ALBANY — The number of county residents who tested positive for COVID-19 jumped by 80, to 864, from Friday to Saturday.
The reason behind highest daily increase since the pandemic outbreak is that test results are starting to come back, said County Executive Dan McCoy during his daily briefing.
“Our numbers are going up higher than other areas because of the aggressive testing we are doing,” he said of the six sites set up in Albany County who are limited to testing people with COVID-19 symptoms — fever, cough and shortness of breath.
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Albany County has conducted more than 8,000 tests. Schenectady County has conducted about 2,300 tests with 297 positive cases, Rensselaer County about 2,500 tests with 198 positive cases and Saratoga County about 3,600 tests with 278 positive cases.
On Saturday, there were 746 people under mandatory quarantine in Albany County and 42 under precautionary quarantine, McCoy said. On Friday, there were 753 under mandatory and 54 under precautionary.
As of Saturday, 1,960 county residents had completed some type of quarantine and 473 people recovered from the virus.
There are 34 people hospitalized for a rate of 3.9 percent. Seven residents are in the ICU.
At Shaker Place, the county nursing home, there are 39 residents who tested positive as have 15 employees. He said testing has been aggressive at the nursing home and the precautionary measures are made somewhat easier thanks to the ongoing $90 million renovation/addition project.
“We have extra floors that are vacant so we can space the residents out so we can protect them and the workers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maureen McGuinness, president of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, talked about a survey her organization conducted among member businesses since non-essential businesses were shut down and a statewide stay at home order went into effect last month.
She said 95 percent of the businesses report a negative economic impact, 44 percent of those who responded say they are in danger of closing and 46 percent have laid off employees. Nearly 35 percent report supply chain problems such as increase prices and delays in shipping time.
“Some reported they cannot continue past June with the way things are today,” she said. “Our members are scared about what is going to happen with their business. How will they open up? How will their business survive in a post-pandemic world?”
She said a number of businesses have applied for federal funding and some have received it while other did not.
On average, she said, the businesses who responded have been open for 21 years and in general those who have been around longer are in a better position to survive the crisis.
One business, Spectrum, is coming under fire for raising its rates, and McCoy said he will be talking to District Attorney David Soares to see if anything can be done about what he called “price gauging.”
“Early on, we established a committee to watch out for price gouging. And the fact they are raising rates 20 percent and the fact they are supposed to be leaving small businesses up and running but are shutting them off is a tragedy,” he said. “I will have a nice conversation with DA Soares today, because they are trying to make money off people who now unfortunately can’t get out and now they are charging more money for watching cable TV.”