CAPITAL REGION — The COVID-19 test positive rates in Schenectady and Saratoga counties have ticked up to 1 percent, while the positive rate in Albany has reached 2 percent, the highest levels in weeks in all three counties.
New cases have not fully surged in recent days but have gradually increased in the Capital Region’s core counties, with Schenectady County registering 78 news cases since Oct. 28 and Saratoga County counting 109 new cases in that time period.
Meanwhile, the numbers of positive cases has ticked up across the state in recent weeks and flared in hot spots downstate and now in Western New York.
Schenectady County health officials on Thursday advised anyone who had attended a large gathering recently to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and to get tested if possible. Symptoms can include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
“As predicted by public health experts, the fall has brought with it an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases both locally and nationally,” according to an update on COVID-19 released by Schenectady County Thursday. “These cases are mostly attributable to an increase in indoor events as the weather cools, along with a growing public weariness of pandemic-related restrictions.”
The update advises residents to “strongly consider limiting indoor gatherings,” and warns “the danger of gathering indoors with friends and family has not gone away.” For people who do still have gathering, the county health officials precautions include limiting group size, opening windows, maintaining six feet distance and wearing masks.
In Schenectady, the county’s seven-day rolling average test positive rate marks the highest rate in the county since early September; Albany’s positive test rate hit its highest level since July. Saratoga County also reached around 1 percent positive test rates and registered over 100 new cases since Oct. 28.
Statewide test positive rates topped 1.8 percent, according to state data released Thursday, with nearly 3,000 new cases and a rise in both hospitalizations and deaths; there were 24 coronavirus related deaths statewide Wednesday.
The regional uptick comes as the virus surges across the nation, reaching the highest number of new cases nationwide since the onset of the pandemic. Public health experts have long warned that the virus could again surge in the fall in winter as people spend more time indoors and flu symptoms complicate efforts to mitigate the coronavirus.
Schenectady County Public Health Services offers no-cost community testing on Mondays in November and December at the Boys and Girls Club Adeline Wright Graham Clubhouse, 104 Education Drive, Schenectady from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and on Thursdays in November and December at SUNY Schenectady’s West Parking Lot, 78 Washington Ave., Schenectady from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments are strongly encouraged but not required. Individuals may register by calling 518-419-0370.