Local counties continue to break COVID-19 records
Every day recently local counties are reporting record numbers of new COVID-19 cases, and a rising number of hospitalizations and deaths. Columbia County broke its COVID-19 records with its Jan. 10 announcement, reporting 335 new cases and three more deaths. Columbia County has 18 people hospitalized with coronavirus, and three in intensive care. Across the Hudson River, Greene County reported 276 more cases on Jan. 10, and three more deaths. Currently, 41 Greene County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19. Mike Goodwin in the Times Union reported that Albany County is now averaging almost 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day. On Jan. 10, Albany County reported 1,115 new positive cases, making the county’s seven-day average of new daily positive cases 966. “This is the third consecutive day that I’ve had to report new daily COVID infections well above 1,000, a trend that is likely to continue.," Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said. "Unfortunately, we’re seeing hospitalizations moving in the wrong direction as well, and we now have the most county residents currently in the hospital with the virus since Feb. 4." Currently, there are 122 Albany County residents with the virus in the hospital, with 13 people in intensive care. Meanwhile in Ulster County, the Daily Freeman reported that almost a third of the Ulster County Jail’s 104 corrections officers, eight of the sheriff’s 57 full-time deputies, and 19 of the jail’s 152 inmates have COVID-19, as of Jan. 8. “It’s a petri dish,” Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa said of the jail, “It’s unfortunate, … sheriff’s offices throughout the region are going through this issue … (and) we just can’t move our inmates to any other locations.” Figueroa said he will cancel no-contact visits this week and is likely to close a special housing unit for inmates with opioid addiction. Correction officers who are not infected are working three or four double shifts in a row, according to the sheriff. Figueroa also said that inmates with underlying medical conditions who are within 30 days of the end of their sentences will likely be released early. “We are obligated, of course, and we will continue to do the job we are assigned to do with what we have,” he said. The correction officers there are not mandated to be vaccinated andFigueroa estimated that only 55 percent of Sheriff’s Office employees are vaccinated. By contrast, about 71 percent of Ulster County residents are fully vaccinated.