ALBANY — COVID continues trending upward in the Capital Region, with the reported rates of infection and hospitalization both more than triple the rates at the start of April.
New infections reported each day and hospital admissions remain far below the numbers seen in the early January surge four months ago. But they are still rising, and they are contributing to upstate New York’s status as a hotspot in a nation where the pandemic appears to be subsiding.
New England, New York and New Jersey lead the nation in daily new infections, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, and they contain almost all 79 counties nationwide rated by the CDC as having a “high” community level of COVID.
In the Capital Region, that translates to 189 people hospitalized with the disease as of May 5 and an average of 52.4 known new infections per day per 100,000 people.
On April 1, 49 people were hospitalized and the daily average was 15.8 new cases.
Albany County, which is the largest Capital Region county but statistically is not the hardest-hit, said Friday that in the previous three days, there were 765 known new infections and 35 new hospital admissions. There was also another resident death, bringing the COVID death toll in the county to 552.
“This is one of the most concerning updates I’ve provided in a long time,” County Executive Daniel McCoy said Friday in a prepared statement. “The daily average of new COVID infections continues to increase and has now trended above 200; the number of residents currently in the hospital with the virus is now the highest it’s been since Feb. 17; and sadly, individuals continue to succumb to COVID complications.”
Statewide new infections peaked in early January at nearly 400 per day per 100,000 residents, dropped as low as about 8 per day in mid-March, and have rebounded to 43.7 now in early May.
The Capital Region’s rate is now 52.4, second among the state’s 10 designated regions only to 58.5 in Western New York.
(Infection rates are averaged over seven days, which smooths out one-time, one-day spikes and dips that may draw an inaccurate picture.)
Statewide, 2,187 people were hospitalized with COVID on Thursday, 189 of them in the Capital Region, a disproportionately high number given that the eight-county area is home to only 1.1 million of the state’s 20 million residents.
Here are some statistical snapshots drawn from state and federal databases; data is current through Thursday.
HOSPITALIZATION: 189 patients were hospitalized in Capital Region hospitals, which compares with a high of 432 and a low of 42 earlier this year; 26 of them are being treated in intensive care; 34.4% of them were admitted for reasons other than COVID, suggesting their symptoms were mild or non-existent at the time.
ILLNESS: The number of new infections per day in Albany County, averaged over seven days, is 52.4 per 100,000 residents; Fulton County, 44.5; Montgomery County, 33.5; Rensselaer County, 49.4; Saratoga County, 56.7; Schenectady County, 58.6; Schoharie County, 40.9; Warren County, 67.4; Washington County 51.1.
VACCINATION: Public health managers and elected leaders continue to advocate for vaccination, but at this point, only a handful of never-vaccinated people are getting their first shots on any given day — most of the vaccine being administered now is in the form of booster shots for those previously fully vaccinated. The first-shot rate varies greatly across the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley, from 55.7% of total population in Fulton County to 86.3% in Schenectady County. But the booster rate falls in a much narrower range, from 58.1% of eligible population in Fulton County to 66.8% in Saratoga County.
HOSPITALS: The number of COVID-positive patients and percentage of available beds at Albany Medical Center was 53 and 9%; Cobleskill Regional 0 and 11%; Ellis 21 and 10%; Glens Falls 14 and 23%; Nathan Littauer 6 and 29%; Samaritan 15 and 10%; Saratoga 35 and 14%; St. Mary’s Healthcare 3 and 29%; St. Peter’s 34 and 10%.
AMONG STATES: The CDC tracks new infection rates differently from New York state, tallying the total number of known infections in a seven-day period, rather than the single-day average over seven days. The top 10 rates among the 50 states are: Maine 421.1 cases per 100,000 residents, Rhode Island 377.7, Vermont 334.5, New York (excluding New York City) 317.1, Massachusetts 316.2, Hawaii 293.5, New York City 267.5, New Jersey 249.8, New Hampshire 230 and Illinois 227.9.
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wWhile we receive regular covid updates from the Albany executive there has been and continues to be a lack of any public updates or covid information provided from the Schenectady County Executive or county public health leadership . Even the county covid dashboard fails to provide recent information. The last update was on Feb. 2. Shameful!