With 4 reported virus cases, Ulster County to close in-person services for two weeks

From left, County Executive Pat Ryan, Ulster County Legislature Chairman David Donaldson, Ulster County Commissioner of Health and Mental Health Dr. Carol Smith

Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan and the county’s Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith confirmed a third and fourth case of COVID-19 on Thursday. The announcement comes after the first case in Ulster County was announced Tuesday and another shortly after.

The two new cases are “connected” to the previously announced cases in the towns of Rochester and Shawangunk. Ulster County now has four known cases as of Friday morning.

Beginning Monday, March 16, in-person county services will be suspended for two weeks including the the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Social Services, the Office for the Aging, Veterans Services, and the Office of Employment and Training. The county is preparing phone and online options for those who need the services of those offices and agencies.

“I have directed a series of immediate actions to bolster our response to the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus in Ulster County,” County Executive Ryan said. “My top priority remains ensuring the health and safety of all of our residents, and these measures will provide additional safeguards for everyone.

“As the situation develops, we will continue to lean forward and take proactive steps informed by real-time data and the advice of our team of public health experts.”

For the last few weeks, Ulster County has been preparing their response to the COVID-19 virus, anticipating an outbreak was looming. Being just two hours north of the largest cluster of COVID-19 cases in the nation, New Rochelle, the spread of the virus to Ulster was nearly inevitable to state officials.

The first confirmed case in Ulster County involved an individual who had traveled abroad and began to show symptoms shortly after returning to the U.S. The second case, a resident of Shawangunk, as well as the three other members of his household, will be quarantined for 14 days. He is believed to have come in contact with members of the Wallkill Central School District.

According to a statement from Kevin Castle, the Superintendent of Wallkill Central School District on Wednesday, an employee of a district contractor as well as a student of the district were both in contact with the individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ulster. Although there are no cases within the school district quite yet, administration is trying to ease the minds of concerned parents and students.

“The two individuals who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 have been present in the Ostrander Elementary School and the Senior High School. I would like to reiterate that we currently do not have any individuals with a confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus that have been present in any of our schools,” said Castle.

Updated county-by-county known COVID-19 cases, as of Thursday afternoon, March 12.

  • Albany County: 1 (1 new)
  • Broome County: 1 (1 new)
  • Delaware County: 1 (1 new)
  • Dutchess County: 1 (1 new)
  • Herkimer County: 1 (1 new)
  • Monroe County: 1 (1 new)
  • Nassau County: 41 (13 new)
  • New York City: 95 (43 new)
  • Orange County: 1 (1 new)
  • Rockland County: 7 (1 new)
  • Saratoga County: 3 (1 new)
  • Suffolk County: 20 (14 new)
  • Ulster County: 4 (3 new)
  • Westchester County: 148 (27 new)