HUDSON — January 2022 has had more COVID cases than any other month of the pandemic — and it’s only the middle of January.
At the month’s midway point, the Columbia County Department of Health reports a record-setting 1,787 cases.
“We’re up to 1,787 in 14 days of January,” Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said. “We had 1,467 in all of last January (2021) and that was our worst month in terms of the numbers. So we’re really going to smash this monthly record here, big time.”
The Department of Health has reported a total of 9,220 positive COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, which means 19.38%, or nearly 20% of all COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic have been reported in January of 2022.
A Columbia County resident died Thursday from COVID-19, bringing the number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic to 124. The death was the ninth to be reported to date this month, making it the nighest number of deaths in a month since last winter.
Two weeks into the month, this is the highest number of deaths the county has had in a single month since 15 were reported last February. Twenty-two COVID-related deaths were reported through the entire month of January of 2021.
“It was a gentleman in a hospital out of the area, which is hard for us to track,” Mabb said. “He was on a vent, he was in the ICU, he was in his 70s, unvaccinated.”
Throughout the pandemic the majority of COVID-related deaths have involved unvaccinated people: One of the deaths occurring this year, and three of the 124 COVID deaths in the county were individuals who had been vaccinated. The other 121 had not been vaccinated.
“The numbers send a message loud and clear, get vaccinated, get boostered,” Mabb said.
On Friday, 109 new positive cases were reported by the Department of Health, a historically high number of cases for a single day, but lower than the record-setting 230 positives reported Wednesday.
“It’s interesting sort of the new normal, I went back and saw it was posted at 109, and I thought, Gee, this is great news,” Mabb said. “Just two weeks ago it would have been, Oh my God, we have 109. We had 130 yesterday, 109 today, so I guess this is a little plateauing.”
A large portion of the cases reported this week came from an outbreak at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell in Valatie. The state recently updated its visitation requirements, which now calls for all nursing home visitors to have had a negative test at least one day prior to visitation.
Local schools will begin a test-to-return protocol Jan 24, Mabb said. COVID tests will be offered to students Monday and Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. at A.B. Shaw and the Claverack Fire Company and on Wednesday at the Chatham Firehouse.
“It’s targeting the parents who are doing the right thing and keeping a sick child home, who after a day or two starts to feel better,” Mabb said. “You don’t normally get that with COVID. It’s the bulk of the kids that are kept home because they’re sick, stomach ache or sore throat, or whatever like that, and those parents have been struggling to find a place to get their kids tested, so we’re going to make it available.”