County extends building closures

HUDSON–Columbia County has extended the closure of its buildings to the public through Friday, April 17 in an effort to protect the public and its employees, according to an order issued by county Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt B. Murell, April 1.

“This may well wind up going through till the end of April, but at this time we are proceeding in two-week increments. This is also coinciding with the current school district closures,” Mr. Murell said in his April 1 update on the coronavirus situation in Columbia County.

The following Essential Departments still must report to the respective offices: 911, Communications, Sheriff, Corrections, Public Health, Office for the Aging, Highway, Solid Waste, MIS, Board of Elections, District Attorney and Facilities. All other staff will be working from home as assigned by their department heads.

The Department of Social Services will be available through their on-call services.
Anyone who has an emergency situation, should call 9-1-1. For all business-related matters for a specific department, contact that department directly. The department directory can be found at the
county website: www.columbiacountyny.com.

Columbia County Director of Emergency Management David W. Harrison, Jr., said in the April 1 release that county Emergency Management is beginning to see Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) bulk deliveries from the state. “Two deliveries have been received since just before midnight last Saturday,” he said.

The state has changed the statewide process for providing the emergency PPE, with deliveries now being made to the Public Safety Facility. From there, Emergency Management and staff from the Sheriff’s office split up the items and deliver them to Columbia Memorial Hospital, nursing homes in the county, healthcare providers, county emergency management services, fire departments and other eligible agencies and organizations.

Despite the fact these are small bulk deliveries and not nearly what is needed by these agencies, the flow of emergency PPE from the state is encouraging, said Mr. Harrison.

With the county Sheriff’s Office receiving calls regarding construction being observed around the county, Sheriff David Bartlett said that there is ongoing essential construction that has been approved by the state, for instance, at schools, Columbia-Greene Community College, and other locations.

Also, the Sheriff also reported April 1 that his efforts to provide a safe area for members of law enforcement, judges, attorneys  and defendants who must participate in arraignments have resulted in conducting live video arraignments in the lobby of the county Public Safety Facility.

The lobby area is large enough that social distancing can be practiced by those involved and can be wiped down using appropriate disinfectant after each session,” he said in the release.

Columbia County is the first county in the New York State Third Judicial District to provide this process.

“Even in this unprecedented COVID-19 time, we must make sure that essential criminal justice proceedings can continue in a way that’s safe for everyone involved,” Sheriff Bartlett said, thanking Judge David Dellehunt from the NYS Office of Court Administration, Administrative Judge Thomas Breslin, District Executive Beth Diebel, the Third Judicial Team and County Court Judges Jonathan Nichols and Richard Koweek for their help in making this process happen.

Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Murell continues to urge anyone migrating from outside Columbia County to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.

“This is a critical component of our fight against the virus… everyone should consider they are a carrier of the coronavirus. County residents must continue to be vigilant in practicing social distancing and personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing. Even though COVID-19 has begun moving through Columbia County, we are nowhere near the peak of people we expect will eventually be infected. These simple actions will help not only you from contracting it, but from spreading it to someone else, including a loved one,” 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.

 

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