Three dead of virus, county’s homeless numbers rise

HUDSON—The Columbia County Health Department reports three people have died of the coronavirus as of 2:30 p.m. April 5.

Columbia County has confirmed 69 positive cases of COVID-19. Five of the positive cases are hospitalized, two of those are in the ICU. We have received 468 test results completed for Columbia County residents. There are 68 under mandatory quarantine and 16 under precautionary quarantine. There are 4 residents with suspected, not tested cases. Twenty-five Columbia County residents have recovered from COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the health department’s website at https://www.columbiacountynyhealth.com/home/coronavirus-covid-19/

In Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell’s April 5 COVID-19 update press release, Columbia County Department of Social Services Commissioner Bob Gibson said that while the county’s homeless population has risen during the coronavirus crisis, his department has had the resources necessary to meet the challenge.

“We’ve taken on 25 additional homeless since the start of this crisis. Many are the ‘silent homeless’ who we don’t usually see—they may have been sleeping at a family member’s home, but now are unable to do so owing to social distancing guidelines. The street is nowhere for them at any point, and particularly now,” Mr. Gibson said.

Grocery shopping has been a sticking point for the homeless during the coronavirus crisis. However, organizations such as the Salvation Army and others in the community have contributed hot meals and sandwiches to help fill in the gaps.

“One of those local groups has been Time & Space Limited, run by Hudson 4th Ward Supervisor Linda Mussman, that have stepped up to feed the community at this time,” Mr. Gibson said in the release.

“The community has been stepping up,” agreed Board of Supervisors Chairman Murell. “That’s really been one of the keys in helping us manage this crisis.”

On a similar DSS note, the eligibility process of recertification of DSS benefits has “really been streamlined. Deadlines have been extended by the state, which makes it a lot easier for everyone involved. You want to keep a flow of services coming,” Mr. Gibson said in the release.

Earlier this week, Chairman Murell and county Department of Health Director Jack Mabb recommended that county residents follow the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines on the wearing of masks.

“We understand the situation on the wearing of masks during this crisis has been continually evolving, and may well change again as we go along, but the current CDC guidelines appear to represent our best defense in the coronavirus fight,” Mr Murell said. Visit the CDC website at cdc.gov.

Also in the April 5 release, county Director of Emergency Management David W. Harrison, Jr., said New York State reported that 283,621 tests for COVID-19 had been administered around the state. Of that number, 113,704 yielded a positive result. There are currently 15,905 individuals hospitalized, with 4,126 of those admitted to the ICU. At this time, 3,565 have died from the virus.

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