More county COVID-19 patients in hospital than ever before

ALBANY COUNTY — Albany County broke another COVID-19 record with 169 residents hospitalized, the county’s executive, Daniel McCoy, announced in a release on Sunday morning.

Fourteen of those patients are in intensive-care units.

Among the state’s 10 regions, the Capital Region, of which Albany County is a part, continues to tie, with the Mohawk Valley, for the worst rate of available hospital beds, at 25 percent.

Currently 0.05 percent of the Capital Region’s population is hospitalized with the virus, filling 531 beds. Statewide, 0.04 percent of New Yorkers are hospitalized with COVID-19, leaving  32 percent of the state’s hospital beds available.

The Capital Region also continues to have the worst rate, 19 percent, for availability of ICU beds. Currently, 212 of the region’s 268 ICU beds are filled. Statewide, 27 percent of ICU beds are available.

St. Peter's Health Partners is converting an unused portion of Albany County’s nursing home — which is separate from the rest of the facility — for overflow COVID-19 patients who are no longer contagious.

This is to make 160 more beds available if needed. Nurses could be moved from St. Peter’s 100 doctors’ offices to provide acute care, said the president of St. Peter’s Health Partners, James Reed.



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday sounded the alarm on the dangers of the new variant of COVID-19, known as B.1.1.7, that was first identified in the United Kingdom.

“Modeling data indicate that B.1.1.7 has the potential to increase the U.S. pandemic trajectory in the coming months,” said the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, issued on Jan. 15.

The report also said, “The increased transmissibility of the B.1.1.7 variant warrants universal and increased compliance with mitigation strategies, including distancing and masking. Higher vaccination coverage might need to be achieved to protect the public.”

While the variant does not produce different “clinical outcomes” — in other words, symptoms and severity of the disease are the same — B.1.1.7 has a higher rate of transmission, the report says.

The higher transmission “will lead to more cases, increasing the number of persons overall who need clinical care, exacerbating the burden on an already strained health care system, and resulting in more deaths,” the CDC report says.

The CDC calls for “strategic testing” of people without systems as well as for “rigorous implementation of public health strategies” to buy “critical time to increase vaccination coverage.”

On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a release that, for the second day in a row, New York State has another case of B.1.1.7. This latest case is in Westchester County, bringing the state’s total of B.1.1.7 cases to 18.

New York’s first case was identified by Albany’s Wadsworth laboratory in December. Starting Jan. 26, travelers to the United States from foreign countries must test negative for COVID-19 before boarding planes.


Newest numbers

While the Capital Region lags in available hospital beds, it excels in administering vaccines.

Cuomo announced on Saturday that statewide, 83 percent of first and second doses have been administered. The Capital Region has administered 93 percent of its received doses and 96 percent of its first and second doses.

The state expects to receive just 250,000 doses from the federal government next week, Cuomo said in a release; more than 7 million New Yorkers are eligible for the shots under the CDC’s new guidance.

As of Sunday morning, Albany County has had 15,734  confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 220 new cases since Saturday, according to McCoy’s release. Of the new cases, 173 did not have a clear source of infection identified, 29 had close contact with someone infected with the disease, and 18 are health-care workers or residents of congregate settings. 

The five-day average for new daily positives has decreased to 251.8 from 278. There are now 2,051 active cases in the county, down from 2,097 on Saturday.

The number of county residents under mandatory quarantine decreased to 3,138 from 3,179. So far, 46,799 residents have completed quarantine. Of those, 13,683 had tested positive and recovered. That is an increase of 256 recoveries since yesterday.

Albany County’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 272.

Albany County’s infection rate, as a seven-day average, as of Jan. 16, the last date available on the state’s dashboard, was 8.4 percent.

The Capital Region has a seven-day average of 7.59 percent, the third highest in the state. The highest is the Mohawk Valley at 8.22 percent followed by Long Island at 7.81 percent.

Statewide, the positivity rate was 6.45.

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