Recent data suggests that Orange and Ulster Counties are turning a corner in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher reported that 1,033 individuals who have been admitted to hospitals throughout Orange County have recovered, which is an increase of 49 from the previous day. This was the largest growth in recoveries in a single day since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.
In addition, 70 percent of intensive care hospital beds were available on Friday. In contrast, only 29 percent of these beds were available throughout the county on April 17. On Friday, there were 128 people hospitalized in Orange County due to COVID-19, its lowest total since the month of March.
“Very pleased to hear those numbers,” Maher said.
Those trends were encouraging, as Orange County was hit hard by the pandemic. As of Sunday afternoon 34,405 individuals had been tested for COVID-19 with 9,543 testing positive. The Town of Montgomery had 562 positive cases while Crawford had only 84.
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus noted that in addition to nursing homes, cities and villages with high density populations were hit hard by COVID-19. The two cities in Orange County reported the most positive cases. The City of Newburgh had 1,314 positive cases and the City of Middletown had 1,025 positive cases as of Monday morning. Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported last week that even people in these areas who are unemployed and staying at home are testing positive for COVID-19. This is due to them spending time in densely populated areas of their apartment complexes such as laundry and mail rooms.
“We still have many people that are sick. We have a lot of people that have passed away,” Neuhaus said. “But we are heading in the right direction.”
Positive trends regarding COVID-19 have also been seen in Ulster County.
636 people had recovered from the disease as of Saturday. This number continues to rise exponentially, as only 54 individuals had recovered by April 18. The number of hospitalizations has also decreased substantially. There were only 11 county residents in the hospital on Thursday, whereas there were close to 40 on April 18.
With more people recovering, more hospital and intensive care beds as well as ventilators are becoming available. As of Thursday, only 11 hospital beds were being used and 77 remained open. One intensive care unit bed and one ventilator were utilized.
This positive news is welcomed with open arms. Ulster County was not hit nearly as hard as Orange County, however many residents suffered from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, 1,501 county residents had been tested positive for the disease as of Saturday. As of Sunday there had been 101 positive cases in the Town of Shawangunk, with 45 being active. During that time frame, Gardiner had 32 positive cases, 15 of which were active. Much like Orange County, densely populated municipalities saw the most positive cases, as the City of Kingston led the county with 186 positive confirmed cases as of Sunday.
Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan was thrilled by all of these positive trends.
“We have turned the corner here in Ulster County,” he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York State on PAUSE executive order is set to expire on Friday barring an extension. Regions of the state that meet the governor’s key benchmarks in restricting the spread of the virus will be allowed to start the reopening process by May 15. The first phase includes businesses in construction, manufacturing and retail with curb-side pickup.
“The quicker that we can all get away from this is when we wear these masks, we social distance,” Neuhaus said.
Those who exhibit severe flu-like symptoms can be tested for COVID-19 at Middletown Medical. Patients must call 845-342-4774 before arriving at the hospital. Rite Aid at 701 Route 211 East in the Town of Wallkill is offering free nasal self-swab testing for COVID-19 at its pharmacy drive-thru. Anyone age 18 or older, with or without symptoms, may schedule a drive-thru appointment online at www.riteaid.com. No prescription is required for the test.
Those in Ulster County who have met criteria for COVID-19 testing after a consultation with their doctor can be tested at 300 Enterprise Drive in Kingston, Ellenville Regional Hospital and at Kingston Midtown Mobile Testing Site at Grand Street. More information can be found on https://covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/mobile-testing/.