Feds, state fall short on response to PPE need, county on its own

HUDSON—“During daily statewide conference calls, it’s become apparent that many counties are frustrated with the lack of medical emergency Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) deliveries coming from the New York State stockpile,” Columbia County Director of Emergency Management David W. Harrison, Jr., said in the Covid-19 update press release issued by Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt B. Murell, Saturday, April 11.

“Counties are working to purchase PPE on their own, but vendors differ and the delivery times are extended. In the meantime, as top level New York State and federal officials say there is enough PPE for everyone, the counties are not seeing this and our hospital, nursing homes, emergency services personnel and other healthcare providers are still in great need of PPE.

“The last very small bulk emergency delivery of medical PPE to Columbia County was on April 1. Our county leadership, which has been strong in their support during this Covid-19 pandemic, is again reaching out to our state and federal representatives to make sure they are aware of what’s really happening on the front line,” said Mr. Harrison.

“It’s concerning that our state and federal leaders are saying that there’s plenty of PPE for everyone, when clearly there is not. There’s a disconnect going on somewhere,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Murell noted in the release.

In an April 11, 2 p.m. update, the county Health Department reported:

*87 positive cases of Covid-19

*Seven community members have died from Covid-19. One additional person expired at Columbia Memorial Hospital from Covid-19 originating from outside the Twin Counties.

*32 of the 87 cases have recovered from Covid-19

*8 of the positive cases are hospitalized, 2 of those are in the ICU

*607 test results completed have been completed for Columbia County residents

*92 residents are under mandatory quarantine and 23 under precautionary quarantine

*There are 13 residents with suspected, not tested cases.

Citing Google Covid-19 Community Mobility Reports, the county Department of Health (DOH) said numbers indicate a high population of county residents are still working, many are visiting grocery stores and pharmacies, and many continue to visit others.

“It appears that compliance to social distancing in Columbia County is not very good,” according to a DOH spokesman.

Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Chuck Kaiser said in the release, “Social distancing is still the biggest weapon we have in our arsenal right now.”

“With the religious holiday weekend upon us, it is as important as ever that county residents practice safe social distancing precautions. Many of us have put in a lot of effort to date to help stop the spread of the coronavirus by keeping our distance, as difficult as that may be at times. Now, while we may be tempted to hold large family gatherings and observe religious services in groups this weekend, we have not yet reached the point where this can be done safely.

“We understand that people hear this all the time. We are also aware that some signs seem to be indicating that the impact of the disease on society may be on the decrease. Yet, as I’ve said previously, the reason the transmission of the virus seems to be slowing somewhat is due to social distancing measures. I ask that all of us do so for the well-being of everyone,” said Mr. Murell.

New York State has reported that 417,885 tests for Covid-19 had been administered statewide, as of April 11, according to Director Harrison. Of that number, 170,512 yielded a positive result. There are currently 18,569 individuals hospitalized, with 4,908 of those admitted to the ICU. At this time, 7,844 have died from the virus.

Anyone who wants to donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, face shields, and gowns, are advised to contact the Emergency Management Office at 518-828-1212. If there is no answer, 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.

Monetary donations intended for the purchase of much-needed equipment for emergency responders, medical personnel, and others on the front lines of the coronavirus fight are being accepted.

Checks should be sent in care of Columbia County, with coronavirus noted in the memo field. The check can be sent to the Columbia County Controller’s Office, 401 State Street, Hudson 12534. All money received is being placed in a dedicated account.

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 or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Columbia-County-Department-of-Health-469399129790791/. The state’s coronavirus website, with up-to-the-minute information, can be located at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.

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