ALBANY — County Executive Dan McCoy said is looking at imposing a curfew and/or a fine to stop people from holding house parties in violation of the directive to avoid large gatherings and keep a social distance of at least six feet.
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“I’m looking to start fining people if they have parties at their house,” he said during his daily press briefing. “They are putting people at risk, not just the people at the parties at risk but also the people in the neighborhood at risk.
“We don’t want to go there. I hope these press conferences will get people to stop it.”
He said neighbors are calling the county to report the parties and to report people gathering in parks playing basketball and tennis. People are urged to get outside and exercise but to keep an appropriate social distance.
“They are not throwing you in, they are doing it to protect the community,” he said of the callers.
As of Thursday, April 2 there were 238 positive cases in Albany County, up from 228 on Wednesday. There are 401 under precautionary quarantine, down from 439 on Wednesday and 202 in precautionary quarantine, down from 241 on Wednesday.
There are 27 Albany County residents hospitalized with 12 in the ICU. On Wednesday there were 22 hospitalized and 12 in the ICU.
Two Albany County residents have died a man in his 70s and a woman in her 60s. Both had multiple underlying health issues.
Rensselaer County reported it first death to the virus on Thursday, a 68-year-old man with pre-existing health issues.
Statewide there are 92,381 cases with 2,373 deaths, up from 1,941 on Wednesday. More than 88,453 cases are in New York City, Long Island and Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the apex, when the number of new cases starts going down, will come between seven and 21 days.
Generally, a person comes out of either mandatory or precautionary quarantine after two weeks of isolation.
Since the beginning of March there were 3,700 people tested in Albany County. Over the past two weeks, though, the limited number of test kits are reserved for those people who require hospitalization and for health care workers and first responders.
“We know we don’t have a true picture of what is going on in the community,” said Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, the head of the county Health Department. “With more community testing we will have a better idea of what is going on in Albany County. Right now, we have good data about what is going on in the hospitals.”
The lack of test kits is an issue across upstate New York and across the county. McCoy said the county is working with private companies to secure test kits and should have an announcement over the next couple of days.