Greene County emergency meeting

Kim Kaplan, director of public health for Greene County, updates the county Legislature on the COVID-19 outbreak during a special meeting Sunday, March 15. 

CATSKILL - A five-day state of emergency, which includes an order to close schools beginning Wednesday, was issued by the Greene County Legislature at a special meeting Sunday in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus spread.

The decision comes on the heels of confirmation of a report that three people who tested positive for the virus outside of the county traveled to Greene County to self-quarantine. Legislature Chairman Patrick S. Linger, R-New Baltimore, stressed that no positive COVID-19 cases have been found that originated in Greene County.

“We don’t have a confirmed case that caught this in Greene County,” Linger said. “That is a good thing, and we want to keep it that way.”

The Legislature met with school district officials and county department heads at Sunday’s meeting to plan out the county’s response to the pandemic. The most efficient way to reduce the spread of the illness is social distancing, Linger said.

“The best way to stop this is to put space in between people,” Linger said.

The Windham-Ashland-Jewett School District closed March 11 when the relative of a staff member experienced flu-like symptoms. The staff member’s relative was tested for COVID-19, which came back negative.

To facilitate social distancing, Linger signed an executive order canceling classes in all public schools in Greene County effective Wednesday.

Dr. Robert Schneider, medical director for the town of Hunter, attended the meeting via conference call and recommended classes be canceled immediately.

“My biggest concern today, and my hope, is that you look at our schools and close them,” Schneider told legislators. “Dr. [Anthony] Fauci this morning clearly stated that the schools should be closed down, and kids can transmit.”

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, is one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts who is leading the fight against the novel coronavirus.

One infected student can infect many people, Schneider said.

“If we can shut our schools down and limit people from spreading it in our schools, we will protect our teachers, their families and other students and families,” Schneider said.

He urged the immediate closure of schools, which neighboring Ulster and Dutchess counties have done.

“By limiting the distance, we can decrease the risk of this disease,” Schneider added.

Linger’s executive order mandates the cancellation of classes beginning Wednesday, but individual school districts may decide to stop classes earlier.

At press time Sunday, district superintendents had not decided the scheduling for class cancellations and suggested parents check school district websites for more information.

The executive order will expire in five days. The Legislature will review its stipulations and make modifications as needed on an ongoing basis, Linger said.

Three people in Greene County who tested positive outside the county for COVID-19 traveled to the county to their second homes to self-quarantine, Greene County Public Health Director Kim Kaplan said at Sunday’s meeing.

None of them contracted the illness in Greene County, Linger said.

Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden declined to identify where the three people who were diagnosed with the virus, nor where they are in quarantine. Kaplan would also not say where they are from or where they are recuperating.

Legislator Harry Lennon, D-Cairo, asked if there was a way to ensure the three people comply with quarantine requirements.

“We have no reason to believe they are not complying with the quarantine, and we check in with them daily,” Kaplan said.

The health departments where the three cases originated are also maintaining contact with the three victims of the virus and monitoring the situation with temperature checks.

Check back for more on this developing story.

(14) comments

Sweeks924

Why isn't anyone angry over all these "weekenders" running from the city to there 2nd home here in Greene county, infecting our community, overtaking our stores and supplies. You're all complaining about politics! You should be calling for help keeping outsiders out!!! SMH

jeffersonheights222

To Scottmyers, get a J-O-B and use that energy to a good use. Stop mooching off the poor saps who you've used in this village and town. Stop with your frivolous lawsuits, your threats, your misconduct at public meetings. Surely you DO pick up on the vibes from many of us that you should MOVE ON to another county; you've bled us dry. You lost, go find another windmill. I can't wait til they tear that eyesore down!

scottmyers

Disasters provide a chance to notice if we prepared properly.

While annoying perhaps, it’s necessary to notice the county wholly failed. It chose to obligate $90 million for a jail that was never justified instead of a hospital.

