Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent restrictions on gatherings, the Greene County Legislature has made unprecedented efforts to keep our residents and businesses safe and informed.
The Governor’s daily crisis updates have repeatedly emphasized the need for adequate testing to identify not only new cases of the virus, but also to assess the number of New Yorkers who have successfully recovered from the infection, and are producing anti-bodies to COVID-19.
The Governor’s plan to systematically re-open businesses and gathering places by region largely depends on the availability of test kits within each of New York’s 10 regions.
Greene County has continuously sought to acquire test kits throughout this crisis. NYS advised all requests are to be submitted through the Office of Emergency Management, which we have done on a regular basis. We have also placed our own order on the commercial market. The limited number we have received have been deployed by the Greene County Department of Health in the high-risk areas of our most vulnerable population.
To date, over 1,000 Greene County residents have received diagnostic testing with an 89% negative result as reported by the NYS Department of Health. Due to extremely limited testing supplies, we had to send the vast majority to other counties so they could be tested.
The Greene County Legislature shares the concern of many of our residents that the number of test kits available may greatly impact the ability of our businesses and attractions to re-open safely in a timely manner. Given the lack of consensus among medical professionals regarding the significance of the presence of antibodies, we respectfully request a responsible alternative re-opening strategy be deployed, based on widely available hospitalization data.
County leadership has had daily contact with the Governor’s Office strongly urging the State to fairly distribute all available test kits between the 8 counties that comprise our Capital Region which includes: Greene, Columbia, Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Washington, and Warren Counties.
As the southern gateway to the Capital Region, Greene County businesses and attractions are on the front line of potential exposure once the re-opening occurs. The influx of visitors from downstate to our Tourism destinations is expected to be significant, making it all the more important that our county receives the amount of test kits necessary to identify and track any exposures and help prevent a second wave of the pandemic.
Since test kits are limited, we continue to raise this concern and request appropriate action with the Governor’s office in advance of any re-opening guidance and regulations for the region.
Patrick S. Linger
Chair – Greene County Legislature