Two more county residents die of COVID-19 as record number are hospitalized

ALBANY COUNTY — Two more Albany County residents have died of COVID-19 and the county has broken another unwelcome record with 116 residents currently hospitalized with the disease.

A man in his fifties and a woman in her eighties were the latest to succumb to the virus, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy announced in a press release on Sunday morning. This brings the county’s COVID-19 death toll to 206.

“We have seen significant increases in positive cases since the start of the holiday season and we need to stop the spread to avoid any more hospitalizations and deaths. Please stay home and do not have people into your home to socialize who don’t live with you,” said McCoy in the release.

For six straight days, the daily number of new COVID-19 cases in the county had topped 200 so Sunday’s report of 156 was relatively better. However, the lower number may not be an indication of less infection but rather of fewer people getting tested because of the Christmas holiday.

The Capital Region, of which Albany County is a part, continues to have one of the worst rates among the state’s 10 regions for hospital bed availability.

According to a Sunday release from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, 158 Capital Region residents are currently occupying the region’s 202 intensive-care-unit beds, leaving 19 percent available. This is the lowest percentage in any of the state’s 10 regions.

The highest percentage of available ICU beds is in the North Country which has 51 percent available. Statewide, 30 percent of ICU beds are available.

The Capital Region currently has 380 residents hospitalized with COVID-19, which is 0.04 percent of the population and leaves 26 percent of the region’s hospital beds available.

Only one region — Central New York at 24 percent — is lower and another is tied with the Capital Region: Long Island at 26 percent. Statewide, 0.04 percent of New Yorkers are hospitalized and 31 percent of hospital beds are available.

On Friday, the Capital Region has just 24 percent of its hospital beds available; that improved to 25 percent on Saturday.

The Capital Region’s infection rate, based on Saturday’s test results, is the third highest in the state, at 7.95 percent. The highest is the Mohawk Valley at 8.84 percent, followed by the Finger Lakes at 8.12 percent.

The lowest continues to be the Southern Tier, at 3.06 percent. Statewide, the positivity rate is 5.66 percent.

“As we near the end of the holiday season, New York remains locked in a footrace between the vaccine’s quick distribution and COVID-19’s continued spread,” Cuomo said in a statement, releasing the latest numbers. “It has been a tough year and we still have several tough months ahead, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we will make it there if we all do our part to slow the spread. New York is working closely with the medical community to not only administer the vaccine, but to continue growing capacity as well.”

As of Monday morning, Albany County has had 10,537 confirmed cases of COVID-19, McCoy’s release announced.

Of the 156 new cases, 127 did not have a clear source of infection identified, 26 had close contact with someone infected with the disease, and three are health-care workers or residents of congregate settings.

The five-day average for new daily positives decreased to 219.6 from 233.6. There are now 1,436 active cases in the county, up from 1,390 on Saturday.

The number of county residents under mandatory quarantine increased to 3,087 from 2,995. So far, 35,274 residents have completed quarantine. Of those, 9,101 of them had tested positive and recovered. That is an increase of 98 recoveries since yesterday.

There were 14 new hospitalizations reported overnight. Twenty-two of the 116 county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 are in intensive-care units.

More Regional News

  • The Sierra Club released a report this month detailing the widespread use of fertilizer that contain highly toxic PFAS chemicals on farmland in New York State, and the state’s apparent failure to properly control this use. 

  • More than 100 wildfires burning in Quebec are causing hazy conditions across much of the state.

  • “Enjoy food at inexpensive cost organized by teens from the Young Abolitionist Leadership Institute, photos with an image of Stephen Myers, tour and view historical presentations by teen program participants, relax in the beautiful gardens, shop at our Black artisans gallery, enjoy many other features,” says a notice from the Underground Railroad Education Center.

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.