Residents of Orange and Ulster Counties have done a good job of social distancing and it shows in the number of hospitalizations and confirmed cases.
As of July 14 there were only five confirmed hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Orange County, down significantly from 105 on May 14 and 237 on April 14. In addition, 84 percent of intensive care hospital beds were available on Monday, an increase of 14 percent from May 8. In contrast only 29 of these beds were available throughout the county on April 17. The death toll in Orange County due to COVID-19 has remained stagnant with only one death reported from July 7-14.
The county has been able to host some large events without a hitch. There was a Freedom Fest fireworks show on Saturday at Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Montgomery. “Back the Blue”, a pro law enforcement rally with several hundred people, was also held in Warwick on Saturday. Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus also had a positive dialogue with several members of the Black Lives Matter movement and members of law enforcement. They plan to have further discussions on how to improve racial equality in Orange County.
“We’ve had over 30 Black Lives Matter protests in Orange County and none of them had any type of violence or arrest associated with them,” Neuhaus said. “Now you have a ‘Back the Blue’ rally that went off without a hitch and we have a positive dialogue with two different sides where you don’t think it’s possible if you look at other places in the country.”
Ulster County has seen its active cases of COVID-19 plummet. The county had 125 active cases on July 19, down from 639 on May 19 and 1,009 on April 26. 527 people were tested for COVID-19 on Sunday and none were positive.
“We continue to be in very good shape and things have really leveled off in Ulster County to a rate that isn’t zero, which is where we want it but is a rate and a level that we’re comfortable at right now,” said Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan.
Even though the state of Orange and Ulster Counties continues to improve, COVID-19 left its mark on every community in the region. There were 10,908 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Orange County as of July 14, which had claimed the lives of 488 people. The Town of Montgomery was hit hard with 608 confirmed cases while Crawford had only 91 as of July 17.
Ulster County has seen less exposure to COVID-19 than Orange County but has still been affected drastically. There were 1,916 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning, producing 89 fatalities. Two Shawangunk residents have active cases and 116 cases have been confirmed in the town. Four people in Shawangunk have died from COVID-19. One Gardiner resident is positive for COVID-19 and 39 cases have been confirmed in the town. No fatalities have occurred in Gardiner due to COVID-19.