A spike in Covid-19 cases in Ulster County is largely due to more cases being discovered behind bars, according to an official in the county executive’s office. There are currently 177 active cases in the county, up from 110 two days ago, and the highest number since June 24. The percent of tests returned as positive rose to 4.7 percent Tuesday and was 3.5 percent Wednesday; the last time it was above three percent was on July 5.
Twenty-eight of 36 new cases included in the county figures updated Wednesday come from the Wallkill and Shawangunk state correctional facilities, according to Daniel Torres, assistant deputy to county executive Pat Ryan. “They do their own testing,” Torres said, and county officials do not get details on those data. Torres attributed a similar increase for Tuesday, when 31 new cases were listed, to those prison populations. He understands that more inmates are now being tested.
State prison officials declined to provide reasons for the increase in known cases. They have also not provided information about the number of staff members to have tested positive, or when the inmates who have been found to have this coronavirus were tested.
No cases have been reported in the Ulster County Jail.