Two cases of B.1.1.7 recorded in Albany County

ALBANY COUNTY — Albany County has recorded its first two cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19, the highly transmissible variant initially identified in the United Kingdom.
In making the announcement, in a press release on Saturday morning, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy called it “disturbing news.”

New York’s first confirmed case of B.1.1.7 — contracted by a man in his sixties in Saratoga — was announced on Jan. 4.

On Saturday, Feb. 13, Governor Andrew Cuomo had reported that 11 new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 — the highly transmissible variant first identified in the United Kingdom — had been identified in New York State.

Eight of the new B.1.1.7 cases were in New York City, two were in Suffolk County, and one was in Rockland County — that county’s first case.

That brought New York’s total to 70 known cases of the B.1.1.7 variant — in New York City and in these counties: Saratoga, Warren, Onondaga, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Ulster, Essex, Jefferson, Tompkins, Allegany, and Niagara.

As of Feb. 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide tally was 1,661 cases identified in 44 states — including 82 in New York State. Florida had the most cases with 433, followed by Michigan with 210, and California with 195.

The CDC tally is updated on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday by 7 p.m.

Originally, scientists thought that the B.1.17 variant, while more transmissible — the CDC had predicted it could become the predominant variant in the United States by March — was not more severe. Recently, however, British scientists have reported “updated and additional analyses, which together strengthen the earlier finding of increased disease severity in people infected with VOC B.1.1.7 compared to other virus variants.”

On Feb. 12, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group posted documents that have not been peer reviewed, indicating that the B.1.1.7 variant may be linked to increased hospitalization and death.

According to the CDC, “In January 2021, experts in the UK reported that B.1.1.7 variant may be associated with an increased risk of death compared to other variants. More studies are needed to confirm this finding.”


Newest numbers

Locally and statewide, rates of infection and hospitalization continue to decline from the post-holiday surge.

Cuomo said in a Saturday release that the state’s positivity rate of 3.06 percent was the lowest since Nov. 23 having declined for 43 days straight.

As of Saturday morning, Albany County has had 19,935 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 73 new cases since Friday, according to McCoy’s release.

Of the new cases, 47 did not have clear sources of infection identified, 19 had close contact with someone infected with the disease, and seven were health-care workers or residents of congregate settings

The five-day average for new daily positives has increased to 68.8 from 61.6. There are now 592 active cases in the county, up from 584 on Friday.

The number of Albany County residents under mandatory quarantine increased to 1,651 from 1,567. So far, 61,962 residents have completed quarantine. Of those, 19,343 had tested positive and recovered. That is an increase of 55 recoveries since Friday.

There were five new hospitalizations overnight, and there are now 66 county residents currently hospitalized from the virus. There are currently eight patients in intensive-care units, down from 11 on Friday.

Albany County’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 345.

Currently, 184 Capital Region residents are hospitalized with COVID-19, which is 0.02 percent of the region’s population, and leaves 34 percent of its hospital beds available, according to a Saturday release from the governor’s office.

Statewide, 0.03 percent of New Yorkers are hospitalized with the virus, leaving 35 percent of the state’s hospital beds available.

Currently, 177 of the Capital Region’s 242 ICU beds are filled, leaving 27 percent available.

Statewide, 28 percent of ICU beds are available.

Statewide, the infection rate, as a seven day average, as of Friday, ranges from 0.76percent in the Southern tier  to 4.40 percent in New York City. The Capital Region has an infection rate of 2.00 percent.

New York is in its 10th week of receiving vaccine doses from the federal government and has so far gotten 3.6 million, according to a Saturday release from the governor’s office.

This week, the Capital Region so far has administered 198,584 of the 228,670 doses it has received, which is 87 percent.

Statewide, 90 percent of doses have been administered.

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