HUDSON, N.Y. (NEWS10)—The Columbia County Department of Health has been very busy, according to Director of Health Jack Mabb. The County Health Department took Christmas and New Years’ off, and when they came back, there was an increase in COVID-19 cases. After coming back from Christmas, there were 49 cases. When the health department came back after New Years’, the number was 77.

“It is escalating in the community. That (77) was on Saturday. We had 27 on Sunday and 25 today (Monday),” said Director Mabb. “Of great concern is we have 29 people in the hospital. That’s the most we ever had through this COVID pandemic.”

According to Director Mabb, the hospital patients are community members, not nursing home residents, as in past spikes. Mabb’s staff believes this reflects younger people disregarding wearing masks and social distancing and making their family members sick.

Director Mabb believes they will start to see numbers go up from Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the next one to two weeks as the Health Department track clusters.

“The vaccines have been rolled out in the Capital Region,” Mabb said. “They’re very limited right now, but the vaccines are coming. We are in a race for time, and people need to stay the course now.”

The next testing day for Columbia County is January 5, at the Gerald R. Simons Commerce Park off of Route 9H. Sign up for testing is closed at this time, with 82 people signed up.