Virus numbers up, cases now found at Barnwell

HUDSON—In it’s daily update on the number of coronavirus cases in Columbia County, the county Department of Health (DOH) reported 15 new cases as of April 28 at 3 p.m. The increase is the largest seen here so far, now up to 169 positive cases of Covid-19 from 154 yesterday.

The death toll still stands at 13.

Also of note in the Tuesday update, is that seven residents of The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell, 3230 Church Street, Valatie have tested positive for Covid-19, according to Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb. In addition, two staff members at that facility have tested positive for the virus.

In its case number roundup April 24, the county DOH reported 2 positive cases at the Livingston Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 2781 U.S. 9, Livingston and 31 cases at the Pine Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 201 Main Street, Philmont.

“State DOH asked us to supply Barnwell with sufficient test kits to enable them to test the entire unit that has experienced the positive cases. We delivered the kits this morning,” Mr. Mabb said in the release.

“The County Health Department is willing to provide test kits to all the nursing homes in the county. These are our residents and their families deserve to know what’s going on and what’s being done to keep them safe,” he said, adding that four out of five nursing homes are testing symptomatic residents.

Other health department figures released April 28 indicate that 85 of the 169 positive cases have recovered from the virus; 15 of the positive cases are hospitalized, 4 of those hospitalized are in the ICU; 141 residents are under mandatory quarantine and 21 under precautionary quarantine. The DOH has received 1,219 completed test results for Columbia County residents.

With the concept of “contact tracing” becoming more prevalent in the fight against coronavirus, Columbia County Department of Health’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Chuck Kaiser explained in the April 28 release, that local health departments have been engaged in contact tracing since the beginning of this pandemic.

“It is part of the first line defense against a pathogen during the containment phase. Contact tracing continues during a pandemic, even throughout the mitigation phase, as long as it is feasible. There often comes a point when the resources are simply not enough to handle the number of people who need contact tracing,” Mr. Kaiser said.

The procedure involves “nothing more than identifying those individuals who have come in close contact—within six feet for more than 10 minutes—with a person who has either tested positive for Covid-19, or a person who meets all the criteria for being highly-suspected of having Covid-19.”

People who meet either of these criteria will be asked who they have come in close contact with within the past three days of the onset of their symptoms, or a positive test result, Mr. Kaiser said. Those people are the “contacts.”

Once that information is obtained, then all those contacts with an exposure risk are notified and advised to quarantine.

During their quarantine period they are asked to monitor for symptoms. If they should become symptomatic, they become a suspect case and the contact tracing begins all over again. Those suspect cases are then referred for testing to see if they are positive. This is using isolation and quarantine as a means to help keep the virus from spreading. Columbia County DOH and New York State DOH will continue to monitor the situation at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell, said the county’s release, which noted that “Barnwell staff did not return [the county’s] calls for comment.”

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 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 found at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.

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