With the Columbia County Department of Health anticipating delivery of 1,000 test kits at the end of this week, various scenarios are being worked through in regards to how testing will be conducted in the community.
These test kits are Thermo Fisher kits, which are one of the 29 FDA-approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) kits currently available, said DOH Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Chuck Kaiser.
“We continue to look into serologic rapid test kits, and look forward to when one or more of these kits become FDA approved. Once these approved serologic test kits are readily available, they will help provide, along with the RNA tests, much-needed information on how the virus is affecting the community, and what type of immunity might be developing,” he said.
COUNTY BUILDING CLOSURE TO PUBLIC ORDER HAS BEEN EXTENDED
Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell announced Wednesday that the closure of county buildings to the public has been extended through May 1st. Departments deemed essential will continue to be staffed.
“As we have in the past, we continue to proceed in two-week increments as we continually re-examine our options as the virus works its way around the county,” Murell said.
With the addition of $5,000 received this week from the Home for the Aged; to date, Columbia County has received a total of $26,150 in donations from the public to be applied toward the coronavirus fight, said Murell.
Along with the $5,000, $10,000 each has been donated by Jack Shear and by Michael and Anne Golden, $1,000 by Fingar Insurance, $100 from Geraldine Keller, and $50 from Richard and Catherine Draper.
We couldn’t be more appreciative for the donation of these funds,” Murell said.
“The money has been very helpful with the purchase of our first round of test kits, and will certainly be useful in a similar regard going forward.”
Financial 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 advised to send a check 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, NY 12534. All money received is being placed in a dedicated account.
OTHER FORMS OF DONATIONS
PPE – Those wishing to make donations of 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 no one answers, leave a message and someone will return the call.
MASKS – Looking ahead to the day New York State begins to ease some restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, Columbia County has begun to ramp up its mask purchasing, at the same time recognizing the tremendous support in terms of mask donations that has come from the community.
Austerlitz Town Supervisor and county Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Rob Lagonia, who has been at the forefront of taking in mask donations over the past several weeks, said earlier this week that “home sewers have really fired up their sewing machines. We’re receiving donations of 100 masks, or 25 masks, or 50, almost daily. It doesn’t matter whether it’s five or 100, we need every one.”
For those wishing to make a donation, Lagonia can be contacted at email@example.com
Lagonia recommends that those wishing to help out with mask donations consult CDC guidelines at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
“If possible,” said Lagonia, “square, cloth masks are the best, with elastic if possible. Solid colors are preferred, but really any are fine. Under current conditions, we need, and will use, whatever we can get. At the same time, everyone should understand that cloth masks are a last-ditch option – they are not equal to a surgical or procedural mask, but cloth does provide a barrier if you should sneeze or cough.”
Added county Director of Emergency Services David W. Harrison, Jr., “Emergency Management can only provide medical grade masks when requested from the New York State stockpile for eligible agencies, medical/healthcare, nursing home, emergency personnel, and the like. Emergency Management cannot provide non-medical face coverings.”
FOOD – donations should be directed to the county Office for the Aging (518-828-4258) and local food pantries.
HOTLINE FOR ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE
Sheriff David Bartlett has established a hotline for the elderly and vulnerable in our county, including those with medical conditions or are disabled, who would welcome a Deputy checking on their well-being on a daily basis. The number for the hotline is 518-828-0601, extension 1400.
Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell continues to urge anyone migrating from outside Columbia County to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. “Everyone should consider they are a carrier of the coronavirus,” said Murell.