CAPITAL REGION — With new COVID-19 cases across the Capital Region at some of their highest levels of the pandemic, Schenectady County warned of a new possible public exposure Saturday, during breakfast and lunch hours last weekend at Tops American Grill in Rotterdam.
An employee there who has tested positive for COVID worked 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 9 and 10, and 8 a.m. to noon on Jan. 11. While Schenectady County said it is working to identify and quarantine close contacts, there was a low risk of exposure to customers.
“Members of the public who dined at Tops during those times should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days from that date and consider getting tested. If symptoms do develop, stay home and call your doctor, and (Schenectady County Public Health Services) at (518) 386-2824 option 2, for further guidance,” county officials said.
Tops, a long-time local favorite located at the Five Corners and owned by Rotterdam Town Councilman Evan Christou, has followed all guidance and fully cooperated with the investigation, officials said.
Meanwhile, there were 886 new COVID-19 cases reported in eight Capital Region counties on Friday, according to the state’s daily update on Saturday, bringing the total number of local cases since the pandemic began to 44,548 — about one in every 20 residents, on average.
There were also eight additional deaths reported, bringing the total number of fatalities reported in local counties in the 10 months of the pandemic to 672 — the largest number being in Albany County, though no county is unaffected. The state reported 157 deaths statewide on Saturday, the lowest daily total in nearly two weeks.
The state has now recorded nearly 32,725 deaths during the pandemic — a large number of them in New York City last spring, and a much more widespread and upstate-oriented spread of illness and death starting last fall.
Nationwide, the federal Centers for Disease Control reported the death toll is approaching 391,000, with 3,500 to 4,000 deaths every day. California and Texas are seeing the most fatalities, but New York, excluding New York City, has reported 906 deaths in the last seven days — a rolling total that has been climbing since early fall.
“Our actions as individuals and as communities to stay socially distanced, wear masks and wash our hands is of vital importance, as is the willingness of local governments to enforce the rules,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in releasing Saturday’s numbers.
Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy reported on Saturday that there had been seven new deaths — but discrepancies in the infectious disease reporting between county and state health departments meant none actually happened on Friday, but the county only now is learning of them.
“These latest victims of the virus did not die yesterday. There was a reporting delay of four deaths and we learned the other three people had passed away in mid-December. I am looking into why the December deaths were just reported and they all lived in congregate settings,” McCoy said.
Those who died in Albany County included a woman in her 60s, a woman in her 70s, two women and one man in their 80s and a woman and a man in their 90s, McCoy said.
Elsewhere, there were two new deaths each reported in Saratoga and Schenectady counties, and one new death in Montgomery County.
All the counties are seeing daily case count growth that indicates community spread. The new case counts released Saturday show: Albany, 257; Fulton, 67; Montgomery, 54; Rensselaer, 142; Saratoga, 186; Schenectady, 264, and Schoharie, 22.
Cuomo on Saturday again urged New Yorkers to remain patient as the state seeks to secure and distribute additonal doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The state is scheduled to receive 250,000 doses next week, a drop from 300,000 in recent weeks and far short of demand, since there are now 7 million New Yorkers eligible for vaccination.
“We need Washington to step up and increase New York’s supply to make sure everyone who wants the vaccine has the opportunity to get it,” Cuomo said.
President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, has said ramping up of the federal vaccine manufacturing-support and distribution effort will be one of his top priorities at the beginning of his term.
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