Greene County officials blame DOCCS for COVID-19 outbreak in Greene County
Unfortunately, as a result of the significant increase in COVID-19 infections among the incarcerated population at Greene and Elmira Correctional Facilities, effective today, Oct 21, 2020, at 3pm, visitation at the 2 facilities will temporarily be suspended until further notice.— NYS DOCCS (@NYSDOCCS) October 21, 2020
While county leaders, from both political parties, in Dutchess, Ulster, Albany, and Rensselaer counties held regular press conferences and live online forums to inform citizens about COVID-19 during the beginning of the pandemic, Greene County officials still have not held any public forums where residents could ask questions or find out what efforts are being taken to lower the risk of transmission. On Oct. 21, though, two county officials put out a press release, the most they have done for public information during the course of the pandemic. And this press release was about the recent coronavirus outbreak in Greene County, which has led to cases in Greeneville and Catskill schools, and the Greene County Office Building in Catskill where early voting starts this weekend. But the press release starts off not with what residents should do to lower the spread of the dangerous virus, but saying that the COVID-19 outbreak is not their fault. “The recent spike in cases due to the lack of testing performed by DOCCS on its employees residing across the region has put increased stress on our public health system, our communities, and our economy – so far resulting in the closure of the Greenville Elementary School, and delaying the scaled-back reopening of movie theaters and performance venues”, said Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden in the press release. The same day, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, had an announcement of their own, without laying any blame. "Unfortunately, as a result of the significant increase in COVID-19 infections among the incarcerated population at Greene and Elmira Correctional Facilities, effective today, Oct 21, 2020, at 3 p.m., visitation at the two facilities will temporarily be suspended until further notice," DOCCS Tweeted. They have also suspended all transfers in or out of the facility. At least 100 inmates and 26 employees of the Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks. The press release from Greene County Legislature Chairperson Patrick Linger and Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden tells DOCCS three things they should do: Provide Greene County Public Health officials with the same level of access to DOCCS COVID information that nursing homes get; ensure all inmates test negative before being released from the Greene Correctional Facility; and "do appropriate testing." Meanwhile, five more COVID-19 cases were announced Oct. 21 in Greene County, and three more cases were announced in Columbia County.