Schenectady

Half-million-plus new COVID infections in N.Y. in two weeks

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PHOTOGRAPHER:

ALBANY — More than a half-million new COVID infections in New Yorkers have been confirmed by lab tests in the last two weeks, along with an unknown additional number of positive self-administered tests.

The state Department of Health on Thursday reported 74,207 infections confirmed Wednesday, yet another one-day record for the state during the 22-month pandemic.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-positive patients in New York hospitals jumped 9% from Tuesday to Wednesday, surpassing 7,300.

The huge late-December spike remains concentrated in New York City and its three closest suburban counties. The eight-county area is home to about 61% of the state’s population and accounted for 81% of the positive tests recorded statewide on Wednesday.

The situation is better upstate but some regions are seeing worsening metrics.

On a seven-day average, which reduces the impact of one-time factors such as the Christmas holiday, the Capital Region has reached its highest positive test rate and highest per-capita infection rate since January.

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy on Thursday asked his constituents to not spread the virus further at holiday gatherings Friday and Saturday.

“This is now the second consecutive day we’re reporting new daily COVID infections above 400, and unfortunately, these numbers are likely to grow larger ahead and after New Year’s,” he said in a prepared statement. “I’m strongly urging everyone to practice caution when it comes to how they’re celebrating this year, and consider only gathering in small groups of vaccinated individuals who have gotten tested recently.”

McCoy also said the county was taking steps to start cataloging the results of the many take-home self-test kits that New Yorkers are using. There’s a new portal on the county website for residents to report their home test results.

“This will allow us to better understand our infection rate and the level of community spread, because right now our daily case numbers likely are artificially low,” he said.

Here are some statistical snapshots compiled from state Department of Health databases:

CAPITAL REGION

Hospital census of COVID-positive patients and remaining bed capacity:

  • Albany Medical Center — 66, 13%
  • Columbia Memorial — 22, 12%
  • Ellis — 29, 16%
  • Glens Falls — 23, 29%
  • St. Peter’s — 58, 13%
  • Samaritan — 31, 11%
  • Saratoga — 28, 25%

Fatalities:

  • One new COVID-related death each in Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Washington and Warren counties, three in Schenectady County.

Percentage of county population that has received at least one dose of vaccine: 

  • Albany: 78.9%
  • Rensselaer: 71.2%
  • Saratoga: 78.2%
  • Schenectady: 83.0%

Daily new COVID infections per 100,000 county residents and daily positive test rate, both on seven-day average:

  • Albany — 94.9, 12.3%
  • Rensselaer — 83.2, 10.6%
  • Saratoga — 104.3, 12.2%
  • Schenectady — 74.5, 9.3%

MOHAWK VALLEY

Hospital census of COVID-positive patients and remaining bed capacity:

  • Nathan Littauer — 6, 49%
  • St. Mary’s Healthcare — 22, 0%
  • Cobleskill Regional — 5, 11%

Fatalities:

  • One new COVID-related death each in Fulton and Herkimer counties

Percentage of county population that has received at least one dose of vaccine: 

  • Fulton: 53.5%
  • Montgomery: 67.9%
  • Schoharie: 59.9%

Daily new COVID infections per 100,000 county residents and daily positive test rate, both on seven-day average:

  • Fulton — 55.7, 10.8%
  • Montgomery — 65.3, 10.3%
  • Schoharie — 54.7, 8.8%

STATEWIDE PICTURE

The December surge in COVID infections in New York is blamed on the arrival of the omicron variant, which spreads more rapidly than previous variants but appears to cause milder symptoms and result less often in hospitalization. 

Daily statewide hospital census during the December 2021 surge had been running well behind the December 2020 surge, but the gap is closing rapidly.

On Dec. 15, 2020, 6,097 patients were hospitalized with COVID in New York, climbing to 7,892 two weeks later.

On Dec. 15, 2021, 3,765 were hospitalized with COVID, climbing to 7,373 two weeks later.

Key differences between the two years: The number of new infections and number of vaccinations.

Some 152,857 new infections were confirmed from Dec. 16-29, 2020, compared with 518,228 in the same period of 2021 — more than three times as many. All 14 of the highest one-day totals through the entire 22-month pandemic have come in the most recent 14 days.

On Dec. 29, 2020, state records show 442 New Yorkers fully vaccinated. On Dec. 29, 2021, 13.94 million New Yorkers were fully vaccinated, and they’d received an additional 4.6 million booster shots.

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

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