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Ulster County gives out COVID-19 tests

Dec 14, 2021 2:02 pm

Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman that as the United States nears 800,000 deaths from COVID-19, Ulster County on Dec. 14 began distributing free COVID-19 test kits. COVID-19 cases are reaching pre-vaccine levels, and most counties are not taking any steps at all to stop the spread. Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a statewide mask mandate that began on Dec. 13, and ended a few minutes later, as county officials in Dutchess, Greene, and other counties said they would just ignore the rules, and Hochul let them. Last week, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan declared a state of emergency there because of the rising case counts, and secured 33,000 test kits to give out to residents. Meanwhile in Columbia County, two more COVID-19 deaths were announced Dec. 13. “One of them had been on a vent for awhile, his condition was never really all that great,” Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said. “The other one it happened kind of quick, it was an unexpected quick decline.” That is now five COVID-19 deaths in Columbia County in the first half of December. The health department is overwhelmed. “Like a lot of health departments out there, we’re kind of maxed out,” Mabb said. “When it comes to vaccination effort, we’re behind with the numbers that we pulled in over the weekend, in terms of contact tracing and calling people. What we will do is, if we get calls from somebody that’s saying a certain establishment isn’t enforcing the mask mandate, I have a few people from environmental who can go to an establishment and talk to them, educate them about the mask requirement.”