Greene County on Thursday reported its fourth COVID-related death this month.
The Greene County Public Health Department has reported the 74th death since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
“We unfortunately had another death in our community and we send our love and condolences,” the department announced in a statement Thursday.
A department spokeswoman did not respond to multiple requests for comment Thursday prior to publication.
The latest fatality comes after three deaths were reported in the middle of May. All three individuals — a woman in her 50s, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 70s — had comorbidities, Deputy Director of Public Health Laura Churchill said at the time.
Prior to the three deaths in the middle of May, the county had not seen a virus-related death since April 6.
Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, questioned the cause of death in the recent fatalities.
“I still question the validity of some of the deaths that are attributed to COVID,” Linger said Thursday. “I think there are overarching circumstances that probably had more to do with it and they just happened to have COVID.”
Linger believes the underlying health conditions likely were significant contributors to the reported deaths.
“I just question the need to report a death as COVID-related when the people had three or four more comorbidities and they were 80 or 90 years old,” Linger said. “A lot of the deaths were people who had been sick for quite a while. It doesn’t make it any better, but the way things are reported sometimes is a little iffy.”
The four deaths in May come as the rate of coronavirus vaccinations has been slowing in recent weeks.
As of May 27, 52.8% of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 44.8% have completed the inoculation series, according to the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.
Greene County vaccination rates are lower than the state rate with 48.7% of county residents receiving at least one vaccine dose and 41.7% completing the vaccination series.
The state has been providing incentives to encourage residents to get vaccinated to stem the spread of the virus, including random prize drawings for 12- to 17-year-olds for a full scholarship to a State University of New York or City University of New York school if they get vaccinated. The scholarship opportunity was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.
Free passes to state parks, MetroCards and train tickets have also been offered as perks to encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated.