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Beware Covid-19 Scams!

Monday, July 22, 2020

From: Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell


Columbia County residents have recently become the target of scam activity connected to COVID-19, said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell on Wednesday. “We all need to be aware of what’s going on and maintain vigilance,” said Chairman Murell. “I think most of you know how convincing scam artists can be when trying to separate you from your money. Scammers love times of uncertainty, when people are unsure of circumstances and are worried for their health and safety.”

Chairman Murell outlined one recent telephone call received by a county resident, in which they were told that someone with whom they recently came in close proximity had tested positive for COVID-19. They were told to self-isolate for seven days and take a COVID-19 test. Upon hearing this, the resident asked the caller to identify the infected person. Of course, that request was denied, with the scammer citing confidentiality. At that point, the caller said the resident required testing within 72 hours, and requested a mailing address for where to send the testing kit. That done, a credit card was requested for the $50 kit charge.

At that point, the resident recognized the call for what it was and hung up. “This is just one example of the approach a scammer can take when trying to take advantage of someone who’s uncertain of the truthfulness of what they’re being told. Don’t take a chance. There’s an easy way to check on this by calling the county Department of Health. If you have indeed come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, the DOH can assist you,” said Chairman Murell. The telephone number for the county DOH is 518-828-3358. 


On Friday, Columbia County Health Department Director Jack Mabb announced future COVID-19 testing clinics for August on Mondays 3, 17, 24, and 31. The testing will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the sidewalk in front of the John L. Edwards Primary School in Hudson. For the remainder of July, clinics set for the same hours and place will be held on Tuesdays, July 21 and 28. The DOH will be limiting the walkup clinics to 50 tests each. It is recommended anyone who would like to be tested get to the clinic as early as possible to ensure they secure one of the 50 tests. Pre-registration will not be necessary for the walkup clinics.


Sunday, August 12, 9 a.m. to 12 noon: Ichabod Crane High School, Valatie. Pre-registration is required at A form of photo identification will be required, and a mask is required for entry. These tests will be nasopharyngeal swabs, which are most useful to detect the virus in actively sick people. These are not antibody tests. The kits used at these testing sites are part of those purchased with the help of private donations to Columbia County. After leaving the test site, symptomatic residents should go directly home for mandatory quarantine until results are shared with them.

Essential workers should plan on quarantining outside of work and being extremely cautious around those they come into contact with. It may take up to five days to receive the test results. Everyone who gets tested at the site will receive their results once they are processed by Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany.


On Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, any municipal or private agency/organization that would like free NYS hand sanitizer can come to the Public Safety Facility (PSF) parking lot at 85 Industrial Tract, Hudson, where they will receive up to two cases (eight gallons) of hand sanitizer per week based upon the size and need of the organization. Small spray bottles of hand sanitizer will also be available.

“I would like to remind everyone that the hand sanitizer, which is provided to us by the state, can only be handed out to Columbia County businesses, non-profits, and municipal/governmental agencies,” said county Emergency Management Director Harrison. Those coming to the PSF for hand sanitizer should enter the north entrance (NYS DOT side) of the PSF parking area, and drive to the white “Sheriff’s” utility trailer in front of the building. Emergency Management and Sheriff’s Department staff will dispense the hand sanitizer at that point.


Monetary: Monetary donations intended for the purchase of coronavirus testing kits and much-needed equipment for emergency responders, medical personnel, and others on the front lines of the coronavirus fight are advised to send a check in care of Columbia County, with coronavirus noted in the memo field. The check can be sent to the Columbia County Controller’s Office, 401 State Street, Hudson, NY 12534. All money received is being placed in a dedicated account.

PPE: Those wishing to make donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, face shields, and gowns, are advised to contact the Emergency Management Office at 518-828-1212. If no one answers, leave a message and someone will return the call.

Food: Donations should be directed to the county Office for the Aging (518-828-4258) and local food pantries.


Family Assistance Network: As part of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Columbia County Emergency Management has asked leaders in the human services and spiritual areas of our community for help, Director of Emergency Management David W. Harrison, Jr., said Saturday. The individuals were asked to form a Family Assistance Network to provide information to assist county residents who may be dealing with someone close to them who passed away as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Information on where someone can reach out for help is posted on various websites, including the Columbia County website and Emergency Management Facebook page.

Hotline for Elderly and Vulnerable: Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett has established a hotline for the elderly and vulnerable in our county, including those with medical conditions or are disabled, who would welcome a deputy checking on their well-being on a daily basis. The number for the hotline is 518-828-0601, extension 1400.


It is the county’s intention to issue accurate information regarding the coronavirus situation under conditions that can change by the minute. For the most up-to-date, accurate information, visit the County Department of Health’s website at or their Facebook page @:

The state’s coronavirus website, with up-to-the-minute information, can be located at The county will issue a press release on the coronavirus situation Monday, Wednesday & Fridays. The releases can be found on the Columbia County website and the Facebook pages of the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Health, and the Emergency Management Office. 


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