Uptick follows steep COVID-19 descent

— Graph from the Albany County dashboard

Albany County has experienced a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases after a steep drop from the post-holiday high. 

ALBANY COUNTY — Albany County, as throughout the nation, has been experiencing a steep drop in COVID-19 cases since the post-holiday high but, over the last few days, there has been a slight uptick in cases here.

On Saturday morning, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy announced 71 new cases.

A New York variant of the virus, known as B.1.526, has been increasing in recent weeks. A survey conducted in New York City of “signature mutations” of the variant showed “a steady increase in the detection rate from late December to mid-February, with an alarming rise to 12.3% in the past two weeks,” according to a paper that has not yet been certified by peer review.

“Patients with this novel variant came from diverse neighborhoods in the metropolitan area, and they were on average older and more frequently hospitalized,” the researchers wrote. “Phylogenetic analyses of sequences in the database further reveal that this B.1.526 variant is scattered in the Northeast of U.S., and its unique set of spike mutations may also pose an antigenic challenge for current interventions.”

Of the 71 new cases in Albany County, McCoy reported in a release, 33 did not have clear sources of infection identified, 31 had close contact with someone infected with the disease, five were health-care workers or residents of congregate settings, and two had traveled out of state.

To date, the county has had 20,431 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The five-day average for new daily positives has increased to 78.4 from 75.8. There are now 608 active cases in the county, up from 601 yesterday.

The number of Albany County residents under quarantine decreased to 1,438 from 1,441. So far, 63,840 residents have completed quarantine. Of those, 19,823 had tested positive and recovered. That is an increase of 73 recoveries since Friday.

There were two new hospitalizations overnight, and there are now 44 county residents hospitalized from the virus. There are currently five patients in intensive care units, down from six on Friday.

Albany County’s COVID-19 death toll still stands at 351.

Statewide, the seven-day average positivity rate is 3.18 percent, the lowest since Nov. 26, according to a Sunday release from the governor’s office.

As of Friday, Albany county, as a seven-day rolling average, has an infection rate of 1.8 percent according to the state’s dashboard.

According to the SUNY COVID-19 Tracker, as of Saturday evening, the University at Albany has had 267 confirmed cases since Jan. 2, including 118 cases in the period between Feb. 13 and 26.

Currently, 99 UAlbany students are under mandatory quarantine and 65 students are in isolation — 48 on campus and 17 off campus.

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