CAPITAL REGION — Fulton County’s positive COVID test rate is running second-highest among New York counties and Schenectady County’s is third-highest, state data indicated Monday.
Some have likened the battle against the virus to the carnival game Whack-A-Mole, and so it remains: The incidence decreases in one county or region and spikes up in another.
The Mohawk Valley region, which includes Fulton County, now has the highest positive test rate and the second-highest number of new infections pe -capita among the state’s 10 regions on a seven-day rolling average, which is a better indicator than a single-day statistic.
Fulton County is running at a 9.6% positive test rate over the past week, second only to the 10.5% in Genesee County in the Finger Lakes region. Schenectady County, meanwhile, is third-highest at 9.2%.
The Mohawk Valley region is testing 8.5% positive over the past week and the Capital Region 6.9%, compared with 5.4% statewide.
A key metric as the pandemic progresses is hospital capacity. Statewide, an average of 30% of total hospital beds and 32% of ICU beds have been available over the past seven days.
In the Capital Region those numbers are 25% and 27% as the patient census hits new highs almost every day. On Sunday, 348 COVID patients were hospitalized across the Capital Region, 85 of them at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.
In the Mohawk Valley region, 31% of all hospital beds and 27% of ICU beds are available, even though the COVID patient census — 205 — is more than triple the busiest day in the first wave of the pandemic in May.
Schenectady County on Monday reported three more COVID patient deaths (two women in their 70s and one in her 100s) bringing the death toll there to 71.
Albany County on Monday reported the COVID-related death of a man and a woman in their 80s. Columbia County reported its 49th COVID death.
On a brighter note, Albany County said it administered the first COVID vaccines Monday at Shaker Place, the nursing home it operates in Latham, which has seen numerous infections and deaths among its residents.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his COVID update Monday, said the vaccine deliveries continue and New York should have received 630,000 doses by the end of this week.
They’re being allocated to each region in proportion to its population, he said.
Cuomo has been petitioned repeatedly by groups wanting to get first dibs on vaccination — everyone from the Uber CEO seeking priority for his drivers to a Niskayuna councilwoman seeking priority for the town’s water and wastewater workers — but Cuomo on Monday said politics will play no role in the prioritization.
The governor is, however, making vaccination of underserved communities a priority once vaccination of the general public begins.
He announced formation of a task force to make this happen, and said the state is assembling mobile clinics to bring the vaccine to these communities — everything that’s needed to do the work, packed into a shipping container that can be trucked wherever it’s needed.
“Left to the market’s forces, you will see once again Black, Latino and poor communities left behind,” Cuomo said during Monday’s update. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen and I want this state to be a model for the nation of equitable outreach when it comes to a vaccine.”
The seven-day average positive test rate reported Monday by the state Department of Health for counties in and around the Capital Region:
- Albany 7.4%
- Columbia 4.7%
- Greene 6.0%
- Fulton 9.6%
- Hamilton 4.5%
- Montgomery 7.7%
- Rensselaer 7.1%
- Saratoga 6.9%
- Schenectady 9.2%
- Schoharie 6.9%
- Warren 2.8%
- Washington 2.9%