Albany County hits new single-day milestone with 99 positive COVID-19 cases

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"Today marks the single largest daily increase of positive cases since we reported our first cases on March twelfth and we have the most people ever under mandatory quarantine as well,” McCoy remarked on the county, which also has 416 active cases.

According to the county executive, the 1,492 residents under quarantine represents the most since May 5, when 1,107 were quarantined.

“We are not moving in the right direction and personal responsibility is a big reason. If you don’t need to go somewhere, don’t. It’s not worth the potential exposure to COVID-19 and co...tinuing to spread it throughout the community," McCoy emphasized on the need to take the virus seriously.

Among the new positive cases, 41 had close contact with positive cases, three reported traveling out of state, 42 did not have a clear source of infection at present, and 13 are healthcare workers or residents of congregate settings.

McCoy also noted there were cases associated with a real estate reality show, three in Albany County and two in Rensselaer County.

Once again, McCoy implored people to be truthful with contact tracers from the health department and to follow quarantine protocols.

"People feel like they're helping their friends out by not telling them. Fourteen days in your house is not going to kill you. Do you wanna go back to four months of being shut down and no one being allowed out? Then help us," McCoy added on the need for cooperation.

According to the SUNY COVID-19 Case Tracker, since Nov. 7 the University at Albany has seen an estimated 102 positive cases. There are 196 students in mandatory quarantine, 41 isolating off-campus, 98 isolating on campus, for a total of 139. On-campus quarantine capacity shows 220 of 230 rooms available being in use. 

McCoy also noted there were two new hospitalizations overnight. There are 35 residents currently hospitalized, five patients in the ICU and the hospitalization rate is at 0.85%.

Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, reiterated her concern and the need to double down on preventative measures for the next six weeks.

"Certainly our numbers are concerning. As we indicated [Tuesday] we are seeing a disturbing rise in the number of cases. The amount of testing that we are currently doing cannot explain this alone, it is obvious from our investigations and from our numbers that this indicates that there is likely a bigger risk in the community and that there is community spread," Whalen remarked on the newest data.

"We had additional information [Tuesday] from the CDC on masks, indicating at this point we can now say that masks not only protect others that you're in contact with also protect you. We've known that these types of masks can certainly prevent droplet type infection and now we're seeing evidence that it is suppressing rates of COVID so masks are still essential," Whalen explained.

"It is about keeping physical distance and really limiting the amount of interaction you have with others, especially large groups and large group settings, as we know that these are situations where people put themselves at risk," Whalen continued on additional actions that should be taken to mitigate the spread of the virus.

"For schools, as the county executive indicated, it's very important that parents get their kids tested. Kids can have minimal symptoms. We do encourage children to be tested. We encourage everyone to be tested that has concerns either around symptoms, even if they're mild and exposure," Whalen noted.

Whalen also broke down the difference between rapid tests and PCR laboratory-based tests and how people should proceed after they've been tested. 

"You can accept the result of a rapid test if you are asymptomatic and you're looking for screening. If however, you have symptoms, and you want to rule out COVID-19, a rapid test is not enough, according to the guidelines that we're getting from the State Health Department," Whalen explained regarding the rapid tests which yield results in 15 minutes.

"In a situation where an individual is symptomatic, you need a PCR laboratory-based test. These are the tests that are sent off to the lab, you do not get them immediately and they may take a day or two to come back," Whalen noted on the difference of the lab test.

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