CAPITAL REGION — Statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 hit a four-month low Friday, even as new cases continued to be diagnosed in Capital Region counties — evidence that the virus remains active locally.
Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Rensselaer and Montgomery counties all reported new cases on Friday, according to information released Saturday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office. Albany and Rensselaer counties had new deaths in the last two days.
Cuomo’s office said the total number of people hospitalized was 743, down 22 from the day before — and the lowest number since March 18, near the beginning of the pandemic spread.
But the governor warned that the spiking of cases in other parts of the country create a concern travelers could bring the coronavirus back, or residents could become complacent about guidelines. The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths are setting new records in states in the South and West including Florida, Texas and Arizona.
“New Yorkers’ vigilance, courage and adoption of basic behaviors — mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing — has driven our ability to control the virus, and we have to continue on that path to success,” Cuomo said in a news release.
There were 754 new COVID-19 cases confirmed statewide, with new cases reported in 46 of the state’s 62 counties. The percentage of those testing positive in the Capital Region on Friday was 0.7 percent, after having briefly risen to more that twice that level about a week ago. The statewide average was 1.08 percent.
There were 11 COVID-19 deaths statewide on Friday, Cuomo’s office said, including one in Rennselaer County. Officials said the Rennselaer County victim was a 95-year-old resident of the Riverside Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Schodack, where there has an outbreak among staff and residents.
At the pandemic’s peak in early April, nearly 800 people a day were dying in New York state, many of them nursing home residents.
Even with hospitalizations and deaths down, though, there were fresh reminders Saturday that people in the Capital Region should remain vigilant when out in public. Albany County reported 17 newly confirmed cases, Schenectady County eight new cases, Rensselaer County seven new cases, Saratoga County five new cases, and Montgomery County reported two new cases.
On Friday, Saratoga County officials issued an alert that there was a low-risk exposure at the La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant in Clifton Park, where an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was wearing a mask at all times while working, they said, reducing the risk to patrons.
The possible exposure is for people who were at the restaurant on Monday, July 6, and Tuesday, July 7, both days between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Anyone who was at the restaurant during those hours is advised to self-monitor for any of the symptoms of COVID-19, and can get a diagnostic test.
In Albany County, County Executive Daniel P. McCoy reported the 17 additional cases confirmed Friday was an increase from 13 the day before. Seven of those cases were among people who attended a large July 4 party on Hudson Avenue in Albany, he said, bringing the total who tested positive from that outdoor party in recent days to 22. Four of the others testing positive Friday were health care workers, and two were travelers from out of state, McCoy said.
On Friday, Albany County reported the death of man in his 70s with multiple underlying health conditions — the county’s first death in three weeks.
In a Facebook Live briefing on Saturday, McCoy urged that everyone — including young people who generally have less-severe symptoms if they become ill — to wear a mask, and continue to do so. “It’s not about you, it’s about the people around you,” he said.