ALBANY — It’s been seven days since a county resident died from COVID-19 and the number of new positive cases continues to decrease.
On Wednesday, there were 1,644 positive cases, up five from Tuesday, with 1,237 who have recovered, up 37.
“If you recall, two weeks ago we were seeing 30-40 cases each day and now we are down to single digits so that is very encouraging,” said Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the Albany County Health Department.
She said the county appears to have peaked in mid- to late April. On April 24, there were 74 new cases and on April 29 there were 66. There have been 76 Albany County deaths since the pandemic began in mid-March.
The eight-county Capital District — Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Washington, Warren, Greene and Columbia — is poised to enter Phase II on Wednesday, June 3 … if the numbers hold.
Whalen, and County Executive Dan McCoy during their daily briefing, warned that now is not the time to ease up on precautionary measures and took pains to call out the 20- to 29-year-olds. That demographic represents 270 people who tested positive, and are second only to 50- to 59-year-olds with 285 positive cases.
“I know you don’t want to hear it, but you are the ones who have no symptoms and you are the ones who are exposing other people,” McCoy said. “I know you want to go out and be with your friends but just do the right thing and throw on a mask.”
The Capital District hit all seven metrics required by the state to begin Phase I seven days ago and that included construction, manufacturing and some retail with curb side pickup. Phase II includes professional services, additional retail, real estate and barber shops and salons, which were initially in Phase IV but was bumped up to Phase II.
“Even though right now we will hit phase II on June 3, and everything is going in the right direction, what you did this weekend could effect that,” McCoy said.
It takes as long as 14 days for an infected person to begin showing symptoms so from the first day of the long weekend, Friday, May 22 is Friday, June 5 and two weeks from Memorial Day is June 8.
“I hope everyone did the right thing because it will have an impact,” McCoy said.
As the Capital District prepares for Phase II, businesses will need to adhere to the protocols set down by the state including creating an environment that allows social distancing, provide masks to employees and require masks of patrons.