News from Town Hall

We're still in uncharted territory.

Please do everything you can to stay healthy. If you're uncertain about how to stay healthy, check out Elizabeth Bledsoe's (Hillsdale Healthcare) pointers in this newsletter.

Also, please check on your neighbors. We need each other now.

Here's what I know tonight about the status of COVID-19 in Columbia County.

  • As of 5 pm on April 3, 2020, Columbia County has 58 positive cases of COVID-19. Four cases are located in Hillsdale. (These numbers reflect officially recorded cases - there are surely many more across the county.)
  • Positive cases in Columbia County range from an infant of two months to a 88-year old.
  • Two individuals have died.
  • Seven of the positive cases remain hospitalized and two of those are in the ICU.
  • We have received 427 test results for Columbia County residents.
  • In Columbia County, 60 people are under mandatory quarantine and 22 under precautionary quarantine.
  • There are 9 residents with suspected, not tested cases.
  • Test kits continue to be restricted to first responders, medical workers, and the seriously ill.
  • If you're experiencing symptoms, call your healthcare provider.

Given that information is changing frequently, please check for updates on the Town website. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or 646-373-5002.

Peter Cipkowski
Hillsdale Town Supervisor
Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett has announced a new hotline for the elderly and vulnerable in our county, including those with medical conditions or are disabled, and would welcome a deputy checking on their well-being on a daily basis.

The number for the hotline is 518-828-0601, extension 1400.

“Leave a message and someone will return your call,” said Bartlett. “A time frame, morning or afternoon, will be established for when a deputy will come to your residence. When the deputy comes by, he or she will knock on the door, then retreat to a safe distance and wait for someone to signal that all is well inside.”
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has extended open enrollment for the uninsured to May 15. The DOH has allowed for assistors to enroll individuals and their families via phone.

The Healthcare Consortium is the official resource in Columbia and Greene counties for health insurance enrollment through state DOH. The Healthcare Consortium has four full-time, certified Navigators who can help individuals and families shop for (and enroll in) a health insurance program, including Medicaid, the Essential Plan, and Child Health Plus, and Qualified Health Plans. A Healthcare Consortium Navigator can be reached at 518-822-8820.
Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell continues to urge anyone migrating from outside Columbia County to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.
“This is a critical component of our fight against the virus. We understand that people are coming here to escape the disease, but everyone should consider they are a carrier of the coronavirus,” said Murell.

“Full-time residents must continue to be vigilant in practicing social distancing and personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing, gloves, and masks. Even though COVID-19 has begun moving through Columbia County, we are nowhere near the peak of people we expect will eventually be infected. These simple actions will help not only you from contracting it, but from spreading it to someone else, including a loved one.”
Reports have been confusing and conflicting. We are learning more about how  COVID-19 affects people every day. Older people, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, appear to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms. But this is not a disease limited to the old or infirmed. 35% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are under the age of 40.

10 Pointers for Staying Healthy:

  1. Stay home. The safest way to avoid COVID-19 is to stay at home. Disinfect anything before bringing it inside. In fact, disinfect your home several times weekly - especially faucets and toilet handles.
  2. Wash your hands every couple of hours even when you spend long stretches of time in your home (wash your hands long enough to sing Happy Birthday twice).
  3. If you have long or artificial nails, cut them. They are germ pockets!
  4. Wear gloves and masks when going out. Masks can be homemade. You don't need a medical mask. Also, take only your keys and a credit card (and keep them in a "dirty pocket").
  5. Discard gloves before touching the inside of your wallet or getting in your car. If a trash receptacle is not available, use a trash bag in your car.
  6. Do not touch your face. When arriving home, strip off all outer clothes into a bag for wash and step straight into the shower.
  7. Limit trips out to once or twice a week. Opt for delivery or curbside pickup.
  8. Open your windows a couple of times a day to allow ventilation to cleanse the air.
  9. If you have a cough, red eyes, fever, diarrhea, or cold symptoms, please SELF-QUARANTINE IMMEDIATELY for 14 days. Don't wait for a test.
  10. Do not attend gatherings even with close friends. Always keep six feet distance from others when you're out. Assume that a person near you is infected. Or you yourself may be carrying the virus.

Please do not hesitate to contact if you have questions, concerns, or just need to talk. Leave a message for me at 518-325-2273. I will return your call.

Stay home. Stay safe. We will get through this.
Columbia County Department of Public Works has been monitoring the waste being brought into County stations and has decided to expand hours in Hillsdale, Germantown, and Livingston. Effective Monday, April 6, 2020, Hillsdale Station will now be open on Wednesday 7:30 am – 4:00 pm and on Saturday 7:30 am – 4:00 pm.
It’s important to stay alert for potential scams and fraudulent activity during COVID-19. Right now, scammers are offering false hope (from home test kits to an instant cure). Some scams warn you that your Social Security number is about to be revoked unless you respond. Some scammers are sending fake CDC or World Health Organization (WHO) emails. If these are not from an official CDC or WHO email, delete them and do not click on any links.

The Federal Trade Commission offers tips on how to avoid these scams. 
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) has launched new Columbia County emergency funds to rapidly deploy resources to the community as we respond to the impact of the coronavirus.

The Columbia County  Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund   makes emergency grants for medical, food, overdue utilities, and other critical services for people in crisis. These are flexible resources in the face of the current emergency. For information, contact Columbia Opportunities at 518 829-4611 or Catholic Charities of Columbia & Greene Counties 518 828-8660. Or explore the link below.
The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will support nonprofit organizations working with individuals and families who are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak.
The Business Continuity Fund will provide cash grants to small businesses operating in communities impacted by the economic consequences of the virus.
Hillsdale's Doorstep Deliverers is bringing groceries and medication to senior, immunocompromised, and otherwise at-risk community members facing COVID-19. Its 45 volunteers have been busy making deliveries in Hudson, Copake, Craryville, Hillsdale, Egremont, Great Barrington, and Pittsfield. Seeking to support local businesses that do not have the capacity to offer free deliveries, they deliver from any local supermarket or store that offers “curbside” pickup of orders paid for by phone.

The volunteer group was started by students Reed Lessing and Kate Segel. If you or someone you know can benefit from this service, visit their website or call (518) 227-0613 .
The Roe Jan Food Pantry is serving the needs of many more families than usual during this period of crisis. They're open on Fridays from 10 am to noon. If you use the pantry, please follow the guidelines on their webpage.

You can also support local restaurants that have been required to close during the pandemic. Several have been offering takeout options. Also, local grocery and farm stores remain open and offers safe ways to shop and pickup.

Explore resources on the Town website and on the nifty graphic below (with thanks to Tod Wohlfarth). C all to confirm hours, menus, and special services.