County executive advises caution as COVID-19 cases continue to spike

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

“I’m scared as hell,” said Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy. “Thanksgiving is around the corner.”

ALBANY COUNTY — Sixty-seven county residents have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week and 10 have been hospitalized since Oct. 16.

“We have to be careful,” said Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy during a press briefing on Monday morning.

Since Sunday, the county has had 24 new cases, bringing the total since March 12 to 3,474.

McCoy worried, with cold weather approaching, that Albany County could be heading for a second apex.

“I’m scared as hell,” he said. “Thanksgiving is around the corner.”

He advised, with the holiday season approaching, that residents need to remain vigilant. He himself is going to celebrate Thanksgiving just with his nuclear family, McCoy said.

“The only way we’re going to do this is if everyone is in it together,” he said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also held a press conference in Albany on Monday, sounding the same theme he had on Sunday — that the federal government has not tried to contain COVID-19.

“If you believe you can’t control it, then you don’t even try,” he said.

He also reiterated a theme from months ago, that the federal government believes there are only two options: to close down the economy or to let the virus spread. Since President Donald Trump is “all about the economy,” he let the virus spread, Cuomo said.

Cuomo also said a third option is the one New York State followed: “You can control the spread of the virus by having a phased economic reopening … it was never binary.”

He went on to tout New York’s new approach of tamping down micro-clusters. 

“It is COVID Whack-A-Mole. Okay?” said Cuomo. “One pops up, bang, one pops up, bang, one pops up, bang. You have to be quick, government has to be competent, government has to be effective, but it is a way of controlling the spread and slowing the spread to get you through the vaccination period and save lives.”

Cuomo reported that the positive testing rate in all of the state micro-cluster zones, where over-sampling is done, was at 3.25 percent, based on Sunday’s test results. Statewide, the positivity rate is 1.45 percent.

He also spoke of the worth of mask-wearing and said New York was the first state to require it as he announced a campaign launched by his daughter, Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo.

Governor Cuomo said that 98 or 99 percent of New Yorkers wear masks. “Because they’re smart and they heard the facts, and they care about one another, and they care about themselves,” he said.

As a volunteer, Kennedy-Cuomo worked with The RealReal and dozens of New York fashion designers for a “Mask Up” campaign. The campaign will raise funds for communities impacted by COVID-19 by donating mask profits to three charities working in New York and across the country to help people in need: Feeding America, Nurse Heroes, and the New York COVID Relief Fund.

“All are invited to join,” said the governor, urging, “Post a selfie and challenge five friends to do the same.”

“We hope to harness the power of the fashion community to convey this critical, but simple message of the importance of masking up to stop the spread and save lives,” said Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo.


Newest numbers

The Capital Region, of which Albany County is a part, had 1.5 percent of its test results come back positive on Sunday. 

Only one of the state’s 10 regions was below the 1-percent target: The Mohawk Valley had a positivity rate of 0.7 percent.

Among Albany County’s 24 new positive cases, 15 had close contact with someone infected with the disease, one reported traveling out of state, two are health-care workers or residents of congregate settings, and six did not have a clear source of infection identified at this time.

Albany County now has 1,124 residents under quarantine, down from 1,163 on Sunday.

The five-day average for new daily positives increased to 28 from 26. There are now 151 active cases in the county, up from 139 on Sunday

So far, 15,561 people have completed quarantine. Of those, 3,323 had tested positive and recovered.

Fourteen county residents are currently hospitalized due to the virus with one in an intensive-care unit. The county’s hospitalization rate is still at 0.4 percent.

Albany County’s COVID-19death toll remains at 140.

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