The South African strain of COVID-19, known as B.1.351, was first confirmed in the United States on Jan. 28 in South Carolina. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage that tracks three variant strains, as of Monday evening, there were a total of 17 cases of B.1.351 across eight states.

Given the continued decline in hospitalization and infection rates throughout New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday signed an executive order extending closing times from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. for bars, restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, casinos, and billiards halls, as well as other establishments licensed by the State Liquor Authority.

Eleven more cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 — the highly transmissible variant first identified in the United Kingdom — have been identified in New York State, bringing the state’s total to 70.

When the first Shaker Place resident died of COVID-19, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said, he was faced with a choice of reporting it or not. He said he had learned from being at war, “It eventually comes out.”

ALBANY COUNTY — Albany County — including the municipal governments within its boundaries — is slated to get $173,960,989 under the 2021 Fiscal Reconciliation Act currently moving through Congress.

The number of overdoses in Albany County for 2020 represents a 68-percent increase from the annual average over the last five years. Fentanyl — a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is increasingly illicitly manufactured — was present in 88 percent of all county opioid overdoses last year. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance on effective mask-wearing and also releasing fully vaccinated people from quarantine restrictions.

New York State is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify additional sites outside of New York City to launch targeted efforts focused on vaccine equity and improving access to socially vulnerable populations; each site is to vaccinate 1,000 New Yorkers per day. 

New York along with a score of other states is now below the 5-percent threshold that the World Health Organization advised governments to reach, and hold for 14 days, before reopening.

With the addition of people with comorbidities, about 10 million New Yorkers are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. The state gets about 300,000 doses each week and the vaccines require two doses.


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