County health dept. pursues new rapid-result tests

HUDSON—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the emergency use of a rapid coronavirus test that can deliver results in as little as 15 minutes.

Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said in a Monday, March 30, 2020 that the test may be “rolled out” as early as Wednesday, April 1.

“I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I am going to aggressively pursue getting the tests. If the kits become available to the county in large quantities, I would hope to be able to do large scale testing in the county to help us better understand the disease,” he said.

As of 3 pm, March 30, 2020, Columbia County has 36 positive cases of COVID-19. Six of the positive cases remain hospitalized, two of those are in the ICU. 357 test results have been completed for Columbia County residents. There are 69 people under mandatory quarantine and 17 under precautionary quarantine. There are 9 residents with suspected, not tested cases, according to the County Department of Health.

In the release, Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell pointed out that as of Monday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo had extended the directive that all non-essential workers remain home through April 15. School districts have also been instructed to adhere to that date.

In addition, President Donald Trump has extended the directive that social distancing practices throughout the United States remain in effect until April 30.

“These guidelines, as we have all come to understand, can change at any time. Regardless, we all need to continue the social distancing practices, such as hand washing and keeping six feet between you and others, as set forth by public health officials,” Mr. Murell said in the release.

The state’s coronavirus website, with up-to-the-minute information, can be found at: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

With calls coming into the county about the donation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, face shields, and gowns, county officials advise those who want to make a donation to contact the Emergency Management Office at 518-828-1212. If no one answers, leave a message and someone will return the call.

Nitrile gloves are considered suitable for medical use, while other types of gloves must explicitly state they are for medical use. Food donations should be directed to the county Office for the Aging (518-828-4258) and local pantries.

As individuals are looking forward to receiving stimulus money from the federal government, Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett warned county residents to be alert to scams.

“During times of crisis, people need to be extra vigilant. There are people out there who are always looking to take advantage of these situations. Rely only on official sources. As usual, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” the sheriff said in the release.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Murell continues to urge people migrating from New York City to Columbia County to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“I can’t stress more the importance of this. We understand that people are coming here to escape the disease, but everyone should consider they are a carrier of the coronavirus,” he said in the release.

It is the county’s intention to issue accurate information regarding the coronavirus situation under conditions that can change by the minute. For the most up-to-date, accurate information, visit the county Department of Health’s website at https://www.columbiacountynyhealth.com/home/coronavirus-covid-19.

The county will issue a daily press release on the coronavirus situation every afternoon at 4. The releases can be found on the Columbia County website and the Facebook pages of the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Health and the Emergency Management Office.

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