We're all consumed these days with the news and anxiety surrounding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). That said, I wanted to update you on some measures being taken locally to prepare for, and combat, the virus.
COLUMBIA MEMORIAL HEALTH
As of this morning (March 12, 2020) no CMH patient has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is a very dynamic situation, however, and as we have seen in other areas of the state and nation, a positive test may occur in the future in our region.
We've established a hotline for persons concerned that they may have contracted the virus. If you have a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, or if you have reason to believe you have been exposed to the coronavirus, please call the hotline at 518-828-8249. A trained staff member will provide guidance concerning testing, care and protective protocols. To best protect you, our patients, our staff and the public, it is very important that you call this number before seeking testing or care for a coronavirus related concern. As always, if there is an emergent need for care of any kind, come directly to the ER without delay.
We will provide updates as the situation evolves. It is important to remember over 80% of those infected with coronavirus have only mild symptoms. The best thing we all can do is to remain calm and follow the CDC recommendations to help prevent the virus from spreading. See the recommendations HERE.
Do your part: stay calm, focus on prevention and call the hotline if you have the symptoms listed above or have been exposed to a confirmed positive case.
As of 9:30am on March 12, 2020, Columbia County has no positive cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). We encourage you to continue to seek reputable sources for your information. These can be found on our website.
Other reputable sources include the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and the New York State Department of Health.
COLUMBIA COUNTY PREPARES FOR CORONAVIRUS
HUDSON -- “The Columbia County Board of Supervisors and county personnel are taking all precautions in the fight against the coronavirus, or COVID-19. This includes protecting our residents to the extent possible and making plans for the county to continue carrying out its business in the event a major outbreak occurs here,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said today.
The county is monitoring the situation and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), NYS departments of Health and Education, and the Columbia County Department of Health.
At the county Department of Health, Public Health Director Jack Mabb called COVID-19 an “incredibly fluid situation. The CDC is screening people as they come into the country if they have a fever, or if they have a travel history” involving one of the countries with people who have been infected.
If a county resident tests positive in that situation, or if they have traveled to a country with people who have tested positive, county DoH is notified. Its job is to then make sure that the resident is able to effectively self-quarantine.
To date, no county residents have testified positive for the virus. One person is self-quarantining after traveling through Italy, Mabb said. “We make sure they have thermometers. Fever is the big criteria.”
In the early stages of the coronavirus situation, Mabb said, the Centers for Disease Control “was all about containment. Now, it’s about mitigation. We will continue to try to contain it, but we probably won’t be able to So what can we do to slow it down in a community.”
Mabb said the county is also working closely with leadership of the six county school districts on COVID-19 response.
“The department has received a number of calls from organizations regarding live events that will attract a lot of people, asking whether they should cancel or not. Our job is not to say you must cancel, but in most cases we do in fact recommend that they postpone their event,” Mabb said.
To keep-up-to date on announcements pertaining to COVID-19, the county Department of Health website can be found at columbiacountynyhealth.com.
Director of Emergency Management David Harrison said that county leaders “have been involved in insuring that all county departments and services can continue” in the event of a widespread outbreak here.
Harrison pointed out that a continuation of operations plan is part of good emergency management practices. “What we’re doing is part of that. While we train for a large scale power outage, that training provides county department heads and leadership with a plan on how to handle other things such things as a building being destroyed, or a large number of employees out of work. Fire services and EMS has to go on. We are always meeting, always planning,” he said.
“I would like to stress to everyone to not panic,” Harrison added.
From the standpoint of county emergency services, Emergency Medical Services Coordinator PJ Keeler noted that he and the county EMS agencies “have been in constant contact with the state Bureau of EMS, which puts out policy statements and practitioner guidance as to personal protective measures we need to take when we go out on a call.”
“Most important,” he continued, “is the 911 center. It has instituted a screening process that will hopefully identify patients prior to our arrival. An example: If someone were to call in and say they have difficulty breathing, part of that screening process would include such questions as have they traveled?, do they have a fever?, and so on.”
The screening process gives emergency responders the opportunity to take protective measures. The responders, in turn, would notify the hospital of the patient’s condition prior to their arrival so the hospital can be prepared as well, Keeler said.
Keeler added that the EMS plan is the same as has been in place and practiced in previous situations, such as during the SARS outbreak.
At the county Office for the Aging, Administrator Kevin McDonald said that as a contingency the plan is to begin preparing extra frozen meals to have in stock.
“That’s in case, for whatever reason, we are unable to deliver a hot meal – we would be able to drop off five frozen meals for the week. We also want to be able to make available self-staple meals, or meals that that can be prepared without cooking. We give those out during the winter season anyway so that people have something to eat if we can’t get a hot meal to them,” he said.
Repeating the words of Emergency Management’s Harrison, McDonald added, “The last thing we want to do is panic people.”
