HUDSON — As COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise, the Capital Region is seeking volunteers to help at upcoming COVID vaccination sites.
Columbia, Greene and other Capital Region counties are in need of volunteers to assist at vaccination points of distribution, known as PODs.
Greene County Public Health Department announced Monday that a 34th person in the county had died from COVID-19. The death comes after the county announced nine other COVID-related deaths in the past week.
Columbia County closed the County Office Building, 401 State St., Hudson, on Wednesday because of a possible COVID-19 exposure. The county website states a thorough cleaning of the building will be conducted by the Facilities Department staff and the building will reopen Thursday for its regular business hours. Employees in the building were directed to work from home.
Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said the building was closed out of an abundance of caution. None of the building’s employees were positive for the virus, but one of the employees’ wives tested positive.
While COVID cases in the Twin Counties are continuing to grow, there is now a need for people to volunteer to assist with administering COVID-19 vaccinations.
Albany Medical Center is the coordinator for the Capital Region hub of the Regional Vaccine Network, according to the facility’s website, and has been developing plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution across Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties.
About 1 million people in New York will need to be vaccinated and hundreds of volunteers will be needed to accomplish this, according to the website.
Licensed practical nurses, licensed pharmacists, midwives, dentists, certain dental hygienists, podiatrists and emergency medical technicians can volunteer to administer vaccinations at vaccine PODs, according to the Capital Region Hub website.
Mabb estimates the county will need at least 60 nonmedical volunteers to assist at vaccination PODS. He said they are in the process of developing at least four teams of people to work at the vaccination sites, and each team will need about 15 nonmedical volunteers. PODS will also have other volunteers with a medical background and members of the county Department of Health facilitating inoculations.
“If anybody out there wants to help with the vaccination, you don’t have to be a medical person to volunteer,” Mabb said. “We need people at the vaccination PODs to help with what we call flow facilitation.”
In addition to volunteers with a medical background to do the actual vaccinations, there is also a need for volunteers to take information and help with registration, Mabb said.
The state wants county health department staff and medical volunteers at vaccination PODs to be inoculated against the virus, but Mabb said the state has not indicated if other volunteers working in a nonmedical capacity will also be eligible to receive a COVID vaccine at this time.
Anyone wanting to volunteer to help with COVID vaccinations can sign up through ServNY on the state website health.ny.gov.
“At some point in time we’re going to be doing a lot of PODs during any given week, so we definitely need the volunteers,” Mabb said.
Last weekend, Columbia County Department of Health gave out its first 109 COVID-19 vaccines to eligible residents. Mabb said another batch of vaccine doses will be administered Saturday.
The Greene County Public Health Department announced Tuesday it had received its initial shipment of COVID-19 vaccines and would begin administering them this week to individuals identified in Phase 1a of the state’s vaccine distribution plan.
Greene County Public Health Department has reported there have been a total of 1,534 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There is currently 358 active cases in Greene County, 23 county residents hospitalized because of COVID-19 and 507 people in quarantine. The county’s seven-day rolling positivity rating is 12.2%.
The Columbia County Department of Health has reported 1,863 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There are 325 active cases in the county, 29 people hospitalized with the virus and 301 county residents in quarantine.