Ulster County declares state of emergency as COVID cases rise; others keep watch

Some county leaders across the Hudson Valley are taking precautions as the new omicron COVID-19 variant spreads worldwide.
Ulster County declared a state of emergency due to a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
County Executive Pat Ryan says this will allow their government to increase testing, support public health resources and deploy medical staff to assist with testing, contact tracing and vaccinations for at least the next 30 days.
“We've seen in Ulster County active cases triple in a month, and hospitalizations more than quadruple. We went from six to 26, mostly in the last two weeks, so we're very concerned,” Ryan says.
This comes as the scientific community works to figure out what the impact the omicron variant may have.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro says the county is watching closely and ready to take action when it may be needed.
“Dutchess County is as prepared as we have been. We have access to the resources, we have access to the tools,” he says. “At this point, it's let’s be aware, let’s be responsible for our health and the health of people we love, and lets be calm about it. And at the end of the day, that's the most appropriate approach."
Rockland County Executive Ed Day echoed the "don't panic" sentiment, as medical experts learn more about this strain.
“Don't overreact, there's already evidence showing that this may be mild form, a mild variant. This is not even seen within the state of New York or the country yet,” he says.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer adds, “This battle is almost two years in the making. And we don't know how long it's going to be. We don't want to take extreme measures until we know that they're necessary. And we have been getting good solid compliance in this county from the strategies that we've been using."