As a best practice for overall health in cold and influenza season, the CDC recommends that individuals receive the influenza vaccination and engage in everyday, preventative measures to prevent the spread of germs and avoid illness, such as:
· Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
· Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
· Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
· Stay home when you are sick.
· Cover your cough or sneeze with the crease of your elbow.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
· Take any anti-viral medication prescribed to you as instructed by your physician.
If you or a family member start showing symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, or the hospital emergency room, inform them that you may be a suspect case for COVID-19, and follow their advice.
FROM PINE HAVEN NURSING HOME: “In cooperation with our local health authorities regarding COVID-19 safeguards, our facility will not be allowing any visitors at this time until further notice. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.” Read More.
At the December meeting of the Claverack Town Council, the Town of Claverack became Columbia County’s first Purple Heart Community, joining other municipalities across the country along the symbolic Purple Heart Trail.
As a Purple Heart Community, Claverack pays tribute to our nation’s military service members who have been injured or killed in combat.
New York State Senator Daphne Jordan was on hand at the meeting to present the Town Board with a Senate Proclamation.
“This is a special honor for Claverack to be able to formally thank and pay tribute to our wounded military members,” said Claverack Supervisor Kippy Weigelt. “I thank Senator Jordan for her support of this program and her leadership on this and other veteran programs and issues. Most importantly, I thank all of our Purple Heart heroes – living and passed – for their service and great sacrifice.”
Senator Jordan’s office is working closely with local governments all across the 43rd Senate District in encouraging more localities to become Purple Heart Communities to help recognize the courage and sacrifice of the men and women of America’s armed forces.
To learn more about becoming a Purple Heart Community, e-mail Senator Jordan’s office at email@example.com.
The Town of Claverack has been designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy locally.
Announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in August 2016, the Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the state by providing grants to eligible municipalities to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities.
The Town of Claverack received the designation for completing four of 10 possible high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative.
“We are so proud the Town of Claverack has achieved this designation. It will allow us to become more aware of energy efficiencies, lower are utility costs and take advantage of the technical support now available to our Town when working on future projects,” said Supervisor Kippy Weigelt.
“Congratulations to the Town of Claverack for making this important step towards a cleaner and more renewable energy future,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA.
To earn the Clean Energy Community designation, the Town of Claverack completed the following high-impact clean energy actions:
Clean Energy Community Coordinators are available at no charge to help communities develop and prioritize clean energy goals, access easy-to-use resources such as guidance documents and case studies, and take advantage of available funding and technical assistance opportunities.
For more information on Clean Energy Communities, visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec. Local government officials or employees can find contact information for their respective coordinator here for assistance navigating the program.
Claverack taxpayers will see their third straight year of tax cuts in 2020 under the watchful eye and conservative budgeting practices of Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt, Deputy Town Supervisor Steve Hook and fiscally conservative members of the Claverack Town Board.
The 2020 budget contains a tax decrease of 1.9%, the largest tax cut for Claverack taxpayers in recent history, and is more than $58,000 under the New York State Tax Cap.
The budget contains $2.7-million in spending.
While the budget includes significant cost savings to Claverack taxpayers, it also includes several upgrades and increases to meaningful town programs and services.
The budget includes a 2% raise to payroll and increases in the minimum wage. It also contains funding for assessment re-evaluation with the County, includes funding for additional park maintenance and repair costs and increases spending on senior programs.
“We’re focused on doing more with less,” said Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt. “It’s not an easy job cutting the budget, but our taxpayers are at their limit. They need relief. We’ve done the hard work they elected us to do and we’re doing it without cutting services.”
The Town of Claverack has been able to control expenses through increased efficiencies, including consolidation of town positions and job duties, sharing services with other municipalities and creating a long term capital spending plan. At the same time, the town has made improvements and upgrades to infrastructure, town parks and highway equipment.
Our first significant winter storm of the year is expected to impact Claverack Sunday and Monday.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the entire area through Monday evening.
Snow is expected to begin late morning/mid-day on Sunday. We'll likely see snow taper off for a time Sunday night, then pick back up again on Monday.
Travel will be difficult Sunday evening, and during the Monday morning commute. Please plan your travel accordingly.
The holidays are coming and our local small businesses here in Claverack and beyond are counting on our support. Shopping local helps to support our local economy. Our local small business owners donate more to local non-profits and community organizations than the big retailers. Supporting local businesses helps the entire community!
This Christmas, make an effort to shop local..
Need a gift certificate for a great meal and night out... how about High Falls Pizzeria & Tap House in Philmont?
How about an updated family portrait by Photo-Art by Ken Bovat?
Need some light catering for a meal or holiday party... how about Mcnan's Variety Foods in Philmont (they're great!)?