As far as preparedness, and setting aside the $90 million absorbed all of our resources, there’s not one ventilator in Greene County, and no place to deploy it. CMH’s EU is already 80% full.

I’m suing because the county is intransigent. One obvious reason is overt corruption, the other is simply stupidity. I’m suing to convert the monster in Coxsackie to a medical/treatment facility, which makes it eligible for state and federal funds.

I’m suing to prevent the destruction of 80 Bridge Street, called a “gem.” The sick strategy of this administration is to destroy 80 Bridge Street to make it look like the monster in Coxsackie is required, it’s a sham. It’s the only technical way to spend over the 2% tax cap.

Like the sleepy eyed village logo of Rip Van Winkle, this is a time to wake up. How loud does the warning have to be? Convert the new jail, fix 80 Bridge Street and put the sheriff back where he belongs.

jeffersonheights222

We know that the drama of these responses sells on-line subscriptions. However, I would hope that the local press at some point would block Smeyers from their electronic service and stop allowing his soap box. He should run for politics -- he's a great liar. And he's crazy enough to win just like another politician we all are familiar with. I was born at the Greene County Memorial Hospital. We should be happy that the facility is actually being used and is not sitting idle. Many hospitals have closed across the state and been repurposed. It was NOT something unique to the Catskill area. It's the past. I am sure that the Daily Mail would be happy to let Mr. Myers read the archive and be actually educated on the issues of when the hospital had to close. And then there is also the additional truths which include a local aging medical community -- some of whom thankfully did stop practicing -- and increased Federal and State requirements that could not easily be met, the whys were not a simple black in white in some instances. Albany is a drive away, some of the best specialists now have offices down here. The list and the story goes on. As far as the jail, THANK YOU to Chris B. for stating what many of us have been wanting to say!!!

scottmyers

Dear anonymous. I’ve read the archive papers, and copied them into the court documents as exhibits. I’ve held positions at Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati, Yale Medical Center and in a virology lab at NIH.

The Covid-19 pandemic reinforces the fact we have a lack of preparedness. There isn’t a single ventilator in Greene County as far as I can tell, no place to use one. CMH has an emergency unit that’s 80% full even without Covid-19. Speaking of CMH, they just gave up obstetrics, which means someone has to drive to Albany to deliver in a hospital.

A jail is for punishing, but in fact county detainees are not tried or guilty. That’s the point. The jail’s an anachronism. The misuse of our money is horrible.

jeffersonheights222

I agree with Elizabeth re Corona, and I agree with Chris B. re the obsession Meyers has. The sociopath needs to get help, he is obsessed. I think that the County Legislators should all get a legal restraining order against him because we do not know, except for his public performance at a couple of village board meetings, how unstable the person may be. He needs to take the county jail chip on his shoulders and bury it up at once of the cemeteries in Jefferson Heights. What a psycho. Why does Greene County get the pleasure of his presence? He should move on and drive some other country crazy and leave us the heck alone! We have enough already without him.

scottmyers

Dear anonymous, the county DOES have a restraining order against me. The federal case for suppression will be served later this week. Do you things $90 million for a jail we don’t need and is not justifiable is a wise use of scant funds? Of course you don’t. Restoring 80 Bridge Street is perfectly sound, a cost estimate of $3.8 million was provided by Barton and Louguidice. The Sheriff’s Office is required to be in the county seat, in Catskill. If this makes you mad then I’m being effective. Concentrate on the money, $90 million. For what? We barely have any crime here. The adjoining county jails are 70 empty. A county jail can’t be used for ICE or federal purposes. At $90 million that’s $1.25 million per bed.

