While counties argue over mask use, a staggering statistic has developed over the past week in Orange, Ulster and Dutchess counties.

There is no doubt that COVID cases are increasing. Since November 1, the seven-day average of cases has almost tripled in Orange County. Dutchess has gone from an average of 39 cases to 151 this month. In the same timeframe, Ulster County has gone from 28 to 83.

While the sharp rise in cases is alarming, another statistic has emerged that has many people concerned over what the Hudson Valley will look like during the upcoming winter months.

An average of one person has died of COVID every day for the past week in Ulster County. In Dutchess County, there has also been one death per day. Orange County has experienced at least one death in the last ten days, with three being reported on Sunday.

The sobering statistic comes as leaders in Dutchess and Orange counties wage war against Governor Hochul's attempt to mandate mask-wearing indoors. Doctors have expressed frustration with what they call a "simple, common sense" request being politicized.

Health departments in each county have expressed the need for everyone to wear masks indoors to help stop the spread, but that message has been drowned out by a political back-and-forth between county leaders and the governor's office. Doctors urge Hudson Valley residents to protect themselves and their families and simply mask up for the short term when in crowded public places regardless of their vaccination status.

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Crossgates Mall 1984

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