180,000 Hudson Valley residents have found themselves in a state of emergency this morning after officials ominously predict a "deadly winter." And it looks like more Hudson Valley counties may be in the same boat soon.

With a spike in rising cases of COVID-19 and the unknown impact of the omicron virus on the horizon, an entire Hudson Valley county has been placed under a state of emergency. As we head into the holiday season, the rush to get more residents vaccinated and hospitals ready to deal with increased cases may likely cause even more counties to follow suit.

On Sunday, Ulster County executive, Pat Ryan declared the state of emergency that will last for 30 days.

With COVID cases and hospitalizations surging, and the emergence of a new and potentially more dangerous variant, we must step up our efforts to ensure the health and safety of all of our residents... We must do everything we can, individually and collectively, to prevent another difficult and deadly winter. I encourage all residents to get vaccinated, get your booster, and continue to socially distance and wear masks when indoors around others.

Ulster has seen a significant rise in COVID-19 cases since Halloween. The infection rate has tripled in that short time and now sits at the highest level since April.

The state of emergency declared by Ryan appears to be mainly focused on getting residents vaccinated. There was no mention of a mask-wearing mandate like the one issued in Erie County last week, but many health experts say that it may come to that this winter.

Depending on how severe the omicron virus turns out to be, it's possible that we could see a return to masks, as well as more restrictions for unvaccinated residents. Governor Kathy Hochul has declared her own emergency on Friday, instructing hospitals throughout New York State to postpone voluntary surgeries until January 15 to clear beds and make room for an expected uptick in COVID-19 cases.

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