Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced today that he will not be extending the Public Health Emergency order that was originally issued in late November due to a rapid rise in positivity rates brought on by the emergence of the Omicron variant. Peaking at an all-time-high of 7,569 active cases on January 16th, Ulster County today reported 362 active cases. Citing public health progress, and upon the recommendation of Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith, Ryan says Ulster County has hit a new phase of the pandemic. The order, set to expire on Friday, allowed Ulster County to rapidly procure and distribute over 50,000 at-home kits, bolster countywide vaccination and booster efforts, and secure additional resources for schools districts to remain open safely.
“As we have done from the onset of the pandemic, Ulster County will continue to follow real-time data and listen to public health experts when making decisions regarding COVID-19,” Ryan said. “As our active case count has plummeted to levels that we had pre-Omicron, I have decided to lift our Public Health State of Emergency. We have entered a new phase of the pandemic: while COVID may remain a part of our lives, we cannot let it dominate our lives. We now have a set of proven tools, from vaccines and boosters to widely-available testing, that empower us to shift our approach. As we look ahead, I still strongly encourage residents to get vaccinated, get their booster shots, and continue to take necessary precautions.”
In August, Ryan signed an Executive Order requiring all Ulster County employees, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks indoors in response to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. The order also required members of the public to wear a mask when entering County-owned buildings and facilities. This order is also being lifted.