ALBANY —Three more Albany County residents died Wednesday to Thursday — a man and woman in their 70s and a man in his 80s — bringing the total to 56.
All but two of the 56 were older than 60 and all but one had underlying health issues.
As of Thursday, there were 1,277 confirmed cases in Albany County, up 25 with 1,041 under mandatory quarantine, down 52 and five under precautionary quarantine, down three from Wednesday, said County Executive Dan McCoy during his daily press briefing.
At Shaker Place, the county’s nursing home, the number of positive cases increased by two to 50 while there are 18 employees who tested positive and are out of work while nine more have recovered and returned to work.
There are 2,894 people who completed quarantine in Albany County with 753 who tested positive and recovered. As of Sunday, there were more than 300 nursing home patients and employees who tested positive across Albany County.
As of Thursday, there are 28 county residents in the hospital for a rate of 2.2. As the more people test positive the hospitalization rate will decrease since the vast majority do not exhibit symptoms severe enough to require anything more than a few days on the couch.
Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the Albany County Health Department, said there has been considerable amount of talk about reopening but warned things will not return to normal anytime soon.
“The public health risk has not been mitigated, and it will not be mitigated completely until there is a large percentage of the population that is immune or there is a vaccine for this virus,” she said. “This is not a switch we will flip, but it will be a dial and the ability to look at that dial to scale it back if we need.”
Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined seven metrics the individual regions of New York state must meet in order to begin a phased in reopening of the economy. The Capital District — which includes Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Washington, Warren, Columbia and Green counties — falls short on three of the requirements.
It meets the number of new deaths in a hospital, new hospitalizations, the percentage of total beds available and the number of ICU beds available. It falls short on a 14-day decline in hospitalizations, the number of tests being conducted and the number of contact tracers.
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said there is not one region of the state that can meet all seven metrics.
For example, he said, the governor is requiring 30 tests per 1,000 a month and he does not have 4,800 tests let alone the ability to administer them so that “metric is unreachable.” He said mandating individual hospitals have a 30 percent bed capacity in case there is a second wave of the virus is “moronic” because it will prevent elective surgeries and “drive hospitals into bankruptcy.”
“I know logically it is not realistic to meet every one of those to begin to open,” he said of the seven requirements. “If we adhere to all of them we will not open for a long period of time and we cannot do that, so at some point you will see county executives across the state like me saying ‘enough we need to open.’ We need to move forward in a sane and sensible way.”
In Rensselaer County, where there have been significantly fewer tests administered than in Albany County, there are 375 positive cases as of Thursday with 213 who have recovered and given a clean bill of health.
Statewide, the number of hospitalizations continues to drop as do the three-day average of hospitalizations, the number of new cases and the number of people on a ventilator. Still, there were 231 fatalities due to COVID-19 across the state.