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Casual gatherings driving local COVID-19 outbreak

Nov 19, 2020 6:33 am
The number of COVID-19 cases across the country, and across New York State, continues to skyrocket, often hitting record numbers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out the current dire situation in a Nov. 18 press conference. PLAY OR DOWNLOAD EXCERPT OF CUOMO PRESS CONFERENCE Now, though, the large numbers of COVID-19 cases are here in the Hudson Valley. But government officials are still taking little action to change those deadly coronavirus statistics. For instance, Cuomo says he wants police to step in and stop large holiday gatherings, and make sure folks wear masks in public. But he also says it is an honor system. "Nobody is saying knock on doors and count heads," the governor said. "But you come across a gathering for one reason or another and there’s 20 people there, you say, 'This can’t happen.'" What will happen, is that case counts will continue to rise. On Nov. 18, Columbia County officials reported 11 new cases, and Greene County officials said there were seven more across the Hudson River. There were three more Rensselaer County deaths due to complications from COVID-19 announced Nov. 18. Two were residents of the Van Rensselaer Manor, the county-run nursing home in North Greenbush. In Albany County, officials announced 96 positive cases Nov. 18, and two more deaths. Ulster County had 33 more cases announced Nov. 18, and Dutchess County has had 11 deaths in the last 13 days. Dutchess County Health Commissioner Dr. Anil Vaidian said the majority of cases now come from non-public, casual gatherings, as citizens ignore Cuomo's edict. Local schools may all be closed to in-person classes soon. Dutchess school leaders are debating moving to full remote learning through the holidays. Students in grades 7-12 in the Germantown Central School District are now on all-remote classes until at least November 30, because of a coronavirus case there. Columbia High School has also gone to remote learning, and many faculty and staff at Rensselaer, Niskayuna, Averill Park, and Lansingburgh schools are under quarantine.
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