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As outbreak grows, Columbia County may hand out fines for maskless

Oct 28, 2020 6:39 am
Mikhaela Singleton reports for News10 in Albany that Columbia County may start fining businesses where people are not wearing masks in public. “We haven’t done any fines, and I would certainly love to see that not happen," Public Health Director Jack Mabb said. There were 13 new COVID-19 cases announced Oct. 27 in Columbia County, with the 40th overall death there. Five more cases were announced Oct. 27 in Greene County, for 60 total. And all of the surrounding counties are also announcing increasing case numbers and more deaths. The outbreak at the Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie in Greene County led to an outbreak at the Ghent Assisted Living Facility in Columbia County. So far, 45 out of 73 people living at the Ghent Assisted Living Facility have tested positive, 17 are in the hospital, and three have died. More than a dozen staff are sick at the Brookwood Secure Center for juvenile offenders in Claverack, and there have also been cases in the Ichabod Crane, Hudson, Catskill, and Greenville schools. A high school student in the Taconic Hills Central School District tested positive for COVID-19, the school district announced on Oct. 27. So Mabb says handing out fines for those not wearing masks may now be necessary. “The overall community spread is very low, but at the same time, we’re all experiencing pandemic fatigue and it’s come to our attention where some are not following these protocols,” he says. The health department is getting multiple reports of maskless people at local convenience stores, gas stations, and event venues. “I don’t want to be the bad guy, I don’t want my department to be, people looking at us like we are the mask police, but again I think that we have to keep doing this, we have to keep the masks going, we have to think about what we’re doing when it comes to the gatherings,” Mabb says. Read more about this story at the News10 website.