Virus death toll up to 18; Gov’s metrics don’t work for Columbia


HUDSON—An 18th person has died as a result of the coronavirus as of May 8 at 3 p.m., according to figures from the Columbia County Department of Health (DOH).

There are 317 positive cases of Covid-19; 122 of the 317 cases have recovered from the virus; 10 of the positive cases are hospitalized, 3 of those hospitalized are in the ICU.

The DOH has received 2,029 completed test results; 189 residents are under mandatory quarantine and 14 under precautionary quarantine.

The breakdown of confirmed, positive cases of Covid-19 in Columbia County follows, provided by the DOH.

The health department says, “we don’t want anyone to feel a sense of false confidence that the virus is not in their community. In order to slow the spread, we need to stay vigilant on prevention measures no matter where the positive, confirmed cases reside.”

Numbers of positive Covid-19 cases according to municipality/facility, according to the DOH: Ancram 5, Canaan 8, Chatham 10, Claverack 8, Clermont 4, Copake 10, Germantown 7, Ghent 16, Greenport 13, Hillsdale 8, Hudson 31, Kinderhook 26, Livingston 6, New Lebanon 4, Stockport 1, Stuyvesant 6, Livingston Hills 2, Pine Haven 35, Barnwell 117.

In recent days, Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell and other county leaders have

begun actively participating in a series of remote meetings to address ways in which the local economy can be safely and effectively re-opened.

“We’re all looking at the metrics set out by the governor’s office, and they’re simply unattainable. To begin with, there has been no testing because there were no testing kits available. I think Columbia County is being unfairly penalized for the lack of testing. We are now beginning to ramp up our testing, fortunately, with many thanks to those who have donated funds towards the purchase of kits,” Chairman Murell said in the county’s May 8 coronavirus update press release.

“The metrics need to include other factors. For instance, most of our cases here in the county have come from nursing homes. We would like the governor to change the metrics to reflect this sort of thing,” he said.

In a related example, Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Washington counties have a combined hospitalization rate equal to that of Albany County. Because of that, these four counties will be impacted by Albany County, with re-opening undoubtedly prolonged as Albany County figures are included as part of the Capital Region determination. A solution, Mr. Murell said, would be for the four counties cited here to be decoupled from Albany County when the metrics are applied.

Columbia Comeback, the committee recently established by Chairman Murell and made up of leaders from the local business and political world, will conduct its first meeting Monday, May 11 at 1 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and can be accessed via a link on the Columbia Economic Development Corporation website (

“Columbia Comeback represents a significant step as local businesses prepare for opening. Everyone recognizes the difficulties facing businesses as they attempt to get back on their feet–we hope that those looking forward to resuming business activities take advantage of this important resource.” Chairman Murell said in the release.

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 or their Facebook page at The state’s coronavirus website, with up-to-the-minute information, can be found at

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