ALBANY — Significant and sustained progress against COVID continues in New York: The number of infected people hospitalized dropped more than 12% in the last seven days and the seven-day positive test rate fell from 4.2% to 3.6%.
Most counties in the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley are faring even better.
The major exception is Fulton County, which now has the highest seven-day test average in the state, as the rate has improved in Lewis County, which previously held the unwelcome distinction..
The seven-day average is a better measure of the pandemic than a single day’s total, because it smooths out one-day anomalies.
The statewide seven-day rate has now declined for 41 straight days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday, a day after he announced newly loosened restrictions on certain businesses and venues.
“New Yorkers fought through the holiday surge of COVID-19 and came out on the other side, and now that the numbers are decreasing we’re able to loosen the valve and increase economic activity,” he said.
Fulton County’s seven-day rate has remained stubbornly high in February amid progress seen by nearby counties, ranging from 7.5% on Feb. 1 to 7.3% on Feb. 17.
Over the same time period, the decrease in adjoining counties was:
- Hamilton 13.0% to 6.7%
- Herkimer 6.7% to 2.3%
- Montgomery 7.3% to 5.1%
- Saratoga 4.1% to 2.1%
For other counties in the region, the decrease was:
- Albany 5.3% to 2.0%
- Rensselaer 4.8% to 1.7%
- Schenectady 3.8% to 2.4%
- Schoharie 4.5% to 3.3%
- Warren 3.4% to 2.4%
The numbers involved in Fulton County are not large: 258 people were tested Wednesday, for example, and 12 infections were confirmed. In Albany County, by comparison, 2,399 tests were administered and 52 positive tests were recorded.
A smaller number of tests — if targeted to those suspected to be infected or to those vulnerable to invention — can produce a higher percentage of positives than would likely be revealed by random or mass testing.
Whether this is what’s happening in Fulton County is unclear. Its Public Health department has limited its public comment on local details of the pandemic, and has previously declined to discuss the situation with The Daily Gazette because it was too busy dealing with the situation.
Also Thursday, Cuomo said winter storms have impeded the federal government’s shipments of COVID vaccine to New York. None of the doses that were supposed to ship Monday moved, and only a limited number of vaccines were shipped Tuesday and Wednesday.
This will cause logistical challenges, he said, adding: “The Department of Health is working closely with all providers, including local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and [health centers], to minimize the impact on their operations and reduce the number of appointments that must be rescheduled.”
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