Masks required starting tomorrow

HUDSON–Beginning Friday, April 17 at 8 p.m., the wearing of a face covering will be mandatory when six-feet of distance cannot be maintained between yourself and others, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said in his April 15 press briefing.

“If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot maintain that distance, you must wear a mask or some sort of cloth covering over your nose and mouth,” Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said in his Thursday, April 16 Covid-19 update press release.

The mandatory face covering order comes as the state examines ways in which economic activity can be safely restored.

“As our health officials have pointed out, a mask protects us from one another in the event someone sneezes or coughs—this is a critical piece in the fight against the coronavirus, and it has proven to work. Of course, as we have said all along, increased testing capabilities will be of tremendous value as determinations are made about how we begin the return to restore businesses, entertainment, and other activities that we ordinarily consider part of our lives,” said Mr. Murell.

“As we look forward to the day when we can begin sending people back to work, the county is trying to fulfill its ongoing and future mask needs for its nearly 900 employees,” said Austerlitz Town Supervisor and County Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Rob Lagonia in the Thursday press release.

“We are in desperate need of as many masks as we can get our hands on.”

Those interested in donating masks should contact Mr. Lagonia at . “It doesn’t matter whether it’s five or 100, we need every one,” he said.

Anyone who wants to help out with mask donations should consult CDC guidelines at

“I’d like to thank our state and federal representatives for their support in the effort to obtain medical PPE from the New York State stockpile. After not receiving an emergency delivery of medical PPE for two weeks, Sheriff’s Office staff traveled to Guilderland the evening of April 13 to pick up a bulk delivery. Along with a small amount of PPE donated by Ulster and Dutchess counties, April 14. Emergency management coordinated with Sheriff’s corrections officers to split up and deliver the PPE to eligible medical/healthcare/emergency services/nursing home agencies in our county. I must stress though, this is an ongoing effort and there still is not enough medical PPE out there, especially as the number of positive cases in our county continues to rise,” Columbia County Director of Emergency Management David W. Harrison, Jr. said in the release.

Sheriff’s staff also delivered 1,400 N95 Masks from the New York State stockpile earmarked for Columbia Memorial Health.

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 for the purchase of much-needed equipment for emergency responders, medical personnel and others on the front lines of the coronavirus fight can be sent via check in care of Columbia County, with coronavirus noted in the memo field. Mail the check to the Columbia County Controller’s Office, 401 State Street, Hudson 12534. All money received is being placed in a dedicated account.

A hotline has been established for the elderly and vulnerable in the county, including those with medical conditions or who are disabled and would welcome a deputy checking on their well-being on a daily basis. The number for the hotline is 518-828-0601 X 1400.

For the most up-to-date, accurate information visit the County Department of Health’s website at or their Facebook page at The state’s coronavirus website, with up-to-the-minute information, can be found at

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