An extraordinary outbreak of COVID-19 in Columbia County is getting serious attention from local health officials.
More than 30% of all COVID-19 cases in Columbia County since the beginning of the pandemic have occurred in the past month. This has rightly set off alarms in the area’s health care community.
It’s clear that Columbia County is in the grip of the second wave that was predicted over the summer months. Columbia County’s positivity rate is 2.9%, second only to Albany in the Capital Region, according to New York Forward.
The New York Forward website tracks the percentage of positive cases in each county in the state. A county can be classified as a yellow, orange or red zone based on the percentage of positive tests over a period of 10 days.
The yellow level is a 3.5% positivity rate. Columbia County has not reached this threshold yet, but it’s rising toward that level. It’s getting scary, and this outbreak may be just the tip of the iceberg.
But unlike the high COVID numbers reported earlier in the pandemic when the majority of positive cases were found in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, this spike in cases is almost entirely spread throughout the general public. And that has local health officials taking this outbreak more seriously than those in the pandemic’s early genesis.
Health officials anticipate another spike in COVID numbers after Thanksgiving, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are pleading with Americans to stay home for the holiday to keep a bad situation from becoming much worse.
Thanksgiving could push Columbia County into the yellow zone, which is a harbinger of more closed schools, shuttered businesses and another painful lockdown. It’s time we woke up to the perils of COVID-19 and take its unabated, relentless threat seriously.