Nursing homes remain hotspots for COVID-19

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

“The bulk of the positive cases that we continue to see are from nursing homes,” said Albany County Health Commissioner Elizabeth Whalen.

ALBANY COUNTY — Although no one died of COVID-19 overnight, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy reported three more deaths from the disease at his Friday press briefing.

The victims —a man in his sixties and two women in their eighties, each with underlying health conditions — were residents of a private nursing home who died in early May, he said.

The three deaths, McCoy said, were reported to the state “but for some reason never got reported to the county department of health” and the county just learned of them on Thursday.

Those three deaths bring the county’s toll to 76. McCoy had said earlier that 65 percent of the county’s COVID-19 victims are nursing-home residents.

“The bulk of the positive cases that we continue to see are from nursing homes,” said Albany County Health Commissioner Elizabeth Whalen at Friday’s press briefing. Her department has worked with the state and with local nursing homes “to be sure every resident has been tested,” she said.

“We are at the tail end of that very large sampling and the bulk of the cases we are getting represent people that are coming back positive,” she said. The county is continuing its work to get nursing-home employees tested twice weekly, as Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed.

Albany County now has 1,619 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 41 since yesterday due to increased testing as those returning to work are to be tested.

As of Friday morning, 907 county residents are under mandatory quarantine and three are under precautionary quarantine. So far, 4,101 residents have completed quarantine, with 1,064 of them having tested positive and recovered.

Twenty-seven residents are hospitalized, with one person in an intensive-care unit. The hospitalization rate for Albany County stands at 1.66 percent.

“We’re watching our hospital rate because that affects our metrics,” said McCoy.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Whalen urged parents to see that their children are up to date on required vaccinations. These may have lapsed, she said, over the last few months people have not made their normal preventative visits to doctors.

Whalen noted there was a “big change last year in the mandate for pediatric immunizations to go to school.” She said it’s important for both parents and school districts to deal with dis for possible fall resumption of school.

More Regional News

  • Local Democratic Assembly members — Patricia Fahy representing the 109th District and John Mcdonald representing the 108th — say that, although the State Legislature is not in session, they are busy holding hearings, drafting bills, and meeting constituents’ needs in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The county’s executive informed businesses how to proceed in filing state-required forms to reopen and the county’s health commissioner said testing for COVID-19 as well as continuing to follow mitigation strategies will be crucial in remaining open.

  • As Albany County ends the 11th week since the first two cases of COVID-19 were announced on March 12, the county executive says, “We are starting to go in the right direction ….” Both statewide and in Albany County, the curve has flattened and the Capital Region has completed the first week of the reopening of Phase 1 businesses.

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