Death ends Columbia County’s 11-day string

COVID-19 vaccine efforts in the Twin Counties continue. Tribune News Service

HUDSON — The Columbia County Department of Health reported Monday afternoon that an elderly Hudson-area woman died of the coronavirus, breaking a string of 11 consecutive days without a COVID-related death in the county in 2021.

Department of Health Director Jack Mabb confirmed the death — the 89th in Columbia County since the start of the pandemic — on Monday.

Eleven days is the longest period of time the county went without a COVID death so far in 2021, according to documents from the Department of Health.

Until Tuesday, the longest the county went without reporting a new COVID-related death this year was seven days. From Dec. 21, 2020, to Jan. 2, 2021, there was a 12-day period when no deaths were reported.

“I think it was one of our longer periods lately,” Mabb said. “We had some good, long stretches in the latter part of 2020. I think this coincides with the numbers of cases in the nursing homes going way down and hospitalizations are also way down.”

The county saw an uptick in the number of positive cases and in deaths being reported after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, but COVID numbers have been declining over the last several weeks.

Last year, on March 20, the Department of Health reported the county’s first positive COVID case and the first COVID-related death was reported in the county March 28. There were 37 virus deaths countywide between March 28 and June 9.

Over the summer, the number of COVID cases dropped dramatically and the county did not report any further coronavirus deaths until Oct. 14. Shortly after New Year’s Day, the county reported its 50th death, and between Jan. 2 and Monday there were 39 additional deaths.

“I worry a little bit like everybody else, when I hear Dr. [Anthony] Fauci talking about the variants and the spike that might be coming from them. I hope he’s wrong on that,” Mabb said. “If we can just get to 60 degrees and the bulk of us being outside more and we’re vaccinating more people, I’m hopeful and I hope he’s wrong.”

Last week, the Department of Health reported a cluster of positive cases at the Columbia County Department of Motor Vehicles. Mabb said there have been no additional positives found from that cluster. None of the DMV cases were found to be any of the virus variants, according to the state-run laboratory Wadsworth Center.

In all, the county’s Department of Health has reported 3,663 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic last year. There are 67 active positive cases in the county and 180 county residents in mandatory quarantine.Seven county residents are hospitalized with the virus and two are in the intensive care unit.

Greene County Public Health reported 2,704 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There are 72 active cases in the county, five residents hospitalized because of the virus and 151 people are in quarantine.

Greene County has reported 67 COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, with the two most recent deaths on Feb. 26.

Thousands of Twin County residents have been vaccinated against the virus.

The Columbia County Department of Health administered 4,187 first doses of vaccines and 2,313 second doses as of Monday. The state COVID vaccine tracker reports 15,094 Columbia County residents in all have received their first dose of the two-dose regimen and 7,173 people received their second dose as of Monday morning.

The state tracker reports 9,729 people in Greene County have received their first dose and 4,574 have received their second dose.

Statewide 4.4 million people received the first dose and 2.3 million people are fully inoculated.

The Columbia County Department of Health will hold several vaccination PODs, or points of distribution, this week. On Wednesday, 585 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to county residents. On Thursday and Friday the county will administer 260 doses of the Moderna vaccine each day, and on Saturday 500 shots of the Moderna vaccine will be given.

The link to register for Saturday’s POD will be posted on the Department of Health website beginning Wednesday at 5 p.m. All PODs are open to 1B essential workers, seniors who are 60 or older and people with comorbidities. All of the Columbia County PODs will take place at the Columbia-Greene Community College.

This is the largest number of vaccines the department will administer in one week, Mabb said.

“This is the most ever for us,” Mabb said. “We’re going to set a Columbia County record this week. We have 1,605 doses.”

In Greene County, people eligible to receive a vaccine can go to the county website and fill out the COVID Vaccine Notification Form. This is not a pre-registration to receive a vaccine.

After submitting the form, the person will receive email updates detailing when vaccines will be available to them through either Greene County Public Health or local pharmacies, and information about how to register for an appointment.

Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, asked that people do not publicly share vaccine scheduling links sent by email.

“The primary goal of Greene County Public Health and Emergency Operations is to vaccinate all eligible residents and essential workers from Greene County who have requested it,” Linger said Tuesday in a statement. “Over 5,000 people who live and/or work in Greene County are still on this wait list and more are added every day. Sharing these links publicly enables those from outside the County to make appointments, thereby defeating the goal, and extending the time and vaccine supply needed to accomplish it. I understand the urge to help ‘spread the word,’ but in this case, it does the opposite.”

Linger said that as the county’s supply of vaccine increases and the wait list becomes smaller, the county will open scheduling links to the general public.

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