ALBANY — The Capital District is moving closer to meeting the seven metrics needed to enter Phase I of reopening the economy, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
It still needs to hire additional 166 contact tracers to reach the 383 needed to meet the 30 per 100,000 people requirement.
It is not clear when the tracers will be in place, but Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the Albany County Health Department, said previously the county would tap into other departments to get additional tracers, employees who track the footsteps of a COVID-19-positive patient to determine if anyone else is susceptible and to quarantine when necessary.
“There has been a shift in the Capital Region and in Western New York and they are now qualified for reopening,” Cuomo said on Sunday, day 78 of the pandemic. “There is still a need to increase tracing and that is a pure administrative function and we will be working with the Capital Region and Western New York to get additional personnel and get them trained and get them ready.”
Saturday, the Capital District was short on two of the metrics: a required decline in the number of hospitalizations over a 14-day period or a three-day average of less than 15 new hospitalizations over the same time frame and a 14-day decline in hospital deaths or a three-day average of fewer than five deaths over the same two-week time frame.
Also, on Saturday Albany County Dan McCoy released a plan for businesses to reopen. Phase I will include construction, manufacturing and retail with curbside pickup. Phase II will take place two weeks later in the individual regions who meet state requirements.
The Capital District, which includes Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Columbia Greene, Warren and Washington counties, said the state’s numbers were wrong, in that it just looked at aggregate numbers and not where the patients are from who are admitted to regional hospitals like Albany Med and St. Peter’s.
County leaders also said nursing home numbers should not be included in the data generate from the general public. In Albany County, 60 percent of the fatalities are from nursing homes.
It is not clear if the state took those concerns into consideration or if the aggregate numbers dropped below acceptable thresholds.
Meanwhile, on Sunday McCoy reported 1,455 positive cases in Albany County with 974 who recovered. There have been 68 fatalities in Albany County with all but two being older than 60 and all but one with underlying health issues.