consumer Assistance Programs continue to function by phone at 518-822-8820.
“One program that can be of special help at this time is our Navigator Program. Unfortunately, many people have found that their employment situation has abruptly changed, and they may have lost hours, wages or employer-sponsored health insurance coverage as a result,” Ms. Parde said in the release.
Maintaining health insurance coverage and the access to care it provides has never been more important, she said. The Healthcare Consortium is the New York State Department of Health’s contractor to administer the Navigator Program in Columbia and Greene counties, and as such, is the official resource for health insurance enrollment through the New York State of Health (NYSOH), NY’s online marketplace for health insurance.
The Consortium’s four full-time certified navigators can help individuals and families shop for and enroll in health plans, including the public health insurance programs, Medicaid, the Essential Plan, and Child Health Plus and commercial self-pay programs, called Qualified Health Plans. Those whose circumstances have changed may find that they are newly-eligible for financial assistance to obtain affordable coverage, Ms. Parde said. The NYSOH has extended the open enrollment period for the Qualified Health Plans to May 15.
“Last but not least, our Children and Adults Rural Transportation Service (CARTS) continues to provide non-emergency medical transportation to Columbia County residents of any age or ability. As you can imagine, both patients and healthcare providers are deferring non-essential appointments to later times whenever they can, but we continue to transport dialysis patients to and from their essential appointments multiple times per week, as well as anyone else whose appointments cannot be delayed.” The CARTS Program can be reached by calling 518-822-8020.
Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said in the April 23 release that he has planned a Friday meeting of local officials to look at the viability of summer camps this year. “We expect to issue guidance early next week on the advisability, or not, of conducting camps this summer,” said Mr. Murell.
With the ongoing push to outfit county residents with face coverings, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts in the Fairview Plaza is offering free mask kits, Greenport store manager Kayla Brink said Thursday.
“The kits are enough to make 10 to 12 masks out of 100% cotton fabric. For those seeking larger quantities, prior authorization needs to be obtained by calling the store,” she said. Those seeking to acquire a kit are advised to order online for curbside pickup. The Greenport store telephone number is 518-828-2621. Current store hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The store has been distributing “at least 30 mask kits per day,” Ms. Brink said, noting the store has been active with the program since March 28. Overall, the Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts chain has since donated more than 70 million masks.
Locally, Ocean State Job Lot in Valatie also offers free fabric for use in the construction of masks.
Those interested in donating masks should contact Austerlitz Town Supervisor and county Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Rob Lagonia at email@example.com.
The Columbia County Department of Health reports 13 community members that havedied of Covid-19 as of April 23 at 2:30 p.m. The county has 138 positive cases of the virus; 66 of the 138 cases have recovered from the virus; 9 of the positive cases are hospitalized, 3 of those are in the ICU
The health department has received 1,018 completed test results for Columbia County residents; 140 residents are under mandatory quarantine and 14 under precautionary quarantine. (https://www.columbiacountynyhealth.)