Melissa Hale-Spencer

Albany County has just directed schools to change from a 10-day period of isolation for infected students to a five-day period, so Guilderland is following suit, said Superintendent Marie Wiles.

Albany County distributed 1,000 of its 10,000 free COVID tests through Stewrt’s Shops to try to reach rural residents while Guilderland used an online sign-up to distribute its allotment of tests.

“Those children who are hospitalized do not have to be scared, frightened, lying in a hospital bed; they do not have to be there,” said Governor Kathy Hochul, urging vaccination.

New York State Capitol

Starting on Monday, visitors to the capitol must be fully vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID test within 48 hours, the Office of General Services announced on Saturday. The office also announced that the Legislative Office Building will be closed until further notice “as a necessary precaution in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.”

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The county has set up an online system, asking residents to fill out a form if they have tested positive for COVID-19: Go to www.AlbanyCounty.com and follow the red COVID-19 information bar at the top of the page to report positive results. So far, county spokeswoman Mary Rozak said on Monday morning, 800 positive tests had been reported through the portal, which was set up last Thursday. “It continues to grow,” she said.

Mary Bassett, the state’s acting health commissioner, said that herd immunity — that is, enough people being vaccinated or having antibodies from having contracted the virus that normal life could resume — “is no longer a useful construct with a virus that mutates as quickly as this one.”

The wave of new COVID-19 cases — presumably heightened by the highly contagious Omicron variant — has not crested for Albany County or the nation.

The health department will not be able to call everyone to quarantine or isolate, said Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy at a press conference on Friday morning as he announced 1,003 new COVID-19 cases. “It’s physically impossible to keep up with everything,” he said.

 “As New York State and Albany County work together to continue distributing at-home test kits to schools and the general public, we’re asking everyone who tests positive to submit their results on the county website through the newly added feature. This will allow us to better understand our infection rate and the level of community spread, because right now our daily case numbers likely are artificially low,” said Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy.

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