County reaches 75% mark of vaccinated adults

ALBANY COUNTY — Three-quarters of Albany County adults had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the county executive, Daniel McCoy, announced on Monday morning.

As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 65.4 percent of Americans 18 and older had received at least one dose. A CDC map shows the least vaccinated states are largely in the south, save Florida, and in the Southwest while the most heavily vaccinated states are in New England, on the West Coast, and in Hawaii.

The CDC has also parsed out vaccination rates by age, stating in a report released on Monday, “If the current rate of vaccination continues through August, coverage among young adults will remain substantially lower than among older adults …. Efforts to improve vaccination coverage are needed, especially among younger adults, to reduce COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.”

By May 22, the report says, 57.0 percent of United States adults had received at least one vaccine dose; coverage was highest — at 80 percent — among adults aged 65 years older, and lowest among adults aged 18 to 29 years at 38.3 percent.

Men had lower coverage than women in all age groups, except those aged 65 and older. Residents of counties that are less urban were less likely to be vaccinated, the report said. 

“Across all age groups, people living in counties with higher social vulnerabilities or higher percentages of the population who are uninsured, living in poverty, lacking access to a computer, and lacking access to a computer with Internet were less likely to be vaccinated,” the report said.

At the same time, the CDC warns that the Delta variant of COVID-19 — which is now dominant in India, where it was first identified in October, and in Russia and the United Kingdom — is now responsible for about a 10th of the cases in the United States.

The vaccines currently authorized in the United States — made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — have so far been effective against variant strains but the concern is that a mutation of the Delta variant could evade the vaccine.

On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo had announced that Saturday’s statewide infection rate, at 0.29 percent, was the lowest daily rate since the start of the pandemic. Albany County’s most recent seven-day average was 0.4 percent.

Despite increased vaccination rates and decreased infection rates, the disease is still deadly. McCoy reported a June 18 death, of a woman in her fifties, bringing Albany County’s COVID-19 death toll to 386.

On Saturday, Cuomo issued an executive order lifting restrictions on indoor gatherings, both in homes and in large venues. The order left in place the current end for the state of emergency on July 3 and also left in place the order that allows municipalities to hold virtual meetings.

“Even if the Governor extends this date,” Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber wrote in his daily emailed COVID update to residents, “with the approval of the Medical Director and EMS [emergency medical services] Director, the Town will likely resume in-person meetings of boards and committees starting the week of July 5th.”

On Monday, Cuomo announced that, after a hiatus last year, fireworks will return to the Empire State Plaza as part of an Independence Day celebration.

The event, which will run from 6 to 10 p.m.will include not just the usual live music and food vendors but also a pop-up vaccination clinic.


Financial news

Financial news has also been encouraging. State tax receipts through the first two months of State Fiscal Year 2021-22 were $4 billion higher than forecast in the Enacted Budget Financial Plan, according to the monthly State Cash Report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Local sales tax collections, which had dipped precipitously a year ago as the result of restrictions to contain the pandemic, in May increased by 57.8 percent over last May, the highest one-month increase in recent history, DiNapoli announced. Collections totaled $1.4 billion, up $530 million from May of last year.

Statewide, local sales-tax collections surged nearly 58 percent in May, according to an analysis from the Comptroller’s Office. The rate is 6.9 percent more — which is $93 million more — than May 2019, before the pandemic.

Albany County, the report says, collected $15.4 million in local sales tax in May 2020 and $23.0 million in May 2021 — an increase of 48.8 percent.

The Capital Region saw a 59.5 percent increase, going from $40.5 million last May to $64.7 million this May in local sales tax.

“The state is emerging from the pandemic on solid fiscal footing because of robust tax revenue growth and an unprecedented infusion of federal assistance,” said DiNapoli in releasing the report. “Still, economic uncertainties remain and caution is warranted going forward.”


Newest numbers

On Monday morning, McCoy announced just four new cases of COVID-19, none with a clear source of infection, bringing the county’s tally to 24,404.

There are now 23 active cases in the county, down from 24 over the weekend. The number of Albany County residents under quarantine increased to 67 from 43. So far, 79,971 residents have completed quarantine. Of those, 24,381 had tested positive and recovered, an increase of 7 recoveries since Saturday.

There was one new hospitalization since Saturday’s update, and there still remain three county residents hospitalized from the virus, none of them in intensive-care units.

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