Tuesday, December 29, 2020

COVID Is Everywhere. You're on Your Own.

Yesterday, in a press release from Board of Supervisors chair Matt Murell, Jack Mabb, director of the Columbia County Department of Health, announced that the CCDOH would no longer provide its weekly breakdown of COVID cases by municipality and congregate living facility. He also indicated that "other categories of reporting may be eliminated in the future if the need arises." Mabb's advice: "Everyone needs to keep in mind that regardless of where you are when out in public, there is most likely someone positive with the virus in your vicinity. Act accordingly."

Yesterday, too, the Register-Star reported that two businesses in Hudson, The Second Show and Patisserie Lenox, were temporarily closed because an employee had tested positive for the coronavirus: "2 stores on Warren closed due to COVID." The public was notified of the closures by, in the case of The Second Show, a post on Facebook and, in the case of Patisserie Lenox, a sign on the door. In neither case did the CCDOH think it necessary to alert the public. Speaking of the situation at The Second Show, Mabb commented, "When you look at people coming into the store and browsing, for us it didn't add up to anything we should have alarmed the public about. . . . You probably have a higher risk of walking around Walmart because there's probably positives there." In the case of Patisserie Lenox, Mabb said the pastry shop was owned by people who lived in Great Barrington, and so the CCDOH had not been notified.

To learn what's happening in the county generally, although not what's happening in Hudson specifically, we must now rely on the dashboards maintained by the New York State Department of Health. Gossips has long hosted a link to the Percentage Positive Results by County Dashboard, which reports the number of people tested, the number who tested positive, the percent positive for the previous 24 hours, and the seven-day and fourteen-day average positivity rates. This information is updated daily, usually sometime in the afternoon. To access this dashboard, click on the hyperlink in the right column. (It's the dark blue tab.)

There are also several other dashboards of interest: the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard, which reports, by region, new infections, severity of infection (i.e., number of hospitalizations per 100,000), and hospital capacity; the COVID-19 Tracker, which provides county by county data on testing, positive cases, and fatalities; and the Daily Hospitalization Rate by Region. All of these dashboards are updated daily. 

The hospitalization rate data is pretty sobering. The graph below, taken from the New York Forward dashboard, tracks the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Capital Region from March 28 (at the left) until yesterday, December 28 (at the right). There are far more people hospitalized with the virus now than there have been at any time during the nine long months of the pandemic. 



  1. Jack Mabb seems to be in way over his head and sinking fast. This is a difficult situation and worsening, but do I sense that he and the entire CCDOH are not up to the task, unable to display any assuredness?

  2. Yesterday I looked at Ulster and Dutchess county department of health websites. They are a world apart from Columbia's. User friendly, well managed and detailed information. What's going on here? Thank you for the links and the time you invested in linking them up for us. But we should be able to go to our county's site and be provided with vital information. Shop closures should be announced there too. We shouldn't have to fish around on any number of shops all over town to find out if there's been any infection. Who can afford to do this. This is the health department's job.

  3. The last posting on the website was Dec 21 - we have a problem

  4. On the upside, the ration of hospitalized to ICU is way down, indicating more successful treatment.

  5. I have to say, overall the official response locally has been really poor. It's disconcerting, as our numbers rise....