While no place in the Capital Region has yet emerged as a state-designated COVID-19 “hot spot,” potential public exposures so wide that they stymie contract tracing efforts have continued to emerge in the last few days, as case numbers across the region rise to levels seen last spring.
Saratoga County officials on Friday closed the county Department of Motor Vehicles office in Clifton Park after an employee tested positive, and also warned that those who dined at a popular Saratoga Springs restaurant over a one-week period may have been exposed through employees. The restaurant, Osteria Danny on Henry Street, has closed until further notice after multiple employees tested positive.
While contract tracers make “literally thousands of calls per day,” according to a Saratoga County official, public health officials announce potential exposures in restaurants or public places because of the impossibility of identifying and locating everyone who visited a restaurant or public office.
The exposures at Osteria Danny were between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. nightly from Nov. 10 to Nov. 16, county public health officials said. All the effected employees were wearing masks while working, county officials said.
Patrons of the DMV office at Clifton Park Center mall may have been exposed if they went there from Monday, Nov. 9, through Friday, Nov. 20. The office will remain closed until further notice. People who have appointments there should contact county DMV through its website or call the Ballston Spa DMV office.
County officials believe the risk was small. “While plexiglass remained between the public and employees at all times, Saratoga County is advising anyone who visited this location between these dates to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19,” county Public Health Services said in a news release.
On Thursday, county officials had announced another restaurant exposure, at 550 Waterfront Restaurant in Saratoga Springs, on Saratoga Lake. the employee involved wore a mask at all times, and worked on Saturday, Nov. 14, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 15, 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Albany County Department of Health is advising anyone who was at the 99 Restaurant on Wolf Road in Colonie on Nov. 15, between 10:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., that an employee there then has tested positive.
Also, anyone who was at the Tipsy Moose at 261 New Scotland Avenue in Albany on Nov. 10 or Nov. 11 from 5 p.m. to midnight either day may have been exposed through a staffer.
Public health officials in both counties said anyone who may have visited the impacted locations or businesses should self-monitor for symptoms, and may seek testing.
Also on Friday, the Saratoga County Department of Public Health Services confirmed the deaths of two more county residents from COVID-19 — a 70-year-old male and 78-year-old female, both from Clifton Park. They bring the county’s total death count to 23.
Schenectady County reported an additional death on Friday, as well. The man, in his 70s, brings the county’s death toll to 56.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office reported that there was also an additional death reported Friday in Montgomery County.
On Saturday there were further indications that the pandemic’s resurgence continues, with Albany County reporting a new high in daily diagnoses on Saturday: 112 in a single day on Friday.
Other Capital Region counties also some record or near-record highs.
Schenectady County reported 65 new cases, pushing the county’s total since the start of the pandemic past 2,000, to 2,062. Saratoga County reported 33 new cases, Rensselaer County, 45 new cases, Fulton County, 13 new cases; Montgomery County, 12 new cases, and Schoharie County, four new cases.
Cuomo said the statewide positivity rate outside hot spots on Friday was 2.49 percent, up from 2.15 percent the day before.