Cuomo coins ‘microclusters’ to define hot spots

A woman receives a coronavirus COVID-19 test. New York will close any school district that fails to comply with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Sept. 8 mandate requiring each of the state's 713 districts to report coronavirus testing results to the Health Department each day. US-NEWS-TIDEWATER-REGION

HUDSON — There has been a slight uptick in the number of positive COVID cases in Columbia County including a new cluster of cases at Ghent Assisted Living, health officials said Monday.

The Columbia County Department of Health has reported 593 total COVID cases as of Sunday, up from the 577 cases reported a week ago.

“We’re not really seeing what I would consider a spike at this point in time,” Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Grand Assisted Living has had 143 of the county’s positive cases as of last Friday, Livingston Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has had two positive cases and Pine Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has had 51 positive cases, Ghent Assisted Living had one positive case as of Friday evening, according to the Health Department.

About one-third of all of the county’s positive cases involved residents of local nursing homes or adult-care facilities.

Mabb said Monday there is a small cluster of positive COVID cases at Ghent Assisted Living. The facility had one case Friday, and Monday reported six residents and one staff member testing positive for COVID, Mabb said.

Mabb said it appears the staff member is the “index case” — the person who had been the first COVID case at the facility based on the timing of the cases.

“I think that this is going to be our life, from now until there is a vaccine. I would love to see a low level of community spread like we have, but we’re going to get these clusters in different places,” Mabb said.

The Department of Health gave an updated report on the number of positive COVID cases there has been in each town in the county as of Friday evening: Ancram 5, Canaan 11, Chatham 25, Claverack 28, Clermont 8, Copake 25, Craryville 3, Elizaville 3, Gallatin 3, Germantown 8, Ghent 25, Greenport 40, Hillsdale 16, Hudson 50, Kinderhook 45, Livingston 19, New Lebanon 10, Niverville 2, Philmont 9, Stockport 8, Stottville 1, Stuyvesant 19, Taghkanic 8 and Valatie 18.

A number of the new cases in the county stem from an outbreak at a local fruit farm with a Hudson address that had 11 positive cases reported last week.

Mabb could not say which farm the cases occurred at, but said all necessary testing and contact tracing associated with those cases had been completed and the people who had been in contact with those testing positive were in quarantine.

As of Sunday afternoon, the Department of Health reported 36,441 tests have been performed in the county. There are 13 active cases with four hospitalizations, and none in the intensive care unit. The county has had 37 COVID-related deaths, but there have not been any new deaths since June, according to the Health Department’s website.

Local schools began opening in mid-September. This year the state requires all school districts to report cases of COVID-19 on the state’s COVID Report Card website.

There are six school districts in the county. Hudson City Central School District has reported one positive COVID case in an elementary school student who was not attending in-person classes.

Ichabod Crane reported one positive case in a middle-school student. Chatham has reported one positive case in a teacher or staff member who had not been working in-person. New Lebanon, Taconic Hills and Germantown have not reported any positive cases in students, teachers or staff, according to the state report card.

The Department of Health is hosting COVID testing at the John L. Edwards Primary School in Hudson. Testing will take place Oct. 13, 20 and 27, from 9-11 a.m. Pre-registration for the testing clinics is not required. There is no cost for testing. Photo identification and masks are required. Each clinic is limited to 100 tests.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been edited to change the name of one of the facilities where COVID cases have been reported. Ghent Rehabilitation and Nursing Center has not had any cases; Ghent Assisted Living reported one case on Friday and six cases on Monday.

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