CAPITAL REGION — The Capital Region continued to see its COVID-19 case count surge on Saturday, with 958 new cases in the seven-county area, according to state figures — a total actually down from a record 985 new cases on Friday, but still far higher than at any time last spring.
There were also eight new COVID-related deaths in the region, with three in Albany County, two in Montgomery County, and one each in Saratoga, Schenectady and Rensselaer counties, according to information released Saturday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office. There were 12 deaths in the region reported on Friday.
There have now been 510 deaths combined in Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Rensselaer, Montgomery, Fulton and Schoharie counties since the start of the pandemic, according to the state Department of Health.
In one of the few bits of good news in the statewide picture, Cuomo reported that the total number of people hospitalized for COVID dropped by 72, to 7,814. The number of patients in intensive care units grew, though, and 128 more New York residents died.
Saratoga County was reported to have a record single-day high of 264 cases, and that county has now had more than 6,000 cases since the pandemic began in March. Schenectady County reported 153 new cases, and has now had more than 6,200 since the pandemic began.
Albany County, which began the year with a record 346 new cases reported on New Year’s Day, reported another 300 new cases on Saturday. That county’s total cases on Friday shot past 12,000.
“The new year is off to a rough start, as Albany County records its second consecutive day of at least 300 new positive cases and yet another resident passing away,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy.
On Saturday, both McCoy and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo urged the public to maintain vigilance to prevent further spread of illness, even as doses of the vaccine become available to more people.
“As the state and federal governments work to get the vaccine out to the public, it’s important to remember that we likely won’t be able to achieve herd immunity for another six months at the earliest,” McCoy said.
“We have the vaccine, and that is good news, but it will be months before we’ve reached critical mass, making it as important as ever that we do not let COVID fatigue get the best of us,” Cuomo said.
The governor said that the state is also working with hospitals to increase their bed capacity so they don’t become overwhelmed. The Capital Region was among the areas with the lowest percentage of beds and ICU beds available.
As of Saturday, the Capital Region had 24 percent of its hospital beds available, below the statewide average of 30 percent, but marginally better than the Mohawk Valley’s 23 percent available.
Looking at ICU beds, the Capital Region had 18 percent available, while the Mohawk Valley had 22 percent available. Statewide, the average was 30 percent.
New York state counties outside New York City have now had 560,000 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, and 12,700 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. Nationwide, there have been more than 20 million confirmed cases, and 347,000 deaths.