ALBANY — COVID activity appeared to be leveling off across the state and in the Capital Region this past week, with the daily number of new infections holding steady.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still rates New York as fifth-highest among the states for number of new infections per-capita, but the rolling average statewide was lower on May 19 than on May 12.
The eight-county Capital Region showed slight progress, with a rolling average of 55.5 new infections per day per 100,000 residents, compared with 55.6 a week earlier.
The official state database includes only lab-confirmed positives, however.
With many New Yorkers self-testing at home, and not all who test positive at home following up with lab tests, the actual number of new infections is likely going undercounted.
Public schools’ infection counts suggest this is happening.
From May 13 through May 19, there were 23,747 positive tests of students reported to New York schools from all sources, including parents, employees and local departments of health.
But for the same period, a state Department of Health database shows just 8,786 New Yorkers ages 5 to 19 with lab-confirmed positive tests.
On its website, the DOH itself warns of the potential discrepancies between the two, due to multiple factors.
The Shenendehowa Central School District, one of the Capital Region’s largest, has been working through this latest bump in COVID activity, spokeswoman Lindsay Valenti said, sticking to protocol to continue teaching as many students as possible in the classroom.
New infections chip away at that daily, as those infected must isolate at home for at least five days.
Thirty-two infections were reported Friday in the 9,500-student, 1,500-employee district.
For the entire five days of this past week, 259 new infections were reported.
Valenti said there’s not a single hot spot or pattern — infections range through all 12 schools.
“It depends on the building, it depends on the day. Nothing is worrisome,” she said.
The following list shows shows the number of students, teachers and staff identified by school districts as newly infected from May 13-19 in area counties:
- Albany: 565, 125, 81
- Fulton: 388, 40, 43
- Montgomery: 29, 9, 4
- Rensselaer: 196, 47, 42
- Saratoga: 576, 68, 53
- Schenectady: 301, 34, 43
- Schoharie: 52, 5, 4
A good indicator of the severity of the pandemic in the community is how many people are hospitalized with COVID. Hospitalization is a lagging indicator, however, starting to rise several days after the infection rate starts to increase, starting to decline after the infection rate starts to decrease.
The COVID-positive patient census in New York state this year peaked at 12,671 on Jan. 11, dropped to 817 on March 29, climbed steadily to 2,705 by May 17 and dipped to 2,638 on May 19.
Statewide, as of May 18, only a few dozen children were hospitalized: 17 patients less than a year old, 12 patients ages 1-4, and 56 patients ages 5-19.