Three more COVID-19-related deaths were reported in the Twin Counties on Monday including one in Columbia County and two in Greene.
Greene County is up to 62 total deaths, 34 of which were reported this month, accounting for about 55% of the total COVID deaths. Columbia County has reported 64 deaths.
Greene County’s positivity rate has declined considerably since the beginning of the month, where it reached a seven-day average of 11.8% on Jan. 6, dropping to 6.9% on Tuesday. Columbia County’s positivity rate is slightly elevated from 6.9% on Jan. 6 to 7.8%.
The Capital Region has the lowest hospital bed availability in the state, at 24% of and 19% of ICU beds available.
The Capital Region has not been designated a COVID microcluster at this time. In an orange zone, bed availability would be 15% and areas in a red zone are within three weeks of reaching 10% availability.
A total of 16 Greene County residents and 32 Columbia County residents were hospitalized Monday. Two Columbia County residents were in the ICU.
Columbia Memorial Health has seen a 10-20% decrease in COVID-19 cases, spokesman Bill Van Slyke said Monday.
As Greene County Public Health works to distribute its limited supply of vaccines, the department encourages residents to be mindful of health and safety guidelines.
“Please be patient as more vaccines become available,” according to a statement from Public Health. “Please remember it is very important to protect your health by wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, disinfecting and handwashing.”
The county peaked at 400 cases Jan. 7 — about two weeks after Christmas — and by Monday was down to 210 active cases. The county has not had fewer than 200 cases since Dec. 28. Of the 210 cases, 10 were inmates in state correctional facilities and six were residents in adult-care facilities, with 194 cases in the general population.
More than 450 residents were in quarantine Monday.
Greene County received 400 of the 1,000 vaccine doses that were ordered last week and this week will receive 100 out of 1,000.
More than 500 Greene County residents were vaccinated Jan. 7-8, and will need their second doses next week. The Moderna vaccine is delivered in two doses, 28 days apart.
“That 100 doses won’t go very far,” Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said. “Our bigger problem is going to come in next week when we start needing the second dose. The state is aware of how many they sent us in first doses and assured us we will get corresponding doses, but that remains to be seen.”
Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said the latest death in Columbia County was a woman who was a resident at Livingston Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
“Livingston Hills seems to be the heart of it of late,” Mabb said. “They’re getting hit pretty hard.”
The recent outbreak at Livingston Hills has resulted in 23 COVID-positive residents and 17 staff members over the past few months, Mabb said.
This week’s death is the second at Livingston Hills recently, Mabb said.
The latest death brings the total number of COVID-related deaths in Columbia County up to 64 since the beginning of the pandemic. So far in January, the county has had 14 COVID-related deaths, or about 21.8% of all COVID-related deaths in the county.
Columbia County has reported 2,905 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The Department of Health reported Monday there are 444 active positive cases in the county.
In the past week, from Jan. 18 to Jan. 26, Columbia County Department of Health reported 344 new virus cases. So far in the month of January, there have been 1,232 new cases, accounting for about 42.6% of all of the county’s cases.
The state has given Columbia County 200 COVID vaccines this week including 100 for people in the 1B category and 100 for seniors over 65 because no pharmacies in the county have vaccines to administer to seniors.
Mabb recently received a list of the pharmacies in the county that will be given doses of the vaccine for seniors.
“It’s the two Hannafords, the Price Chopper in Chatham, ShopRite, the two Walgreens in the county and the Walmart,” Mabb said. “It’s my understanding that with my contact with our vaccine hub, that this week they should be getting 100 to 200 shots apiece. Those are definite places where seniors can go. They are the only ones that pharmacies are supposed to be vaccinating.”
Mabb urged seniors to call those pharmacies directly for more information about being inoculated.