ALBANY —As of Wednesday, there are 41 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Albany County with 126 people under mandatory quarantine and 441 under precautionary quarantine.
Statewide, there are 2,382 confirmed cases with 549 requiring hospitalization and 16 deaths. There are 6,994 confirmed across the country.
One of the positive cases in Albany County, is a deputy with the Sheriff’s Department works transporting prisoners from the jail to the Judicial Center for court proceedings. His diagnosis has led to the precautionary quarantine of nine other deputies.
“He is seven days in and he feels good,” Sheriff Craig Apple said on Talk 1300. “He has weak knees and he had a headache but we are talking to him and we talking to his parents.”
Another new case is an elderly resident who has been hospitalized.
There were 25 cases in Albany County on Tuesday.
The numbers are increasing, as expected, as testing increases but also because it is likely spreading among the community, said Albany County Department of Health Commissioner Elizabeth Whalen at a daily press briefing. Part of that she said, is because the people who tested positive have not traveled outside the country.
“As we started to ramp up testing, and testing became widely available last week, we anticipated we would find more positives,” she said. “As we interview people who are positive we are finding that not a high percentage of them have acquired this from foreign countries and that leads us to believe that there is community spread. The extent of that is not yet clearly defined and we are hoping we can get a better handle on that so we are looking at those trends.”
She also advised people to not wear masks unless they have tested positive or are symptomatic because they are not effective protection. And they are a valuable resource.
“They are good for containing the source of infection. If an individual has a cough, they should let the facility know before they go in and they will be given a mask to protect the health care workers,” she said. “We need to allocate resources and the mask is one of those resources.”
Meanwhile, the county has cut its workforce by 54 percent, excluding the crucial departments like the Department of Health, the Sheriff’s Office, the Water Department and Shaker Place, the Albany County nursing home.
Albany County Dan McCoy said the county is also exploring ways to connect residents with mental health services to alleviate difficulties with staying at home for long periods of time.
County Clerk Bruce Hidley said his office will be closed to the public starting Thursday, March 19. The only in person services offered will be emergency court filings with all other business done online.
The county also re-issued the warning to people on precautionary quarantine. If a person is placed under precautionary quarantine, they must abide by the guidelines and remain in the home to prevent the spread of this virus. If that is not followed, it will be changed to a mandatory quarantine that is legally binding.
The county is also looking for volunteers to help with the pandemic. If you would like to volunteer for the Albany County Medical Reserve Corps to help the response to COVID-19, please visit the below website to register. For additional assistance, you can call the Department of Health’s MRC Coordinator at (518) 447-4610.