SCHENECTADY — Mayor Gary McCarthy is in self-quarantine after attending a press conference in Syracuse on Wednesday with at least one mayor who announced Thursday he has tested positive for COVID.
“I am self-quarantining and waiting for recommendations on testing,” McCarthy said on Thursday morning after Binghamton Mayor Rich David announced he tested positive for the virus.
The mayor said it’s likely three to five days will be needed for an accurate test.
McCarthy and David were among the mayors who attended a New York Conference of Mayors press conference in Syracuse on Wednesday designed to make the case for a federal relief package for local governments who have been financially hammered by the ongoing pandemic.
McCarthy said he is working from home and city operations are not affected.
Ten mayors from cities in upstate New York attended the event, including Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, who also entered self-quarantine on Thursday.
While Sheehan said her exposure to David was “very minimal,” she entered precautionary quarantine “out of an abundance of caution.”
“I am feeling well and am taking this voluntary quarantine seriously,” Sheehan said in a released statement. “My main priority is managing our city’s storm recovery and ensuring that we do everything possible to open our streets, remove downed trees and support National Grid’s efforts to restore power to our residents and businesses.”
David said he’s “feeling fine and will be resting at home.”
“I will follow the recommendations of healthcare providers on treatment and isolation, and I’m working with health department staff to ensure proper contact tracing,” Rich wrote on Twitter.
Photos of the event show attendees were social distancing and wearing masks.
David’s diagnosis comes as Binghamton is emerging as a hotspot.
Following a spike in cases, SUNY Binghamton announced on Wednesday it will pivot to online-only classes for at least two weeks.
As a result of the COVID clusters emerging in the New York City area, Binghamton has been deemed a “yellow cluster” as part of the state’s new initiative designed to contain the virus, and restrictions have been placed on the city and elsewhere in Broome County.
And in Onondaga County, where mayors attended an executive board meeting in Skaneateles following the Syracuse press conference, the county health department will conduct contact tracing and contact any individuals for whom additional precautions are required, according to McCarthy’s office.
Positive cases are climbing slightly statewide as school resumes and cold weather is pushing people indoors.
The state conducted 145,811 tests on Wednesday, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.
Despite spikes in 20 zip codes the state has flagged as “hotspots” in the New York City metro area, the statewide infection remains low at 1.26 percent.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said those 20 zip codes contained 23.2 percent of all positive cases statewide Wednesday, but represent only 6.2 percent of the state’s population.
Cuomo contended the rising numbers are not an indication that the state is losing its grip on combating the virus.
“I don’t think there’s any other state that does enough testing to even know what 6 percent of the population is doing,” Cuomo said. “So don’t confuse 6 percent of the population and say it’s representative of the state.”
In the Capital Region, the three-day positive average is .05 percent.
Yet the hospitalization rate is steadily increasing statewide.
On Wednesday, 754 people were hospitalized, up from 418 on Aug. 30, the lowest number since the beginning of the pandemic.
Amid the uptick, several senior centers announced they were resuming activities this month, including the Halfmoon Senior Citizen Association, which reopened Monday.
The Niskayuna Senior Center has also announced a full slate of events for October.
Elsewhere, Saratoga County on Thursday closed the county Treasurer’s Office until Oct. 21 after an employee tested positive.
That employee, who was wearing a mask, worked Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the agency’s 40 McMaster St. office.
Also on Thursday, the Shenendehowa Central School District said two individuals associated with the Transportation Department tested positive.
Three workers at area restaurants also tested positive.
Despite what officials characterized as “low-risk” exposures at all locations, they’re advising patrons to get tested:
550 Waterfront in Saratoga Springs
An employee working at 550 Waterfront, located at 550 Union Ave. in Saratoga Springs, tested positive and worked on Monday, Oct. 5 from 3:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Rusty Nail Grill & Tavern in Clifton Park
An employee working at The Rusty Nail Grill & Tavern, located at 1781 Route 9 in Clifton Park, tested positive and worked on Sunday, Oct. 4 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pasta Pane in Clifton Park
An employee working at Pasta Pane, located at 18 Park Avenue in Clifton Park, tested positive and worked on Sunday, Sept. 27, from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 1, from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.