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Mabb: Contact tracing system ‘not ready for prime time’


HUDSON—With controversy erupting in counties around New York State over the Department of Health’s CommCare contact tracing system, Columbia County Department of Health (DOH) Director Jack Mabb said in the June 7 county-issued Covid-19 update press release that the county DOH is prepared to proceed with the system provided some fixes to it occur.

“The system as currently devised doesn’t work. It makes my staff miserable. However, my staff does see some good things in it, and we are not walking away from it at this point. “CommCare does get some things right, such as the way it asks questions and the way it’s formatted, but it’s simply not ready for prime time. I think it wasn’t properly piloted and instead was rolled out too soon,” Director Mabb said in the release.

“I suggested in a meeting last week with state officials that the state take a two-week pause with CommCare and get it fixed. If they can work out the bugs, we’d be happy to use it. I’m already thinking of pausing it here and give staff time to learn how to make it work,” he said.

Contact tracing is a critical tool in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. It provides public health officials the information they need to take the necessary steps to identify infected individuals, isolate them, and speak with those who have possibly been infected by that person. Contact tracing is one of the oldest known public health weapons in the fight against a contagion.

Updated numbers

For a seventh day, the coronavirus death toll in Columbia County remained at 34 residents as of June 7 at 2 p.m., according to the Columbia County Department of Health (DOH) numbers update

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 6,011 PCR test results with 402 confirmed positive cases.

There are currently 47 active cases of Covid-19 in Columbia County with 31 additional residents on mandatory quarantine and 10 residents on precautionary quarantine.

Of the total 402 cases, 321 have recovered from the virus; 17 of the positive cases are hospitalized, none of those hospitalized is in the ICU.

The DOH has received 1,628 antibody results, of which 150 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.

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