Albany County inadvertently reported four residents died overnight from the virus, three men and one woman. The woman was from Saratoga County who died in Albany County. The total number of Albany County residents who have died from COVID-19 is 39.
ALBANY – As confirmed cases cross the 1,000 mark, four more county residents died from COVID-19 from Tuesday to Wednesday bringing the total number to 39.
The most recent fatalities are two men in their 70s and a man in his 90s. All but one of the 39 were over 60 years old, and all but one had underlying health issues.
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On Wednesday, the reported number of confirmed cases jumped by 64 bringing the total number to 1,026, said County Executive Dan McCoy.
Albany County is doing by far more testing than any other counties in the Capital District and since the limited number of tests are only for those people who are showing symptoms, the numbers are increasing.
There are 853 people under mandatory quarantine, down 109 from Tuesday, and 24 people under precautionary quarantine, up one. Since the pandemic began, 2,209 people have completed quarantine with 527 of those who tested positive have recovered.
There are 37 people hospitalized, for a rate of 3.7 percent, and eight people in the ICU.
At Shaker Place, the county’s nursing home, 46 residents have tested positive with two residents having recovered and 23 employees who have tested positive with two recovered.
Part of the 12-point plan put forth by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this week includes widespread testing, 30 tests per 1,000 people, and 30 “tracers” per 100,000 people to track the history of a positive case and, when necessary, isolating people who the infected person has come into contact.
Albany County has done more than 9,500 tests while Saratoga County has done 4,700, Schenectady County 3,700 and Rensselaer County 3,000 and Columbia and Green has done a combined 2,200 tests. There are about 1,500 cases in those counties combined.
Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the Albany County Health Department, said her department has done health related contact tracking for decades as it relates to communicable diseases like the mumps, measles and sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.
She said there are about 30 contact tracers working in the county Health Department right now, and the department is looking to hire more or use resources from other county departments until the pandemic subsides.
As of right now, the Capital District does not meet the governor’s criteria for opening upstate regions, and hospitals in the Capital District do not meet the 70 percent maximum occupancy threshold to allow elective surgeries.
“When the governor was starting to discuss this, Albany would not qualify right off the bat and a lot of this is because the testing we are doing, but if you look at testing over days we are not seeing a spike we are seeing more of a plateau and when we look at hospitalizations we are seeing a plateau at a low number,” she said. “Our doctors want to do elective procedures that are backing up and do so in a way that minimizes a risk to the public.”
She also talked about the large number of people who are recovering from COVID-19 and how people who take responsibility for their own physical health run less of a risk of getting seriously ill from the virus.
The vast majority of people, more than 80 percent, are asymptomatic, show mild signs of illness or have flulike symptoms that require some time on the couch.
The older population are more susceptible as are those with underlying health conditions like chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, heart conditions or are otherwise immunocompromised. The latter can take many different forms from cancer treatments to smoking cigarettes.
“With all conditions there is a spectrum of those controlled and not controlled,” she said. “If you are controlling it well, and taking your medications and following along with your doctor you are controlling it well.”
She said if nothing else the shutdown and stay at home orders could allow people to take better care of themselves and learn to eat a more healthy diet and exercise more.