HUDSON – Columbia County on Friday reported its first confirmed case of the UK variant COVID-19.
Columbia County Health Department Director Jack Mabb said Friday afternoon he had received confirmation of a case of the British variant in the county.
The British virus variant has been determined to spread more easily than other variants, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The first known case in the US was confirmed in December 2020.
The Columbia County case was discovered through randomized testing by the Wadsworth Center, the state laboratory in Albany, which runs COVID-19 tests for the region.
“There are other positives around here. “The state Health Department is sequencing the DNA to see if there are more clusters or just one person,” Mabb said.
Once other area COVID tests are sequenced, it will be known whether more cases of the British variant exist in the country.
Not every COVID test is screened for all different strains of the virus, Mabb said, adding it is possible that the Wadsworth Center randomly checked several tests for different strains of the virus.
At this time, it has not reported any cases of other virus variants, such as those first found in Brazil and South Africa.
The CDC reports that experts in the UK believe that the British variant may be associated with an increased risk of death compared to other variant viruses, but more research is needed to confirm their findings. Since then it has been detected in many countries around the world.
New York state reported the first case of the British variant in early January in an employee at a jewelery shop in Saratoga Springs. Wadsworth’s Laboratory sequenced the virus from five additional employees of the jewelery shop who tested positive for COVID-19 and confirmed that the British strain was in the two people, according to an announcement from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.
The Columbia County Department of Health reported one new COVID-related death on Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus in the county to 88, with 38 occurring since the start of the year. Greene County has seen 67 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic, with 40 reported in 2021.
In recent weeks, the number of new COVID cases in the two countries has slowed significantly since reaching a peak in January.
“It’s interesting because eight seems to be the magic number,” Mabb said Friday. “Maybe in this past week, out of seven days we had five days where the number of new cases was eight, this morning 12, so it’s still hanging out there.”
The number of hospitalizations in the regency has remained around 10 over the past few days, Mabb said.
There are still people seriously ill in the area from the virus, said Mabb, with two in the intensive care unit. One of them is on a ventilator and one has had a tracheostomy to help get air into the lungs.
“Just a few weeks ago we were in about 30 hospitalizations,” said Mabb. “That’s for the better.”
The Columbia County Department of Health has reported 3,587 positive COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. There are 227 people in mandatory quarantine with 74 active cases in the district, according to the Health Ministry. This is the lowest number of active cases reported since early December. The number of active cases in the district peaked at 515 on January 22, and the infection rate has gradually decreased over the past few weeks.
The Greene County Department of Public Health reported a total of 2,597 positive COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 88 active cases. The number of active cases is higher than before in months when there were few days of active cases in the mid to lower 60s.
The state’s COVID vaccine tracking website records the number of COVID vaccines given to each area, including vaccines that have been administered by local health departments, in nursing homes and care facilities and by pharmacies in the area. In Columbia County, 10,994 first doses of the COVID vaccine have been given to residents and 5,235 of these people have received a second dose of the vaccine, according to the state’s COVID vaccine tracking website.
In Greene County 6,666 people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 3,243 people have received both doses.
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