Ulster County reports first COVID-19 case

From left: Deputy Ulster County Executive Marc Rider, County Executive Pat Ryan, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, Dr. Michael Doyle discuss the first known case of COVID-19 in Ulster County.

Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan held a press conference regarding the first case of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 in the county. The resident tested for the virus received a “presumptive positive” result a short time after returning from an international trip to France.

The patient notified the Ulster County Health Department of his symptoms, consistent with those of COVID-19, and was sent in for testing at a local hospital where his samples were taken. The individual was immediately put in quarantine. Health officials began interviewing the individual to assess the risk of contagion with anyone he may have come in contact with.

Ryan acknowledged the preparation that has been in the works behind the scenes to efficiently and comprehensively respond to local cases and ensure public health and safety. The Ulster County Emergency Operation Center has since been activated with Health Department staff focusing on community diminution efforts.

The symptoms of coronavirus feel similar to that of the common cold or flu, with a cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and fever. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the symptoms of coronavirus infection appear within two to 14 days after exposure.

As of Tuesday afternoon, New York State has more than 170 positive cases statewide, more than 100 cases outside of New York City throughout Westchester, Nassau, Rockland, Saratoga, Suffolk and Ulster County. There are only 36 cases reported in New York City. Across the United States, there are more than 560 confirmed cases with 26 deaths.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered a press conference in Albany on Monday to address the spread of the virus in New York. Beyond addressing the public health concern that is coronavirus, Cuomo called on corporations like Amazon, Purell and ebay to stop price gouging much-needed hand sanitizer. New York State will be producing its own hand sanitizer to be distributed to high impact areas as well as schools, to governmental agencies, prisons and the MTA, which the governor says will be available for purchase if retailers continue to raise prices.

Cuomo also discussed a New York policy that will require schools to close for an initial 24 hour period if one student tests positive for the virus, reminding the public that duration of closings could be weeks.

Along with his efforts in containing the virus and mending virus related mishaps, Cuomo urges the public to, “focus on the facts,” claiming that levels of anxiety over the spread of COVID-19 are creating excessive fear in the public.