CAPITAL REGION & MOHAWK VALLEY — The number of new COVID-19 deaths, the per capita rate of hospitalization and the latest 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate were all greater in the more rural Mohawk Valley Region Saturday than in the more than twice as populated Capital Region.
The New York State Department of Health released figures Saturday showing 9 new COVID-19 deaths in the six counties that make up the Mohawk Valley Region (estimated population 432,612 people) which includes Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties.
There were seven new COVID-19 deaths in the eight counties that make up the Capital Region, with an estimated total population of 1.1 million people.
NYSDOH numbers show the Mohawk Valley Region has 1.6 times as many hospitalized COVID-19 patients on a per capita basis as the Capital Region.
• Capital Region — 361 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, roughly 0.03 percent of the population.
• Mohawk Valley — 223 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, roughly 0.05 percent of the population.
The state has divided most of its coronavirus data based on county and by the its 10 economic development regions, including the Capital Region: the counties of Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington — and the Mohawk Valley Region: the counties of Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida and Schoharie.
No potential explanation was provided in the state figures as to why the less densely populated Mohawk Valley has a higher number of deaths and more hospitalizations per person living in that region, but, as of Wednesday, the 7-day rolling average COVID-19 positivity rate showed the Mohawk Valley Region had the highest positivity percentage of any the 10 regions at 8.71 percent. The Capital Region’s 7-day rolling COVID-19 positivity average was 7.48 percent.
Statewide the 7-day rolling average positivity percentage was 5.45 percent. The region with the lowest 7-day rolling average was the Southern Tier Region at 2.66 percent.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Saturday highlighted the threat of COVID-19 spreading from social gatherings during the holiday season.
“The holiday season is a time to celebrate and reflect, but it brings the potential for increased spread if we let our guard down. It’s vital that New Yorkers celebrate smart, wash their hands, wear masks and socially distance this holiday season,” Cuomo said. “New York State is testing more people and making sure hospitals have enough capacity.”
In the Capital Region, only 1 in 4 hospital beds is still available for use, 25 percent capacity. The Mohawk Valley Region is slightly better off with 29 percent capacity available.
The region with highest per capita COVID-19 hospitalizations Saturday was the Finger Lakes Region, estimated population 1.2 million, with 848 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, roughly 0.07 percent of the total population.
The North Country Region (63 hospitalizations) and Southern Tier Region (153 hospitalizations) were tied for the lowest per capita rate of hospitalization at 0.02 percent. The hospital capacity is much stronger in those regions, with 46 percent of North Country hospital beds still available and 45 percent of Southern Tier beds still unfilled.
While NYSDOH did not break down hospitalizations by the county of residence of the patients, Montgomery County Public Health Director Sara Boerenko said Saturday that she believes it is likely all, or nearly all, of the Mohawk Valley hospitalizations are from residents of the Mohawk Valley.
Boerenko said while St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam is a popular destination for different types of care — such as the hospital’s birthing center — for some Capital Region patients, given the current hospital capacity levels in the two regions she doubts any Capital Region COVID-19 patients are currently being treated at Mohawk Valley hospitals.
“At this point, I am not aware of patients being brought into the local hospitals as they were back in April or May when we did have six New York City patients,” she said. “I am not aware of us being forced to take any outside patients at this time.”
The Capital Region has the lowest available percentage of intensive care unit (ICU) beds available at only 19 percent, with 163 of 209 total ICU beds filled as of Saturday. The Mohawk Valley has a little bit stronger ICU bed capacity left at 28 percent, with 88 of 130 ICU beds filled as of Saturday.
The North Country Region has the highest percentage of available ICU beds left at 53 percent, but it only has a total of 51 ICU beds, of which 22 were filled as of Saturday.
On Saturday NYSDOH said these were number of new positive COVID-19 cases in these counties: Albany (215), Schenectady (150), Saratoga (127), Montgomery (72), Fulton (27) and Schoharie (22).
NYSDOH reported 122 new deaths of COVID-19 positive people. These were the number of new deaths in these counties:
• Montgomery — 4
• Saratoga — 2
• Schenectady — 1
• Albany — 1
Statewide NYSDOH reported these totals Saturday:
• Test Results Reported – 201,442
• Tested Positive – 10,806
• Percent Positive – 5.36%
• Patient Hospitalization – 6,884 (-66)
• Patients Newly Admitted – 855
• Hospital Counties – 55
• Number ICU – 1,129 (-19)
• Number ICU with Intubation – 638 (+17)
• Total Discharges – 99,156 (+806)
• Deaths – 122
• Total Deaths – 29,396
Cuomo vaccine statement on Saturday:
“We’re vaccinating New Yorkers as fast as possible, but getting to the levels of immunity we need is a long-term effort. New Yorkers brought the state’s infection rate from the nation’s highest to one of the lowest, and they should be commended for that. Now we need to keep up the good work.”