As schools return to session and life begins to move indoors following a summer of outdoor activities, Governor Cuomo has stated that he may consider making the flu vaccine mandatory for all school-age children. No final decision, however, has yet to be announced.
“My office and the county Department of Health have received many inquiries about the possibility of the flu vaccine being made mandatory for school-age children, as well as what might happen when a COVID-19 vaccine is eventually developed and introduced to the public,” said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell on Monday.
“I would like nothing more than to be able to answer all those questions in a complete fashion, but in many ways our situation is very similar to that of the public’s, in that frequently we learn what the governor and national public health officials have in mind at roughly the same time. Our policy has been and remains to keep the public informed on all matters relating to the coronavirus pandemic. If nothing else, county residents can be assured that we will tell you what we know as soon as we know it,” Chairman Murell said.
ONE WEEK OF ZERO POSITIVE TEST RESULTS
For the first time in memory since the coronavirus pandemic began, Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb reported Monday that one week has gone by without one positive test for the virus in- county.
“That’s fantastic news,” said Director Mabb. “I really think it’s a reflection of people continuing to do the right things in terms of wearing face masks and social distancing. Of course, as summer fades and our lives move indoors, these practices will become even more important. I’m confident that our county residents are up to the challenge.”
UPCOMING COUNTY DOH FLU CLINIC SCHEDULE
The Columbia County Health Department has announced a series of upcoming seasonal flu vaccine drive-thru clinics for all Columbia County residents two years old and up. Pre-registration is required for the date you wish to be vaccinated – failure to register ahead of time will mean you cannot be vaccinated on that date. Each individual must complete a registration form, and photo ID is required for each adult.
If you are sick with any symptoms associated with the flu or COVID-19 illness (fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, chills, new loss of taste or smell, or extreme headache), do not go to the drive- thru clinic. Instead, call your primary care physician or the DOH at 518-828-3358 for further guidance.
Clinic registration can be completed by visiting the DOH website at http://www.columbiacountynyhealth.com and clicking on the link for the specific clinic you wish to attend. Those with internet access are advised to call the registration line at 518-828-335d ext. 1310. Leave your name and phone number and a DOH staff member will contact you to complete your registration.
The DOH accepts the following insurance plans: Blue Shield of North East New York, CDPHP, Fidelis, Medicare Part B, MVP, Medicaid, and United Health Care. Other senior plans may be billed, including some Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. If you are uninsured or underinsured, you may be eligible for a lower fee or no fee for the flu vaccine. All others are expected to pay a fee of $42 for the flu vaccine, with the exact cash amount or checks accepted. Debit or credit cards are not accepted.
The drive-thru clinic schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, September 23, 9-11 a.m., Roe Joe Library, Route 22, Hillsdale.
Wednesday, September 30, 9-11 a.m., Columbia County Fairgrounds, Chatham.
Saturday, October 3, 9 a.m. – 12 noon, Columbia-Greene Community College upper parking lot, Hudson.
Thursday, October 8, 9-11 a.m., Palatine Park, Germantown.
Saturday, October 17, 9-11 a.m., Ichabod Crane Central School, Valatie,
Thursday, October 22, 10 a.m. – 12 noon, New Lebanon Town Hall, New Lebanon.
The flu vaccine will also be offered by appointment only at the regularly scheduled immunization clinic every Tuesday from 1-3:30 p.m. at the county DOH building located at 325 Columbia Street, Hudson. An evening immunization clinic is also available on the third Tuesday of each month from 4-6 p.m. All clinics are by appointment only.
The flu vaccine is the best protection we have from the flu and its complication, and has become even more critical in the time of COVID-19. Talk to your doctor before getting the flu shot if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction to eggs or a previous flu shot, or have a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
FREE HAND SANITIZER FOR COUNTY BUSINESSES, ORGANIZATIONS
On Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, any municipal or private agency/organization that would like free NYS hand sanitizer can come to the Public Safety Facility (PSF) parking lot at 85 Industrial Tract, Hudson, where they will receive up to two cases (eight gallons) of hand sanitizer per week based upon the size and need of the organization. Small spray bottles of hand sanitizer will also be available.
“I would like to remind everyone that the hand sanitizer, which is provided to us by the state, can only be handed out to Columbia County businesses, non-profits, and municipal/governmental agencies,” said county Emergency Management Director Harrison.
Those coming to the PSF for hand sanitizer should enter the north entrance (NYS DOT side) of the PSF parking area, and drive to the white “Sheriff’s” utility trailer in front of the building. Emergency Management and Sheriff’s Department staff will dispense the hand sanitizer at that point.
COUNTY STILL ACCEPTING MASK DONATIONS
Those wishing to donate cloth masks to the county stockpile may contact the county Emergency Management office at 518-828-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or Supervisor Rob Lagonia at email@example.com