COVID uptick worries health officials

A 106th Columbia County resident has died from COVID-19.

HUDSON — Columbia County has had another COVID-related death amid its rising positivity numbers.

The Columbia County Department of Health on Wednesday announced another county resident died of complications from COVID-19. It is the 106th COVID-related death the county has had since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It was a man under 40 who was unvaccinated,” Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said. “It’s another sad case, and the unvaccinated part, as always, kind of gets to you.”

The latest death, on Nov. 17, is the second to occur this month. The first COVID death in Columbia County was reported March 28, 2020.

“It is a lot, the numbers we’re seeing,” Mabb said. “We had 42 when we came in on Monday, it was 25 this morning. It has been building. Everyday we get a base number and then it builds from there. There are a lot of students involved in this.”

A large portion of the positive cases in the county are children, Mabb said. The positivity rate would likely be closer to 3% without counting children who are positive.

“That’s scary, it’s all hands on deck again because we’re getting so many cases,” Mabb said. “The difference, of course, is we’re encountering a lot more resistance from people who we’re calling, from giving up any of their contacts. They don’t want their friends quarantined, hangups, getting sworn at. It’s become a much more common thing.”

The county department of health has been holding vaccination pods for younger students in the five-to-11 age range this week. While older individuals have been eligible to receive the vaccine for months, this younger age group only recently became eligible. Mabb said they will likely hold another 5-to-11 vaccine pod later this month. More details will be announced in the coming days.

“Pretty much everybody who’s younger in addition to being unvaccinated has comorbidities,” Mabb said. “We haven’t lost anybody that I wouldn’t consider, in sort of a broad term, healthy when it comes to overall, he had some things going on.”

All of the individuals who have died in relation to COVID in the county have not been vaccinated, Mabb said.

The county continues to see a rising positivity rate. The daily positivity rate is the percentage of positive COVID tests found among the total number of tests given to county residents. The rolling seven-day average positivity rate in Columbia County is 5.7%, according to the state’s positive tests tracker. The seven-day rolling average is 4.3% in Albany County, 4.6% in Greene County, 4.6% in Rensselaer, 5.9% in Saratoga County, 4.8% in Schenectady County, 9.1% in Warren County and 12.7% in Washington County.

Last year, in November 2020, the county had a total of four deaths and a total of 292 new positive COVID cases for the full month. This year, as of Wednesday, Columbia County has had two deaths and 277 new positive cases. In January 2021 the county had 22 COVID-related deaths, the most in any one month. The county began vaccinations in December 2020.

Columbia County has had a total of 5,723 positive COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. As of Thursday afternoon, the county had 169 active cases, 278 county residents who are in mandatory quarantine, five who are hospitalized because of the virus, with one in the intensive care unit.

In Columbia County 68.4% of all residents are fully vaccinated, and 76.4% of the county’s population 12 and older is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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