Capital Region

COVID spread continues at higher rate in Capital Region

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update from the Red Room at the State Capitol.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update from the Red Room at the State Capitol.

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, News

CAPITAL REGION — The positive test rate for COVID has paused its climb on a statewide level but continues to spike in individual counties.

On a seven-day rolling average, Schenectady County on Wednesday hit 9.7% positive, Montgomery County 9.2% and Albany County 7.9%, compared with 5.4% or 5.5% for the state as a whole in the last several days. The Capital Region stood at 7.5% Wednesday, up from 6.5% a week ago. The Mohawk Valley stood at 8.7%, highest in the state.

Single-day positive rates in the various counties have spiked much higher than their seven-day average, but the seven-day average is considered a better barometer of the pandemic’s progress because it smooths out such anomalies.

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy noted the gradually worsening situation in the region’s most populous county during his daily update Thursday.

“We’re breaking more records that we don’t want to break, with the highest number of positive cases in a single day and the highest number of people under mandatory quarantine,” he said. “It’s also distressing that four more Albany County residents have died from the virus. My thoughts and prayers go out to their families. As we celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa over the next few days, I urge everyone to celebrate with their immediate families and to stop the spread by not visiting with those who don’t live in your household.”

Test results are reported a day after they are received. On Thursday, Albany County almost certainly surpassed 10,000 residents infected since March, and Schenectady County 5,000 — both counties were just a few dozen shy of those milestones on Wednesday.

The mandatory quarantine roster that McCoy mentioned stood at 3,332 on Thursday, more than 1% of Albany County’s population. To date, 33,460 have completed quarantine, nearly 11 percent of the county’s population.

In other COVID-related news Thursday:

  • COVID patient census set new one-day records in hospitals in both the Capital Region (393) and Mohawk Valley (218). The Capital Region continues to have the fewest hospital beds available of any region in the state but it also has some of the lowest infection and hospitalization rates per capita.
  • Warren County saw another one-day record for number of positive tests. The county largely escaped the worst effects of the first wave of COVID-19, aside from a large nursing home death toll, but is now struggling with a surge that County Administrator Ryan Moore on Tuesday blamed on careless behavior by residents. It took the county 33 days to record its first 100 infections back in the spring and just three days in December to record the most recent 100 infections.
  • Albany International Airport began selling self-administered COVID test kits to arriving and departing passengers. The cost is $35, and results will be available in 48 to 72 hours from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, which is conducting the testing in cooperation with Quadrant Biosciences.
  • WellNow Urgent Care said it is now offering rapid COVID-19 testing at most of its clinics, including those in Guilderland, Halfmoon, Latham and Niskayuna. Results are available in 15 minutes; negative results are verified with a standard swab test, results of which are currently available in three to five days.

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