ALBANY — There are more than 900 county residents under mandatory quarantine, and keeping track of them all is a daunting task, particularly if those who are under the order do not follow the rules.
A person under mandatory quarantine means they have come into close, prolonged contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, generally someone who lives or works with someone who tested positive, said Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the county Health Department.
The Health Department checks up on anyone under mandatory quarantine twice a day, with a phone call and a home visit, to make sure they are at home.
A person under mandatory quarantine is asymptomatic and the stay at home order generally lasts for two weeks while officials watch for signs of the virus to emerge. If symptoms do develop — fever, cough, headaches, sore throat, muscle ache and/or a new loss of scent taste — a test is administered. If it comes back positive, the mandatory quarantine is upped to mandatory isolation.
A person who has tested positive, and whose symptoms are not severe enough to require hospitalization, is under mandatory isolation. The Health Department will also check on those people twice a day, once by phone call and once with a home visit, and make accommodations for things like food and prescription drugs. That will remain in effect until the virus runs its course.
The number of people under the lowest category of isolation, precautionary, is shrinking because the state has banned or closed all places where people congregate. For example, it was once close to 500 after a Farnsworth Middle School student tested positive and 400 students and faculty were placed under precautionary quarantine for two weeks. It applies to someone who may have been at a supermarket where someone has tested positive.
The Health Department checks on people under precautionary quarantine by phone once a day.
“We are going into eight weeks and it is still amazing to me some people still have a problem with staying in quarantine,” said County Executive Dan McCoy. “It’s not about you. It’s about the people around you. It’s 14 days.”
The quarantine orders are not legally binding, but they can become so with repeated violations.
Meanwhile, the number of positive cases in Albany County jumped by 25 to 962 from Monday to Tuesday with 917 under mandatory quarantine, up 105, and the number under precautionary quarantine fell 12 to 23.
There are 2,156 who have completed one form of quarantine and 487 people have recovered from the virus.
There are 43 people hospitalized for a rate of 4.6 percent.
Thirty-six Albany County residents have died of COVID-19. All but one were over 60 years old and all but one had underlying health issues.