ALBANY — As hospitalization rates decrease across the state, the county had its 12th death from COVID-19 from Thursday to Friday, a man in his 50s with multiple underlying health issues.
The other 11 people who died since the pandemic began were all older than 60 with multiple underlying health problems.
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In Albany County, as of Friday, there were 397 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 520 under mandatory quarantine and 75 under precautionary quarantine. On Thursday, there were 365 cases with 477 under mandatory quarantine and 50 under precautionary.
The spike in numbers is directly related to increased testing. Widespread community testing began again with a new test site at UAlbany earlier this week. The limited number of test kits were reserved for those with symptoms bad enough to require hospitalization, health care workers and first responders. As of Friday, more than 4,400 tests were administered, said Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the Albany County Health Department.
There are 38 Albany County residents hospitalized as of Friday, with 14 adults in the ICU.
Statewide, there were 777 deaths from Thursday to Friday, bringing the total number to 7,844. From Wednesday to Thursday, 799 people died statewide, a daily high.
But, the number of new hospitalizations continues to go down — the three day average on Friday was 359, the lowest number since the 239 admitted over a three days ending on March 19 — and for the first time since the start of the pandemic, there were fewer people in the ICU on Friday than the day before.
In Saratoga County there are 182 cases, in Rensselaer County 91 and in Schenectady County, 191. Statewide there are more than 170,500 who tested positive out of nearly 418,000 of those tested.
To date, the actual number of deaths and hospitalizations have not been nearly as bad as even the most optimistic models. The health care system in New York City still has beds available, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and some of the temporary hospitals commissioned handle an astronomical projection of patients based on the models, are not filled to capacity. Infected patients, though, are being brought upstate for treatment.
Cuomo said New York is testing more people than any other state and per capita more than most countries. That will continue and expand, he said.
“There is cautious optimism from downstate with a slight let up in the number of hospitalizations and cases,” Whalen said. “Our trend will be different than New York City. We may expect our apex could come later, and even when we hit the apex, it is important to continue the measures we have implemented in the community. It is working.”
There has been a statewide shutdown of all non-essential businesses including bars, restaurants, barbershops and nail salons, and keeping a social distance of at least six feet while in public is the new norm. Many restaurants are open for takeout.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said he received 35 complaints of restaurants and bars serving people in-house and has issued cease and desist orders to the owners of those establishments.
With Easter Sunday two days away, County Executive Dan McCoy is urging people to not visit with family.
“We are asking people to use good judgement and use common sense,” McCoy said. “If you are living in the same house so be it. But people coming from around the state to have Easter dinner is not advisable.”