State revises quarantine guidelines

HUDSON—Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb alerted county officials that the New York State Department of Health has issued revised guidelines regarding coronavirus-related quarantines in the county’s March 29 press release update on COVID-19.

“The guidelines have been revised to reflect the new recommendations put forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC.) Hopefully the new guidelines are based on the science and research being done with actual COVID-19 cases. These guidelines are for healthcare workers and essential staff that include law enforcement and first responders. The new guidelines reduce the amount of time individuals are in quarantine and isolation if they are fever free and see an improvement in symptoms. These individuals must continue to work with the Health Department to be cleared,” the health director said. Further guidance will be forthcoming.

With the news that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of a rapid coronavirus test that can deliver results in as little as 15 minutes, Mr. Mabb said he welcomed anything that helps with the understanding of the disease.

“It would be great if we could get our hands on it. Anything we can get to do more widespread testing would help give us a better handle on what’s going on in the community. Testing is a critical part of that,” he said in the release.

The public assistance funding process is in the preliminary stages. “We are starting the process in anticipation of potential FEMA reimbursement for coronavirus crisis expenses,” Director of Emergency Services David W. Harrison, Jr., said in the release.

That includes local governmental units such as towns and the county, emergency responders, the hospital, fire districts, schools, and the like.

On Monday, March 30, in anticipation of the process, there will be three call-in sessions to help with getting it underway. The call-in times are 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m. The signup link for the call-in sessions—and further information—is available on the Columbia County Sheriff’s website at http://www.columbiacountysheriff.us/

“We have been told by the state that even if you don’t know if you qualify to receive funds, start the process by participating in these briefings to help you determine your organization’s eligibility,” said Mr. Harrison.

As individuals are looking forward to receiving stimulus money from the federal government, Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett warns 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.

With calls coming into the county regarding the donation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, face shields, and gowns, county officials advise those wishing 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.

Food donations should be directed to the county Office for the Aging (518-828-4258) and local pantries.

The county is also currently at work establishing a mechanism for accepting financial donations to assist with various needs in the fight against the coronavirus. Information on how to contribute will appear in a future press release.

Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt 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,” Mr. Murell 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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