HUDSON — The Columbia County Department of Health reported three new COVID-related deaths Tuesday. The deaths bring the total number in the county to 75 since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Two of them were residents at Ghent Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and one was a community member,” said Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb.
With the recent outbreak at Ghent, 83 residents and 39 staff members have tested positive for the virus, Mabb said. The facility has had 10 COVID-related deaths, he said.
The Columbia County Department of Health has reported 25 COVID deaths in 2021, or about 33.3% of all coronavirus deaths in Columbia County, since the end of December.
Of the 62 COVID-related deaths in Greene County since the beginning of the pandemic, 34, or 54.8%, have occurred in 2021, according to the Health Department.
In all, Columbia County has had 3,207 positive COVID cases. There are 477 active virus cases in the county and 32 residents in the hospital, with six in the intensive care unit, according to the Department of Health. Columbia County has 397 residents in quarantine.
Greene County Public Health has reported 2,309 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 124 active cases in the county and 22 people hospitalized with the virus. Greene County has 256 residents in quarantine.
In recent weeks, Columbia and Greene counties have seen an increase in the number of COVID cases, according to data from their respective county health departments. Over the past week, from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2, Columbia County reported 279 new positive COVID cases and Greene County has reported 133 new cases.
Since Dec. 31, Columbia County has had 1,540 new positive cases and Greene County has reported 974. About 48% of all virus cases in Columbia have been reported in 2021, and about 42.2% were reported in Greene County in 2021.
The number of positive cases have begun to level off in Columbia County, Mabb said. On Wednesday there were 16 new infections reported, which is a much smaller number than daily new cases the rest of January, Mabb said.
“We only had 16 positives this morning,” Mabb said. “We haven’t seen only 16 positives since probably since somewhere back in November.”
One reason for this leveling off might be because more people are staying indoors and “hibernating” in the winter and not socializing after the holidays, he said.
“I worry a little bit about Super Bowl parties,” Mabb said. “I think a lot of the bars aren’t going to be open, they’re not going to hold their parties so people are going to have house parties and that could be a little bit of a spike. I worry about winter break coming, because I know a lot of people, especially in the school districts, a lot of teachers are no doubt going to go away and we could see a spike at the end of February, beginning of March from that.”
Greene County announced Wednesday a new COVID Vaccine Notification system to help expedite and organize requests to receive vaccinations under state guidelines.
The Vaccine Notification Request form is available through the county’s website at greenegovernment.com. It was created specifically for Greene County residents and those who work in Greene County who qualify for the phased rollout of vaccines.
“This new database will serve multiple purposes,” Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said in a statement. “Even though it will be initially used to facilitate COVID vaccination notifications, it is also being used as a resource for future communications to quickly reach our residents, especially seniors, by both email and phone.”
An announcement on the Greene County website urged all county residents who are eligible to receive vaccinations under Phase 1B, including seniors 65 and older, to add their information to the database so they can be contacted quickly as vaccines become available.