Ryan: Ulster has had worst 48 hours since pandemic began

Active cases in Ulster County since the spring

The Covid-19 news just keeps getting worse here in Ulster County.

As the county set yet another record for active cases, jumping from 1044 yesterday to 1142 today, now well above the previous high mark of 1009 set April 26, it also saw a 50 percent increase in hospitalizations in two days, from 8 to 12. In addition, the percentage of positive tests was 7.2 percent, up from an average of around 1 percent throughout the summer and early fall.

In his Covid-19 update this afternoon, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan called the last two days the “single worst 48-hour period since the beginning of the pandemic by pretty much all measures” and warned that “if we don’t’ start to flatten this curve, this is going to be a very long, a very dark, and a very difficult winter.”

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Hospital capacity

Ryan said the latest numbers don’t include an expected surge in cases from gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday last week, so it is likely the caseload will continue to rise in the coming days.

The second wave is now clearly worse that the first wave, said Ryan. Fatigue over mask-wearing, social-distancing, desire to return to normal activities and socialization are all factors, and the knowledge that a vaccine is being rolled out soon are all factors driving the increase, said the county executive. Ryan once again pleaded for residents to adopt the mindset they had in the spring and stay home whenever possible, avoid in-person socialization, wear masks, wash hands, and treat every person as potentially infected but asymptomatic.

“It is easy for all of us to feel powerless, to feel our spirits dip, and say, well what can we do?” said the executive. “It almost seems like this is out of our hands. It very much is still in our hands, in terms of how quickly we can flatten this curve, and ultimately how high the peak goes.”

Ryan said the county is working to increase testing capacity, add more staff for contact tracing, and readying for speedy vaccine distribution as limited doses become available later this month, with priority going to health-care workers.

No new restrictions were announced. The county hasn’t yet been deemed a “yellow zone” under the governor’s criteria, which carries restrictions on capacity but leaves all types of businesses and schools open, but it is headed in that direction. A key requirement is 10 consecutive days with a rolling 7-day positivity average of greater than 3 percent. Today, Ulster has been above 3 percent for a week and above 4 percent for four days. If it hits 10 days at above 4 percent, the county will be deemed an orange zone and a host of restrictions will kick in, including no indoor dining and closures of gyms and other “non-essential” businesses.

The state’s “cluster strategy” — at the current rate of growth, Ulster will enter the yellow zone in three days and the orange zone in six days.

Ulster has a total cumulative caseload since spring of 3,718. Of that, 2,475 have recovered, 101 have died, and 1142 are still actively infected.

For more information testing, including locations and hours, click here.

 

There are 12 comments

  1. andrew cowan

    I continue to not understand why when cases are skyrocketing and we’re on the precipice of being in an “Orange” zone, indoor dining, gyms, and other clear, known areas of high risk of transmission are allowed to remain open. Given how contagious Covid is and how many people can be infected by just one person why not err on the side of being conservative as EARLY as possible?

    As a footnote – outdoor dining that now mirrors what indoor dining is like (confined into an enclosed tent with heaters) is arguably no different than the high risk indoor dining it supposedly replaces. Amazing as to how badly people want to risk getting sick, transmitting Covid to others and or dying for all in the name of having their favorite dinner out.

  2. Guy DeGennaro

    Andrew Cowan, you can stay home by your self with your face mask on. And idiot Pat Ryan just repeats what he hears from the other knucklehead liberals. I say live and let live. We the people are sick of the masks, sick of the curfews and sick of the lies. I’d rathe take a chance dying than being told how to live and how to breath.

    1. Bill H

      Guy, do you know what the science says about how this virus spreads? Have you read what the infectious disease experts have to say? I can understand not wanting to hear from “knucklehead liberals,” but what about the experts on infectious disease?

      Also, you say that you would rather take a chance on dying than wear a mask and social distance for a while. I would respect that if you were the only one that would be at risk. But if you had your way and became infected, there’s a good chance that you would infect the other people in your life before you even showed symptoms yourself. THEY are why you should wear a mask. Once you fully understand how this disease has spread so easily, that it’s airborne, you would have to revise your statement to, “I’d rather take chance on the death of my family members, co-workers, and other people I come in contact with, than being told how to live and how to breath.”

      Here are the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines for wearing masks. Also, if you scroll to the bottom they provide a long list of the research that informs their guidelines:
      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html#evidence-effectiveness

      1. Jaymes Nohns

        Remind yourself…..you are not an expert yourself, repeating what you have seen or heard from agencies that have continuously changed and backtracked on guidlines…just makes you a repeater of media propaganda.

        1. Bill H

          Where do you get your information about things for which you are not an expert? If not the experts, then where? Or are you just trolling me again?

    2. Christine

      If only you would be affected by your decision. Your being sick of masks, social distancing, etc. isn’t risking only your life, it’s risking everyone’s. We used to honor the social contract–we followed laws and health directives for the greater good. There’s one thing to be reckless with your own life, but to jeopardize other people’s is unconscionable. Kind of like drunk driving.

    3. Brett

      Are you this upset about speed limits too? Should people be allowed to drive drunk as well? Why is it so difficult to do a small thing that protects those around you?

  3. Rene Gawlt

    Guy — Do you wear a seatbelt? Do you stop at stop signs? Do you drive drunk?

    Or do you head out after a pub evening , bouncing free inside your car and careening across intersections?

    Join the human race. Try the adult role, it’s more interesting.

    Aiso keep quiet if you can. You might sound too much like an idiot.

  4. Bill H

    Hang in there, folks. There is a world of science that shows wearing masks and reasonable social distancing helps reduce the spread of the virus. Don’t let misguided, selfish people tell you that science they don’t believe in must be liberal lies. They just don’t like what the science says. That is different than it being fake or lies.

    What we want to avoid is a situation in which businesses are forced to entirely close because we adopted the anti-maskers’ reckless disregard for the common good. If we would sacrifice a little by following simple safety guidelines, we would be HELPING businesses stay open, not hurting them.

    1. Bill H

      Yeah, I’ve seen this phrase bastardized a lot lately — on both ends of the political spectrum– in order to justify some of the most ridiculous attitudes and behavior. Sometimes I do wonder if folks that use it have read any further into the document. Somehow the constitution gets reduced to, “I should be able to do whatever I want and I should not be made to sacrifice.” It’s a shameful position to take during a pandemic, whether one is liberal or conservative.

      There is no doubt that people who think that we, who are wearing masks and social distancing, are lemmings, or too willing to give up our rights. They often paint themselves as crusaders for liberty, when in actuality they just don’t care enough about the rest of us. There is a selfishness there that is not being admitted.

      They will often play the role of “tougher than you,” as well. But who is demonstrating more fortitude, the mask-wearer/ social distancer, or the person who is already too “sick of” masks to want to wear them? The latter is hardly an example of the rugged old libertarianism we used to respect. I know libertarianism well, and it’s only merits shine when people care for each other.

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