County office closes, ballot count put off

The Columbia County Office Building, 401 State St., Hudson, was closed Thursday for cleaning due to COVID-19, postponing the counting of absentee ballots at the Board of Elections. File photo

HUDSON — The Columbia County Office Building closed Thursday after an employee was placed under quarantine.

Closing the building at 401 State St. meant scheduled counting of absentee ballots by the county Board of Elections would be put off until Friday.

The employee was quarantined because of possible direct exposure to people who tested positive for COVID-19, according to the county’s website.

“The employee’s husband and one of their children tested positive, so because of that exposure, she’s under mandatory quarantine at this point,” Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said.

The building, at 401 State St. in Hudson, was closed Thursday so it could be cleaned and disinfected. It was closed Wednesday for Veterans Day and is scheduled to reopen Friday, Mabb said.

The employee who may have been exposed to COVID-19 has been tested but the results were unknown as of Thursday afternoon.

“Until we get the results back, anyone who worked with her is encouraged to monitor for symptoms of COVID,” Mabb said.

Cleaning and sanitizing the building takes a few hours, Mabb said. The station where the employee worked has to be cleaned, as do other areas in the department including doorknobs, light switches and other places that may have been touched.

“The virus is not a tough virus,” said Mabb. “It succumbs easily, usually to bleach and other disinfectants.”

The county announced on its website and social media pages it was closing the building out of an abundance of caution.

Fewer than 50 employees typically work in the building, Mabb said. County employees worked from home Thursday.

Columbia County has had a total of 803 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. As of Wednesday afternoon there were 109 active cases in the county, 27 people who are in the hospital because of COVID and two people in the intensive care unit.

About 26.1% of all positive COVID cases in the county have occurred in the past month, according to data from the Department of Health website.

Columbia County has 225 people in mandatory quarantine at this time. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 43 people in Columbia County have died from the virus.

The Board of Elections, located in the building, had been counting absentee ballots this week.

The board would not be counting votes Thursday, but would resume when the building is reopened Friday, Democratic Elections Commissioner Ken Dow said.

Absentee ballot counting is expected to be complete by the end of the day Friday, Dow said.

The Department of Health is also reaching out to anyone who may have been in attendance at a funeral Nov. 9 at the Sacco-Valenti Funeral Home in Hudson because someone at the funeral tested positive for COVID-19.

Over the course of three hours, about 100 people passed through the doors of the funeral home.

“Any individual who attended this funeral on Nov. 9 should monitor their symptoms for the coronavirus,” Mabb said.

Symptoms include a dry cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, congestion, fatigue and muscle or body aches, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The Department of Health will host COVID testing clinics at the former John L. Edwards Primary School in Hudson on Nov. 17 and Dec. 1, from 9-11 a.m.

Preregistration is not required to attend the clinic. A photo ID is required for a test and masks must be worn to enter the testing site. Each testing day is limited to 100 tests.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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