Looking for a great gift for the gardener in your family? Visit AgwayNY in the hamlet.
Planning an evening out with a group? Let Michael S Johnston LLC's party bus transport you in style.
Choose Claverack Package Store / Wine and Spirits or Olde York Farm: Distillery & Cooperage for that perfect bottle of cheer!
Engraved gifts available from Next Gen Signs Inc and beautiful pieces of custom made furniture from KyTa Custom Furniture.
Let Ginsberg's Foods help with delicious food for your holiday get together.
This is just a sampling of the small businesses out there. There's lots here in Claverack and beyond.
SHOP LOCAL THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON!
Claverack property owners wishing to pay their 2018 taxes early, pursuant to NYS Executive Order 172, may do so in person at the Town Office on Friday, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, or by mail – postmarked no later than December 31, 2017.
For additional information, contact the Town Office at 518-672-7911, Ext 100. To view/download your 2018 tax bill, visit the town website: www.townofclaverack.com
CLAVERACK CONTINUES TO FIND EFFICIENCY IN CONSOLIDATION
We continue to consolidate and streamline town operations, the latest being in the town's Building Department. In the past, Claverack – like many other towns, has maintained separate Building Inspector and town Code Enforcement Officer positions. This year however, recognizing the opportunity to improve efficiency and bring down costs, we've consolidated those two positions into one single position, and named James "Jay" Trapp to the new Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer position. The consolidation will save approximately 30 hours per week in salary costs. Read More.
LINDA LAVIN OF 'ALICE' AND ACTOR-HUSBAND TO OPEN RESTAURANT IN CLAVERACK
In the 1970s and 1980s, actress Linda Lavin played a diner waitress in the popular sitcom “Alice.” Today, she plans to open a restaurant in Claverack with her husband. Read More.
CLAVERACK REPUBLICANS PLAN ANNUAL EASTER EGG HUNT
The Claverack Republican Club will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, April 15 at the Claverack Town Park, off Church Street, Mellenville. The grounds will open at 10 a.m. with the hunts getting underway at 11 a.m., rain, snow or sun. Admission is free. Read More.
BROADBAND UPDATE - MAPS RELEASED
We continue to stay engaged in the effort to expand and improve broadband coverage, and to keep you informed on the progress being made. Recently, the County Broadband Committee posted coverage maps for each municipality in the county. For all the latest information related to broadband, including the new maps for Claverack, click here.
ATTENTION CLAVERACK VETERANS - SPORTSMEN'S CLUB PLANS APPRECIATION EVENT
In appreciation for their service, Veterans are invited to attend a fun filled day at the range for no charge. Read More.
CLAVERACK – The Town of Claverack continues to consolidate and streamline town operations under the leadership of Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt. The latest example being in the town’s building department.
In the past, Claverack – like many other towns, has maintained separate Building Inspector and town Code Enforcement Officer positions. This year however, recognizing the opportunity to improve efficiency and bring down costs, Claverack has consolidated those two positions into one single position. The consolidation will save approximately 30 hours per week in salary costs.
After an exhaustive search and interview process, James “Jay” Trapp, an engineer and New York State certified building inspector from Red Hook, was appointed to the new position. Trapp serves in similar roles for the towns of Livingston and Germantown and is well known for his vast experience in New York State building code compliance.
“We were looking for an experienced person who would not only apply the law firmly and fairly, but also have the people-skills to work with residents and businesses to make their experience as positive as possible,” said Deputy Town Supervisor Stephen Hook, who serves as liaison to the building department. “Jay Trapp fits that mold perfectly,” Hook added.
In addition to his duties as town Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer, Trapp will also provide annual training to town Planning Board and Zoning Board members. This training, required by the state, helps ensure board members are well versed in applicable law and procedure and properly trained to serve the planning needs of town residents.
Those wishing to reach the Town of Claverack Building Department may do so by calling 518-672-7911 Ext. 108, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is with profound sorrow that we acknowledge the passing of our friend James Van Deusen.
Jim passed away yesterday, March 15, 2017, following a brief illness.
Jim was well known throughout Columbia County and faithfully served his community in many roles. He was a longtime Claverack Town Councilman and Deputy Town Supervisor. He was Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners and past Chief of the Claverack Fire District (A.B. Shaw Fire Company), past Columbia County Fire Coordinator, and an avid member of the Claverack Republican Club and the Columbia Car Cruisers.
But despite his many titles, Jim was perhaps best known simply as a good friend, devoted family man, and caring neighbor. He and his wife Wanda opened their hearts and home to everyone and anyone. They loved their family, their friends, and their town – and Claverack loved them.
We offer our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Jim’s daughters Jodi and Karen, his grandchildren and extended family, his many friends, and of course his fellow firefighters who all grieve his passing.
We thank you Jim for your service. We will miss you, friend.