BALLSTON SPA — Saratoga County is planning to boost its public education efforts after an uptick in the number of residents testing positive for COVID-19 infections.
As a percentage of tests performed, or in comparison to harder-hit counties locally and across the state, the number of confirmed infections in Saratoga County is not huge or even large.
But the 30 confirmed positives reported Friday by the state Department of Health was the second-highest ever in Saratoga County, after 42 positives on April 24, near the height of the pandemic.
“The reality is we’ve got community spread. It’s no longer as it was initially, tied to a specific location,” County Administrator Spencer Hellwig said Monday.
“But one thing that has surfaced is … some of the positives now are being traced back to small family gatherings,” he said. Family members are less likely to wear masks and practice social distancing when together, he said.
That can be less risky when everyone is keeping together in a circle or bubble, but the self-isolation that was common during the state-ordered lockdown this spring has relaxed.
“The parents are going to work, the kids are going to school, so they’re out in the community,” Hellwig said.
“That seems to be a new reality with this,” he added.
So that will be the focus of an education campaign going forward, Hellwig said.
Also Monday, the state Department of Health reported two new COVID-related deaths of Saratoga County residents. It’s another statistical blip, noticeable mainly because Saratoga’s death toll — 15 as of midnight Sunday — was so much lower than in six neighboring counties, which totaled 300 COVID-related deaths.
Hellwig did not have information about the cause of the two latest deaths.
The state DOH database provides the following statistics for residents of Saratoga and nearby counties since the pandemic was first detected in New York in March:
- Albany County — 176,910 tested, 3,590 positive (2%), 128 deaths
- Fulton County — 28,615 tested, 361 positive (1.3%), 28 deaths
- Montgomery County — 32,522 tested, 262 positive (0.8%), 9 deaths
- Rensselaer County — 99,176 tested, 1,088 positive (1.1%), 42 deaths
- Saratoga County — 135,133 tested, 1,319 positive (1%), 17 deaths
- Schenectady County — 110,122 tested, 1,549 positive (1.4%), 48 deaths
- Schoharie County — 12,609 tested, 109 positive (0.9%), 2 deaths