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Governor may make flu shots mandatory


HUDSON—As schools return to session and life begins to move indoors following a summer of outdoor activities, Governor Cuomo stated that he may consider making the flu vaccine mandatory for all school-age children. No final decision has yet to be announced.

“My office and the county Department of Health have received many inquiries about the possibility of the flu vaccine being made mandatory for school-age children, as well as what might happen when a Covid-19 vaccine is eventually developed and introduced to the public,” Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said in a September 14 press release.

“I would like nothing more than to be able to answer all those questions in a complete fashion, but in many ways our situation is very similar to that of the public’s, in that frequently we learn what the governor and national public health officials have in mind at roughly the same time. Our policy has been and remains to keep the public informed on all matters relating to the coronavirus pandemic. If nothing else, county residents can be assured that we will tell you what we know as soon as we know it,” Chairman Murell said in the release.

State to supply school specialist

New York State will be offering, at its expense, a school investigation specialist to perform Covid-19 contact tracing within county schools, Columbia County Health Department (DOH) Director Jack Mabb said in a September 10 press release from the county Board of Supervisors.

The position is currently considered full-time for a period of one year, with the possibility of extension as needed. The state will hire for the position.

A key responsibility of the position will be to act as a liaison and partner to schools and organizations and local health authorities to maximize the Contact Tracing Initiative’s Outreach.

“Our Covid-19 team is anticipating a big spike in contact tracing once the schools are open. This position will be a valuable resource for the DOH and schools. It’s a good idea overall and I’m certainly grateful for the free position,” Director Mabb said last week.

“I think everyone has concerns with someone new coming into our system, so when I learned of this position, I took the idea to my staff. To a person, they were adamantly in favor,” he added.

First week of zero positive test results

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb reported September 14 that one week has gone by without one positive test for the virus in-county.

“That’s fantastic news. I really think it’s a reflection of people continuing to do the right things in terms of wearing face masks and social distancing. Of course, as summer fades and our lives move indoors, these practices will become even more important. I’m confident that our county residents are up to the challenge,” said Director Mabb.

Mobile testing for Covid-19

During the Columbia County Department of Health’s upcoming Mobile Testing Clinics for Covid-19, the department will be collecting insurance information for those tested.

Attendees should bring a form of photo identification and their insurance information.

Those who are uninsured or underinsured may be eligible for a lower fee or no fee.

Walk-up clinic schedule

*Tuesdays, September 22 and 29, 9 to 11 a.m., sidewalk in front of John L. Edwards, 360 State Street, Hudson Pre-registration is not necessary.

Rules and details for all clinics follow: Bring a form of photo identification and insurance information; masks are required for entry; tests will be nasopharyngeal swabs which are most useful to detect the virus in actively sick people. These are not antibody tests. The kits used at these testing sites are part of those purchased with the help of private donations to Columbia County.

Symptoms most typical of cases of Covid-19 include: fever, cough, trouble breathing, loss of taste or smell and/or any symptoms consistent with the CDC guidelines.

The DOH recommends anyone feeling these symptoms be tested for Covid-19.

After leaving the test site, symptomatic residents should go directly home for mandatory quarantine until results are shared with them. Essential workers should plan on quarantining outside of work and being extremely cautious around those they come into contact with.

It may take up to five days to receive the test results. Everyone who gets tested at the site will receive their results once they are processed by LabCorp.

Law enforcement will be on-site along with EMS services.

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