Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith Issues Public Health Advisory Strongly Recommending All Residents Wear Masks in Public Indoor Spaces; Urges Employers in Ulster County to Require Employees to Wear Masks When Indoors

Posted December 5, 2021

The Public Health Advisory comes based on current CDC recommendations, a rise in positive cases and hospitalizations brought on by the COVID-19 Delta variant, and the arrival in NYS of the Omicron variant 

Last week, County Executive Pat Ryan declared a State of Emergency due to rising cases of COVID-19 and surging hospitalizations

In August 2021, County Executive Pat Ryan issued an Executive Order requiring all County employees and members of the public to wear masks inside County facilities, regardless of vaccination status

KINGSTON, N.Y. – Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith issued a public health advisory strongly recommending that all residents wear masks in public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, it calls on employers in Ulster County to require employees to wear masks when indoors. In August, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan signed an Executive Order requiring all County employees and members of the public to wear masks inside County facilities.

“All individuals, regardless of vaccination status or past COVID-19 infection, should wear a mask at all times when indoors and in a public setting, including at groceries, building lobbies, offices, stores, and other common or shared spaces where individuals may interact..,” Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith writes. “All employers in Ulster County should require their employees to wear a mask while working indoors, and while in close contact with the public or co-workers.”

“As the science has consistently shown, masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “Given the increased risk to all Ulster County residents, I support our Health Commissioner in strongly recommending that all members of the public wear masks indoors to slow COVID transmission. And I am once again asking all residents who have not yet been vaccinated or received their booster to do so immediately.”  

The advisory comes a week after County Executive Pat Ryan declared a State of Emergency due to rising positivity and hospitalization rates in Ulster County, days after New York State announced its first case of the Omicron variant, and as Ulster County’s active case count jumps to its highest level since April 2021. 

Ulster County will continue to hold regular vaccination PODs for residents who need to receive their 1st dose, 2nd dose, or booster dose. Appointments are recommended for the County’s vaccination PODs; although walk-ins will be accommodated as capacity allows. Sign up for an appointment at VaccinateUlster.com.

In addition, Ulster County is in need of residents to volunteer to staff and support the county’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The Ulster County Department of Health is still accepting volunteers, particularly medical volunteers to be vaccinators, and screeners. Vaccinators need both an active license and current CPR certificate, or can be basic and advanced EMTs with current CPR certificate. Screeners create the record of vaccination for each patient, so should be computer literate, have attention to detail, and good customer service and communication skills.  Both of these medical volunteers will receive a stipend.  Sign up to volunteer at https://covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/vaccine-volunteer/.