McCoy to county youth: ‘Register, get your shot’

— Still frame from Albany County Department of Health video

A display warning against tobacco use is featured in a video describing the work of Albany County’s health department.

ALBANY COUNTY — Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy made a direct plea to the county’s youngest adults on Thursday, urging them to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Register, get you shot,” he urged at his morning press briefing.

As the federal government is increasing its allocation of vaccine doses to states, McCoy said, “If you want the shot, you’ll be able to get the shot. There’ll be no excuse.”

He noted that while young adults are not often hospitalized they “sure as heck are spreading it.”

Between Feb. 12 and April 6, he said, county residents in the 10- to 19-year-old age group had 425 infections, an increase of 23.4 percent. During the same period, residents in their twenties accounted for almost 1,000 new COVID-19 cases, an increase of 23.5 percent.

“Please don’t let your guard down,” said McCoy.

This week, the county partnered with several area colleges, administering 1,200 shots in total, McCoy said.

On Saturday, the first high school vaccine clinic will be held, in Bethlehem, with Crestwood Pharmacy, McCoy said.

Any New Yorker 16 or older is eligible for vaccination. Of the three authorized vaccines, only Pfizer-BioNTech is authorized for 16- and 17-year-olds. Also, 16- and 17-year-olds need to have the permission of a parent or guardian to be vaccinated.

As of Thursday evening, 42.5 percent of Albany County’s 307,117 residents had received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the state’s vaccine tracker. McCoy reported Thursday morning that 28 percent of county residents had completed a vaccine series.

Statewide, 35.1 percent of New Yorkers have had one dose while 22.3 percent have completed a series.

“The vaccine that’s right for you is the vaccine that’s available,” said Albany county Health commissioner Elizabeth Whalen. 

She noted that the county’s preregistration list is “being used by multiple partners.” Residents of Albany, Schenectady, or Rensselaer counties may pre-register at

The county usually releases the times for its point of dispensing, or POD, at the Times Union Center in Albany, on Tuesday at 5 p.m., she said.


DOH lauded

Whalen narrated a video honoring her department for National Public Health Week. The Albany County Health Department is nationally accredited, having gone through a “rigorous accreditation process in 2019,” she said.

The department has five divisions:

— Nursing, which holds clinics and makes home visits to mothers and babies in high-risk ZIP codes as well as managing reportable communicable diseases;

— Health planning and education, which promotes risk-reduction activities and programs and reviews data to develop community health plans;

— Emergency preparedness and performance management, which focuses on response to all types of hazards including infectious disease outbreaks; natural disasters; biological, chemical, and radiologic incidents; and explosions.

This division also maintains a medical reserve corps, runs vaccine clinics, and mobilizes citizens to help in public-health emergencies;

— Environmental health, which provides services to protect residents and visitors for potential hazards in the water and air, and conducts inspections, sampling, and investigations to enforce regulations that promote health and safety; and

— Finance and administration, which provides department-wide support in procurement, accounts payable and accounts receivable, payroll, annual budget development and expenditure tracking.

“This year, all of our divisions united to combat COVID-19,” said Whalen. “Our staff worked with our county employees and our medical reserve corps to conduct case investigations, contact tracing, and provide much-needed support services to those individuals and families influenced by COVID-19. Our staff worked around the clock to ensure people had what they needed.”

She concluded, “Collectively, we have vaccinated 40 percent of our population in Albany County and look forward to continuing these efforts to help our citizens get back to normal life.”


Newest numbers

Perhaps as an indication of a return to normal life, McCoy reported that, in the last week, calls had decreased to the hotline that had been set up by the county at the start of the pandemic to deal with mental-health issues.

McCoy also reported that, since Wednesday, there have been 65 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the county’s total to 22,780.

The five-day average for new daily positives has increased to 58.8 from 57.8.There are now 511 active cases in the county, down from 523 on Wednesday.

The number of Albany County residents under quarantine increased to 1,248 from 1,218. So far, 72,889 residents have completed quarantine. Of those, 22,269 had tested positive and recovered. That is an increase of 74 recoveries since Wednesday.

There were five new hospitalizations overnight and there are now 26 county residents hospitalized from the virus — a net increase of two. There are currently seven patients in intensive-care units, up from six yesterday.

Albany County’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 366.

The infection rate for Albany County, as of Wednesday, as a seven-day rolling average, was 2.2 percent, according to the state’s dashboard.

Statewide, the infection rate, also as of Wednesday, as a seven-day rolling average,  was 3.4 percent.

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