‘Help us save lives,’ county exec pleads as he reports 147 new COVID-19 cases

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy addressing the press on Friday, Nov. 13.

ALBANY COUNTY — As the nation sets records for new cases of COVID-19, so does Albany County.

The county hit an all-time high of new positive test results in a single day — 147.

“The direction we’re headed is scaring the hell out of me,” said Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy as he made the announcement Saturday morning at a press conference he had hoped not to call.

“I thought 99 was bad,” he said of the previous high. “It’s scary.”

Albany County’s seven-day average is at 2.86 percent of test results being positive, McCoy said. A yellow zone kicks in at 3 percent, he said, referencing the state’s strategy to tamp down on micro-clusters of COVID-19.

Red zones are the most severe followed by orange zones and yellow zones.

“I’m not advocating for a lockdown …,” said McCoy. “It took its toll on addictions, mental health, suicides. I could go on and on.”

Deputy County Executive Daniel Lynch noted that 18.5 percent of all of the county’s COVID-19 cases have occurred since Nov. 1. 

He said that county workers have returned to staggered shifts and working remotely when possible and urged businesses and municipalities to do the same.

Lynch also made a call for all county residents to get tested for COVID-19. “If we enter the cluster,” he said, the state will mandate testing. “Let’s do it before we get to that point,” said Lynch.

Widespread voluntary testing, Lynch said, will provide the health department with “a true indicator of where we stand as a community.”

The number of county residents under quarantine also hit a new record at 1,733 up from 1,554. 

Tracking and tracing all of the contacts for the new cases is taxing the county’s health department. McCoy reiterated a plea made earlier in the week for doctors and nurses to volunteer to join the county’s medical corps, assisting health-department workers.

Among the 147 new cases, 80 had close contact with someone infected with the disease, four reported traveling out of state, 54 did not have a clear source of infection identified at this time, and nine are health-care workers or residents of congregate settings.

McCoy sounded irate when he said, “Here’s the other alarming thing: 54 people don’t have a clear source of infection. They magically won’t tell us.”

As he has repeatedly for weeks, McCoy urged residents who test positive to be honest with health-department staff about where they have been and who they have been in contact with.

“Help us save lives,” he said.

Five more residents were hospitalized with COVID-19 overnight. Thirty-eight county residents are now hospitalized with the disease; nine are in intensive-care units.

“Our hospitals are getting packed,” said Mccoy

The hospitalizations in Albany County have not been this high since April, he said.

McCoy also noted that roughly a third of the new cases, 47, are associated with the University at Albany. UAlbany has moved to remote classes having topped the threshold of 100 cases in a discreet two-week period.

McCoy said that Sheriff Craig Apple had planned to join him for the Saturday morning press conference but just got a call that his wife had tested positive for COVID-19 and went to get a test himself.

More Regional News

  • Albany County suffered three COVID deaths this week: a man in his seventies died on Thursday, a man in his sixties died on Friday, and a woman in her nineties died on Saturday. Albany County’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 439.

  • Boosters are recommended because the effectiveness of the vaccine wanes over time.

  • “This is an opportunity in this post-pandemic world to let people know, get the skills, go into apprenticeship programs, get trained,” said Governor Kathy Hochul, speaking from the county’s airport on Monday enroute to the White House for the signing of the infrastructure bill. “There’s jobs waiting for you to help rebuild this great state after we were knocked down so far.”

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