COVID-19 outbreak in Columbia County Jail, as local positivity rate grows
Natasha Vaughn-Holdridge reports for Columbia-Greene Media that the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office claimed Dec. 8 that a COVID-19 outbreak at Columbia County Jail is under control. Five corrections officers and seven incarcerated people there contracted coronavirus recently. “We’ve had a few positives there before, but I think by the numbers, this is the biggest,” Columbia County Health Department Director Jack Mabb said. “We get a few inmates, and then they would isolate successfully, ride it out, then we would get a couple of COs here and there, but in both cases the numbers are the highest we’ve had.” Capt. Patrick Delaney, the jail’s chief corrections officer, said everything is just fine now, but did not say why. “Yes, I think it’s contained,” Delaney said Wednesday. “No one knows what’s going to happen with COVID, but we’ve been lucky. And we follow the protocols set forth by the commission and the health department and do what they say.” Mabb and Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett both said they did not know the vaccination status of the individuals who tested positive. Bartlett, who lost his reelection campaign in November, was also vague, saying the facility does everything correctly, even with so many new cases. “We have a very strict COVID protocol that we started right at the beginning of COVID,” Bartlett said. “Working with the state, and working with the county department of health, and it’s really kept it out of our facility.” Currently the 9.4 percent seven-day average positivity rate in Columbia County is more than double the 4.9 percent statewide average according to data from the state Department of Health. Columbia County Emergency Management Director David W. Harrison Jr. earlier this week said his department is recommending but not mandating mask wearing when indoors. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.