In response to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and the emergence of the new Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced on November 28 that he has declared a State of Emergency. The order, in effect for at least thirty (30) days, will allow Ulster County to more rapidly procure needed testing supplies for local schools, businesses, and families; bolster available public health and medical staff resources across the county; and, if necessary, to redeploy the workforce to support testing, contact tracing, and vaccination efforts.
“With COVID cases and hospitalizations surging, and the emergence of a new and potentially more dangerous variant, we must step up our efforts to ensure the health and safety of all of our residents,” Ryan said. “Informed by real-time data and the advice of our team of public health experts, this emergency order is an important step to allow the County to respond rapidly and effectively in order to combat the virus. We must do everything we can, individually and collectively, to prevent another difficult and deadly winter. I encourage all residents to get vaccinated, get your booster, and continue to socially distance and wear masks when indoors around others.”
In the month since Halloween, active cases of COVID-19 have tripled in Ulster County, bringing the count to its highest level since April 2021. Ryan is continuing to urge residents to get vaccinated if they have not already, and to get their booster shot if they received their last dose over six months ago. “With the emergence of the Omicron variant, it’s even more urgent to get vaccinated and get your booster,” Ryan said. “Vaccines remain our most effective tool to stop the virus and save lives.”
Ulster County will continue to hold regular vaccination PODs for residents who need to receive their 1st dose, 2nd dose, or booster dose. Appointments are recommended for the County’s vaccination PODs; although walk-ins will be accommodated as capacity allows. Sign up for an appointment at VaccinateUlster.com.
In addition, Ryan reiterated the continued need for residents to volunteer to staff and support the county’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The Ulster County Department of Health is still accepting volunteers, particularly medical volunteers to be vaccinators, and screeners. Vaccinators need both an active license and current CPR certificate, or can be basic and advanced EMTs with current CPR certificate. Screeners create the record of vaccination for each patient, so should be computer literate, have attention to detail, and good customer service and communication skills. Both of these medical volunteers will receive a stipend. Sign up to volunteer at https://covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/vaccine-volunteer/.