ALBANY — As cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, two more county residents — a woman in her 70s and a man in his 80s — died due to complications related to COVID-19 from Thursday to Friday bringing the total death toll to 147 since the pandemic began.
As of Friday, there were 4,260 positive cases of COVID-19 in the county, an increase of 71 from Thursday, said County Executive Dan McCoy during a press briefing. There are 507 active cases in the county, up from 483 on Thursday. Of the 18,509 people who completed quarantine, 3,753 tested positive and recovered.
It continues a trend of numbers not seen since this spring as the virus was taking hold in upstate. On Wednesday, there were 99 new cases, the highest single day total of the pandemic.
With no signs of slowing and a Health Department stretched beyond thin, Dr. Elizabeth Whalen is asking for volunteers to help out.
“We have a Medical Reserve Corps and if you are in the medical field, and can donate some time and want to help the effort please let us know,” said the head of the Health Department. “To have your name on a list and know we can reach out to you is helpful. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done.”
Any and all health care professional is welcome and other volunteers are needed as interpreters, administrative assistants, data entry and other tasks.
There were five new hospitalizations overnight but the total number of county residents hospitalized dropped to 35 from 37 for a rate of .82 percent.
“Our numbers continue to move in the wrong direction and I continue to ask our community to work together for the greater good of our vulnerable populations,” McCoy said. “I want to remind people that this isn’t just a spike in number of positive cases due to increased testing. Albany County’s percent positive rate is also far too high, reaching 4.7 percent and 5.4 percent on Nov. 8 and Nov. 9.”
Tonight, bars, restaurants and gyms must close by 10 p.m. and remain closed until 5 a.m. Restaurants can still serve food via curb side delivery only.
Enforcement will fall to the city and town administrations and their police departments, McCoy said. He is hoping the individual businesses will voluntarily cooperate rather than be fined and closed down by the authorities.
“We don’t want to go into a business that has been struggling for months and then fine them thousands of dollars,” he said. “No one wants to shut anyone down. These businesses are struggling and we want them to stay open but we want them to do it in a safe way. We are just asking people to roll up their sleeves and do the right thing to protect the patrons and protect their workers.”