Before I was tipped off by a reader to the Times Union article that provided insight into the the spike in COVID cases here in Hudson, I was starting to write a post sharing one of Governor Cuomo's press releases from today. I was going to introduce the press release by saying the eleven new cases in the past week may not qualify Hudson as a hot spot, but it is highest weekly increase Hudson has seen since the Columbia County Department of Health started releasing the breakdown of cases by municipality on April 10. That was twenty-five weeks ago. Since then, there have been twelve weeks with no new cases in Hudson at all; seven weeks with just one new case; and three weeks with two cases. Up until today, the highest number of new cases happened in May, when there were six new cases one week (May 1) and five new cases the next (May 8), and then there was last week (September 25), when there were four new cases in Hudson.
We now know that nine of the eleven new cases in Hudson this week have to do with a fruit farm that is outside the city, but they are attributed to Hudson because the workers from the farm all live together in a single residence here in Hudson. Jack Mabb, the director of the CCDOH, is assuring us, "There is no indication that this outbreak presents a danger to the public at large." Still there is reason to be vigilant--for our own health and for the fiscal health of our city.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Commissioner of Health will send an order to COVID-19 hot spot local governments today establishing a framework for reporting their enforcement activities and setting specific consequences for failure to enforce the State Department of Health Emergency Regulations and the Governor's Executive Orders related to social distancing, mask compliance, and capacity limitations. If local governments do not enforce these legally binding requirements, they will be in violation of the order and can be subject to fines.
"The Commissioner of Health will issue a Section 16 order to the local governments advising them that they have to step up the compliance, that it is the law and if local governments don't step up the compliance, they will actually be in violation of the law and they can be fined. I have asked the local governments many times to actually do the compliance," Governor Cuomo said. "Compliance is not public education--it is enforcement. People know what the rules are and they've heard them every day. Local governments have to do enforcement. Whether or not it fits with their political agenda really is pointless. It's the law and their job is to enforce the law.""
Failure to adhere to the order can result in penalties of up to $10,000 per day, pursuant to Section 12-b of the state Public Health Law.