County reports 2 more COVID deaths

Counties and the state are scrambling to find more COVID-19 vaccines. Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

HUDSON — The Columbia County Department of Health reported two additional COVID-related deaths over the weekend.

One of the deaths was reported by the department Saturday, and the second was reported Monday, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths in the county to 56.

Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said Saturday’s death occurred over a week ago. The person was a resident of a Columbia County nursing home. He did not identify the facility where the death took place.

“We don’t always get notified right away,” Mabb said. “But it was a nursing home resident that had died.”

From the beginning of the pandemic until June 9, the Department of Health reported 37 COVID-related deaths. Over the summer months no new deaths were reported in the county, until October, when five additional virus deaths were reported. In November there were four more and in December three people died from the virus in Columbia County.

As of Jan. 17, there have been seven coronavirus deaths reported so far this month by the Department of Health, or about 12.5% of all COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Friday, the Greene County Public Health Department announced four new COVID-related deaths over the previous weekend, bringing the total number in the county to 56 as of Jan. 15. On Dec. 31, the Public Health Department reported 28 COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. That means that from Jan. 1 to Jan. 15, half of all COVID-related deaths in Greene County have been reported during a two-week span.

The Public Health Department has reported 1,892 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic as of Jan. 15. There are 318 active positive cases in the county, 29 Greene County residents hospitalized because of the virus and 591 residents in quarantine.

The Columbia County Department of Health has reported 2,561 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There are 423 active coronavirus cases in Columbia County and 610 people in mandatory quarantine. There are 32 county residents hospitalized with the virus, with four people in the intensive care unit.

Over the weekend Mabb received a spreadsheet detailing which pharmacies in the Capital Region were receiving vaccinations and there are currently no pharmacies in Columbia County on the list, he said. The governor has stated he plans for local pharmacies to handle distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to older residents.

“I can’t really get my head around the logistics of that,” Mabb said, “because there are thousands and thousands of seniors in the county and pharmacies really can’t handle the same kind of influx that we can handle at a POD (point of distribution). It doesn’t necessarily make a ton of sense to me, but that’s what the governor wants to do.”

Mabb said because there are no pharmacies in the county where seniors can go to receive a vaccination this week, the state is giving the county 400 doses to vaccinate seniors older than 65. The county is also receiving 400 additional doses of the vaccine to inoculate first responders, teachers and other individuals currently eligible to receive a vaccination.

Over the past week, from Jan. 11 to Jan. 18, there have been 344 new positive cases reported by the Department of Health. In the past month, from Dec. 18 to Jan. 18, there have been 1,277 new positive cases in the county, meaning about 49.8% of all of the county’s positive COVID-19 cases were reported in the past month.

On Saturday, 62 new positive COVID cases were reported in the county, and about half of those were nursing home residents and staff, Mabb said.

“For the first time in a long time, half of them were nursing home patients and staff,” Mabb said. “I don’t have the breakdown, but I know Livingston Hills, Barnwell and Ghent Rehab are the ones affected at this time.”

The new strain of COVID-19 has not yet been reported in the county, he added.

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