Today, Matt Murell, chair of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, issued a press release that reveals the sources of the county's recent spike in new cases of COVID-19.
FIVE HOSPITALIZED FROM GHENT ASSISTED LIVING OUTBREAK
The Ghent Assisted Living Facility has experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 that finds five residents hospitalized, Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said Thursday. One resident that had been hospitalized has since died. Currently, 10 residents have tested positive for the virus, five of whom are now in the hospital, one in the ICU. Director Mabb said three staff members at the facility have also tested positive. "More tests are pending," he added.
In addition, six staff members at the Brookwood Secure Center in Claverack have tested positive. Three are Columbia County residents, one lives in Greene County, one lives in Albany and another lives in Schenectady. One female student has tested positive.
The county DOH reports 61 individuals are currently under mandatory quarantine. "This recent outbreak shows that the virus is alive and well in the community, and it can have a serious impact on people," said Director Mabb. "People have been asking if this is the second or third wave of the virus. To me, the virus never went away. It seems we're seeing positive test results every morning these days."
"Recently, we had a 10-day break when there were no reported positives," said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell. "I think that was mostly a result of good fortune and that most county residents continue to remain vigilant about hand washing, social distancing, and wearing their masks. As the cold weather arrives and we spend more time indoors, those three things remain critical."
Director Mabb said that his staff has experienced increasing pushback from some residents in the community who resist being isolated or quarantined after having tested positive. "It's unfortunate, but we have individuals in the community who appear to not take this disease seriously," he said.
Under a previously issued governor's executive order, for those who believe it is unnecessary to quarantine when having tested positive, it is indeed necessary that you do so. Failure to comply with this order can result in legal action requiring monitored isolation.
"We haven't done that so far because people have been self-compliant, but we may find ourselves in this position with those who don't want to cooperate and not [sic] work with the Department of Health," Director Mabb said.