ALBANY — Friday was a day for grim records and milestones in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the Capital Region and beyond:
- Albany County reported its highest-ever number of residents hospitalized, 45, topping a record set two days earlier.
- Rensselaer County recorded its most-ever positive tests in a single day, 41, topping a record set the day before.
- Schenectady County almost certainly surpassed 2,000 cumulative positive tests, having reached 1,997 the day before.
- State officials said 205,466 diagnostic tests were administered across New York state the day before, the most ever in a single day.
- Federal officials said the pandemic death toll surpassed the quarter-million mark — COVID is now blamed in the death of 251,715 Americans.
Looking forward to next week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday issued another warning about the holiday:
“I am concerned about Thanksgiving, and I do believe Thanksgiving could have a large impact if people are reckless — traveling out of state, false sense of security with family, false sense of security being home. Even the CDC now says beware of Thanksgiving,” he said in a conference call with reporters.
At the county level, health officials have been sounding the same warning.
Keith Brown, Schenectady County’s interim public health director, noted the county has seen a “pretty dramatic” increase in cases recently. They are not work- or school-related for the most part, he said.
“The cases we are seeing in the community are just that — community spread,” Brown said in a video update via Facebook.
The precautions that worked in the spring and summer, when people were outdoors as much as they could be, aren’t enough when most people are indoors, he said.
Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy had a similar message:
“I know people are tired and they’ve already sacrificed so much over these past eight months, but I’m asking Albany County residents to sacrifice a little more so we can make it through the winter before we have a widely distributed vaccine,” he said Friday.
New York was hit first and hardest in the nation by COVID, then mounted a striking turnaround, and now has begun to slide back toward crisis in what is widely being called a second wave of the pandemic.
Cuomo on Friday once again highlighted the fact that New York is faring better than most other states, and that New York is still faring better than it did in March.
Only one-ninth as many New Yorkers were hospitalized Friday as were on the worst day in April, he said.
Without rounding off the numbers, it’s actually only one-eighth.
And the 2,348 New Yorkers hospitalized Friday is a 570 percent increase from the 410 hospitalized statewide on Sept. 5.
In the Capital Region, 134 people were reported hospitalized with COVID on Friday. The region’s highest COVID patient census was 205 on April 10; the lowest was 15 on Sept. 27.
Thirty-two New Yorkers died of COVID-19 on Thursday, including a Schenectady County man in his 70s and a man and woman in their 70s who lived in Clifton Park.