COVID cluster at local business

An undisclosed business in Columbia County has a cluster of COVID cases. File photo

HUDSON — The number of positive COVID cases in the Twin Counties is showing continuous growth in the days following the Thanksgiving holiday.

In the past week the county increased its total number of positive COVID cases by 62.

“I would think that by the end of the weekend, we’re going to see a spike from Thanksgiving,” Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said Monday.

The incubation period for the virus is between three and 12 days, Mabb said. That is when the county will likely see a spike in the number of positive cases.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced prior to Thanksgiving the state would not permit gatherings of more than 10 people in private homes. Local sheriff’s offices said they would not issue tickets or fines to people who violated the 10-person rule.

“We didn’t do any tickets for people who had more than 10 people in their house,” Cuomo said at a press briefing Monday. “It’s not going to be a government enforcement thing, either people are going to hear it and get it or they’re not. Either they’re going to see those numbers going up and they’re going to get it or they’re not. I believe they will because I believe in them, but this is not something government can really address with enforcement. That’s why I wanted to take on purposefully the counter-argument which we hear about the gatherings in the 10-person limit.”

In Columbia County, the Department of Health did not receive any complaints about large Thanksgiving gatherings over the holiday, Mabb said.

“With some of this stuff, neighbors are really quick to turn each other in,” Mabb said. “As far as mass gatherings go, we’ve had a few instances with a couple of churches that were very cooperative after we contacted them and we’ve worked with them. It was never our intent to set out to fine people. We work with them and see if we can accomplish something there as far as controlling any crowds, but over Thanksgiving we didn’t have any instances.”

Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said he has not heard of any fines or tickets being issued in Greene County because of large gatherings.

“It’s spread pretty wide around the county,” Linger said. “There are certain towns that have had more cases, but those are the places with higher populations.”

Columbia County has had a total of 991 cases of the virus as of Monday morning, including 63 cases reported in the past week. Since Oct. 30, the number of positive COVID cases in the county has increased by 302.

About 30.4% of all of the county’s positive COVID cases have occurred since Oct. 30, according to the Columbia County Department of Health.

The county has had 45 COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Since Oct. 14 there have been eight COVID-related deaths. Prior to that date the county had not had a COVID-related death since June 9.

The Columbia County Department of Health reports 20 people hospitalized because of COVID-19, with one in the intensive care unit. There are 269 people in the county in mandatory quarantine.

Greene County Public Health reports the county has had 689 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There are 70 active positive cases in the county and two people hospitalized. There are 333 people in Greene County in quarantine because of COVID-19.

Public Health has reported 22 COVID-related deaths in the county since the outbreak began in March.

A number of positive COVID cases in Greene County have been found in inmates at the Greene Correctional Facility. The facility has had 155 positive test results, but there are no active cases there at this time, according to Greene County Public Health.

Earlier in the pandemic a majority of the positive cases in Columbia County had been found in residents of local nursing homes and adult-care facilities. A small number of the new cases has been found in these facilities in recent weeks.

Unlike earlier this year, the current increase in COVID cases has been almost entirely community-spread, Mabb said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Barnwell Nursing Home has had 144 positive cases, including one new positive case in the past month. Ghent Assisted Living has had 46 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the virus outbreak, and since Oct. 30 has had one new case.

Livingston Hills Nursing Home has had six positive COVID cases since the outbreak’s start and one new case since Oct. 30. Pine Haven Nursing Home has had 51 positive cases and no new cases since July. Ghent Rehab and Nursing has had one positive case.

Kate Lisa contributed to this report.

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