Elizabeth

Greene County does not have a hospital because it did not/does not/will not receive a "certificate of need" from the NYS Department of Health. Although I object to MANY of the decisions made by our current legislators, they are not responsible for the absence of a hospital in Greene County. Let's not use the Corona outbreak as a segue to another tedious

diatribe about the jail.

scottmyers

Dear Elizabeth: The county has motivation to obligate $90 million for a huge jail even knowing we have less than 20 detainees, which is the result of long over due justice reform. These, btw, were passed by Trump and Cuomo. It’s an astonishing lack of priorities to watch our county spend like this, borrow like, and build like this. Greene County is poor. It doesn’t have reserves for employee retirement or health care. The per-capita and population are declining. None of the companies building the monster in Coxsackie are Greene County companies, none of the interest on the $39 million loan stays in Greene County. The project’s absurd. Demolition of 80 Bridge Street is similarly absurd, there’s nothing structurally wrong with the building. It’s a sick strategy to try to justify building a new sheriff’s office, but it’s deceptive. A hospital here, a medical/treatment Facility IS needed. We’re the worst in the state for opioid addiction, a trend that’s not improving. Yes, the Corona outbreak is a genuine reminder that we’re not just unprepared, we’re intentionally incompetent in our spending and programs.

Elizabeth

We in Greene County may or may not need a hospital; we may or may not need a medical treatment facility (your phrase), but I repeat - NO hospital CAN be built in New York State without issuance of a Certificate of Need by the State Health Department. Our legislature, even if supportive of a hospital CANNOT build one without a Certificate of Need.

scottmyers

Elizabeth. We DON'T need a new jail. The surrounding county jails are 70% empty. Justice reforms, passed by Trump and Cuomo, bring our daily detainee count. With 80 human cages, at $90 million, that's $1.25 million per human cage. With the expected 15 daily detainee count that's $6 million per daily detainee. And, as for a hospital, we obviously have a need.

The pandemic proves that. We completely failed.

The shared jail scenario was always legal. 80 Bridge St. is fine. This is a small poor county. The people in charge just sent $90 million out of county for tasks that aren't justified.

Chris B

Dude, your obsession with the county and it’s staff is sickening. I’m seriously tired of seeing your negativity. Hudson Valley 360 is not your soap box. Keep your negativity to yourself. The vitriol you spew is and toxic and unwanted, as well as ineffective.

scottmyers

Dear Chris (Dude): Negativity isn’t my thing. I’m an engineer, we think differently. When the county paid the 4 engineering companies to lie it felt like what Volkswagen did in Dieselgate. Kaaterskill recanted. Barton’s and Loguidice wrote a later report that repairing 80 Bridge costs $3.8 million. Warren Hart says it’s worth $1.8 million as is. We know for certain it has no significant structural defects, and as Meg says: “It’s a gem.” BTW, demolishing it costs $700,000 and creates enormous waste.

Then there’s the insane cost of the new jail, $90 million with interest and maintenance. There’s absolutely no need for it! RicciGreen said we needed 150 human cages. They were fired for lying, they couldn’t provide raw data to support the number. We’ll have less than 20 detainees soon! The jails in the adjoining counties are 70% empty. There was never any “program” at 80 Bridge Street, which Groden admits. There won’t be a program at the new monster in Coxsackie. There’s no money left, which seems the intent.

THERE’S NO HOSPITAL IN GREENE COUNTY. Covid-19 is here. Our failure to prepare, our persistent bad judgment for a jail not a hospital, means we are at much greater risk. Trump disbanded the pandemic office, we ignored the need for a hospital. The testing for corona virus was delayed, and is still largely absent - in Greene County.

You call this vitriol, it is simple observation Chris. You call it a soap box, but these are simple facts not my opinion.

scottmyers

True sociopaths. These morons prefer a jail that gives kickbacks to a hospital. The $90 million obligation was forced by overt persistent fraud. RicciGreene, Delaware, Kaaterskill and Barton and Louguidice. Lies! Now they must demolish a perfectly good Sheriff’s Office to fake compliance with the 2% tax cap. Groden did the same thing in Michigan and was sued successfully in his personal and personal capacity. They started blocking my email 3 years ago, then arrested me Simply for coming to the monthly public meeting. Pathetic incompetents, Kaplan, Markou, Martinez... wholly ridiculous.

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