ALBANY — A ninth county resident has died of COVID-19, a 70-year-old woman with underlying health problems.
A total of nine county residents have died from COVID-19. All were 60 and older and all had underlying health issues. There have been five Saratoga County residents, three residents of Rensselaer County and six residents of Schenectady County who have died.
Statewide, the record number of deaths set from Monday to Tuesday was broken a day later with 779 deaths reported Wednesday for a total of 6,268 since the pandemic began ravaging the country.
It is unclear how long those who died were at the hospital but there is a lag between admittance to a hospital and death.
On the plus side, the number of hospitalizations, the number of new hospitalizations, the three-day average of new hospitalizations and the number of positive cases all decreased again on Wednesday statewide. They are all indications the curve is flattening and the virus had reached a plateau.
As of Wednesday, there were 330 positive cases in Albany County, up 21 from Tuesday. There are 441 under mandatory quarantine, down 18, and 43 under precautionary quarantine, down 14. There are 37 hospitalized, which puts the hospitalization rate at 11.2 percent, and there are 13 adults in ICU, according to County Executive Dan McCoy during his daily briefing.
Meanwhile, community testing at UAlbany is ongoing and Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the Albany County Health Department, said data should be compiled at the end of this week or the beginning of next week. It generally takes between 24 and 48 hours to get a test result and only those who show symptoms of COVID-19 — fever, cough and shortness of breath — are being tested.
She said once the results do start coming in, the number of positive cases will, logically, spike.
“We anticipate by the end of the week we will have a better picture of what it is like in Albany County,” she said. “If our numbers are lower than expected, that means we are doing a good job and we need to continue that vigilance. We need to continue the strict guidelines to stay at home and continue with good hand hygiene.”
The two numbers that will receive the most attention are the number of positive cases and the hospitalization rate. The shutdown of all non-essential businesses and social distancing protocols were put in place to flatten the curve so as not to overwhelm health care facilities and workers. As of now, she said, upstate hospitals have enough of capacity and there are reportedly some 100 COVID-19 patients from downstate being treated in upstate hospitals.
Once the data from UAlbany is compiled, Whalen said the county will release demographics for those who died and who tested positive like age, the presence of any pre-existing condition, and those who are hospitalized and those in the ICU and on a ventilator.
Anyone experiencing symptoms can call the state hotline at 888-364-3065 to get a pin number. People will not get a test without a pin number.