ALBANY — There were 208 new cases of COVID-19 in the county from Wednesday to Thursday, 98 residents in the hospital — a new record — and two more people died from the virus.
How the state will determine an area a microcluster is still up in the air, said County Executive Dan McCoy during a press briefing Wednesday, but more emphasis is on the ability for hospitals to handle the most serious cases than the raw number of infections.
In the Capital District region, the 12 hospitals caring for COVID patients have the capacity to handle the current level of cases and some room to spare should the surge continue.
“We are very confident, as a group of hospitals, that we have this under control,” said Dr. Ferdinand Venditti, Albany Medical Center executive vice president for system care delivery. “We do see a path to caring for more COVID patients should the need arise and we do think that there is a good possibility the numbers will continue to increase.”
As of Thursday, there were 98 Albany County residents sick enough to require hospital care. The previous record was 96 set on Dec. 4. The death toll increased to 172 with the death of a man in his 70s and a woman in her 90s from Wednesday to Thursday. In Albany Med, Venditti said, there are 63 people currently being treated for COVID with 12 in the ICU and two on a ventilator. The age range runs from 17 to 96, he said.
Across the Capital District, the severity of infection, or the seven-day average of new hospitalizations per 100,000 people, was 2.5, which is below the state average of 3.2. There are 26 percent of total beds available for COVID patients and 40 percent of ICU beds, higher than the state average of 22 and 36, respectively.
In the 12 hospitals across the region — which includes hospitals outside of the eight-county regions considered by the state — there were 300 patients being treated for COVID with 43 in the ICU and 21 on a ventilator.
Venditti said the hospitals are working together to help each other out and care for an expected increase of COVID patients without state restrictions on other types of care like were imposed earlier this year.
“We will try to maintain our non-COVID capacity as long as possible. I am very worried and I think it is a concern shared with many in health care, that a delay in health care is causing a problem,” he said. “Right now the acuity, the severity, of our non-COVID patients is the highest it has ever been and that is, in part, due to a delay in care.”
From Wednesday to Thursday, there were 118 who tested positive and recovered.
A microcluster designation will impose increased levels of restrictions on a host of activities and businesses. The area will be determined by the state and could be an entire region, a county, a municipality, a zip code or a neighborhood.