Daily COVID cases declining in Columbia

The number of cases of COVID-19 is declining in Columbia County and demand for the vaccine grows. Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office

HUDSON — The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 is beginning to decrease in Columbia County.

After weeks of increases, the average number of new daily cases is declining, according to the Columbia County Department of Health.

“I like the way the numbers are trending,” Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said Monday. “It looks good. I think we might get a little bump up from Super Bowl Sunday, but probably not much. I think it’s trending downwards.”

Over the week of Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, the average daily number of new COVID cases was the lowest it has been so far this year, according to data from the Department of Health.

The department reports the number of new positive COVID cases each day. The average number of new daily cases for the week of Jan. 3 to Jan. 9 was 54.2, and from Jan. 10 to Jan. 16, the average daily number was 47.4. The week of Jan. 17 to Jan. 23, saw an average daily number of new cases at 55.3, and the following week, from Jan. 24 to Jan. 30, the number declined to 40.3.

This past week, from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, the average daily number of new cases was down to 24.5.

“The rolling seven-day average is dropping,” Mabb said. “I would like to think that it’s the beginning of sort of settling into something that is manageable until we can get everybody vaccinated.”

The county’s percentage of positive COVID tests is also trending down. According to data from the state’s COVID dashboard, Columbia County’s seven-day rolling average rate of positive tests is 4.7% and the 14-day rolling average is 5.9%. These percentages are lower than they had been at the beginning of the year — for much of January, the rolling seven- and 14-day averages were between 7% and 8%.

“It appears that the infection numbers are trending downward in New York state and the Capital Region,” Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said in a statement. “Some counties are already at a 4% seven-day rolling average for infection, with a few even below that. I think we’ll continue to trend this way, I’m certainly hopeful for that.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Columbia County Department of Health has reported 3,319 positive COVID-19 cases. There are 347 active COVID cases in the county with 34 residents hospitalized with the virus and four in the intensive care unit. Columbia has 239 people in mandatory quarantine, the lowest number reported in quarantine in several weeks. The number of people in quarantine has not been lower than 300 since Dec. 8.

The Department of Health has reported 80 COVID-related deaths in the county since the beginning of the pandemic. Thirty of those, or about 37.5%, occurred in 2021.

Columbia County has been vaccinating eligible residents at its weekly vaccination PODs, or points of distribution. The Department of Health has administered 2,082 first doses of the vaccine and 410 second doses. Last week, the department was given 100 doses. At a targeted vaccination POD those doses primarily were administered to grocery store employees, Mabb said.

This week the department will again receive 100 doses for eligible essential workers in the 1B category. Mabb said 78 school employees who are at greater risk for exposure to the virus will be inoculated. The department will vaccinate staff and faculty who are teaching in person in a classroom, Mabb said.

The vaccines will be divided among the county’s six school districts and the Questar III program, with each school district receiving 12 vaccination slots and Questar will get six, Mabb said.

As of Friday, there are about 600 teachers and staff members who need to be vaccinated, he added.

“I don’t know how to do it any other way to be fair other than to divide it up this way,” Mabb said. “Hopefully it will work out and over the next couple of weeks we can concentrate on teachers.”

This week the county is also expected to receive 100 doses of the vaccine for senior citizens. Seniors who had previously called in and were unable to register online for a vaccine will receive those doses, Mabb said.

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