ALBANY — Albany County saw a spike of 44 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the largest one-day increase since May 20, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy announced Wednesday.
Officials tracked six cases to a string of backyard Fourth of July parties on Hudson Avenue that attracted as many as 200 people, most of them young.
Four were a result of people traveling from out-of-state.
Previous spikes this spring were also linked to large group gatherings, McCoy said.
“To hit this number from yesterday to today is alarming and you’ll probably see more upticks in the next couple of days,” said McCoy, urging people to wear masks and quarantine if they’re traveling from the 22 states on New York’s watchlist.
“This type of behavior is going to keep us in this category.”
Further increases could increase chances of a shutdown, he said.
At 2.1 percent, the Capital Region has the state’s highest positive infection rate, falling behind New York City’s 1.3 percent of people testing positive for the virus.
The spike is comparable to increases following Passover and Easter, where authorities saw increases following a two-week incubation rate.
While hospitalizations remain low — just two patients were hospitalized in Albany County as of Wednesday — that number could creep upward, said county Public Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen.
“This is not what we want to happen,” said Whalen, who said social distancing and masks are key in halting the spread of the virus.
“When we didn’t see spikes, people became complacent,” Whalen said. “This is what we feared what would happen and it did come to pass.”
Whalen reminded the public the virus continues to change, and that shifting guidance issued by medical professionals does not mean officials are misrepresenting information, but are rather responding to new evidence of how the virus behaves in real-time.
“I would really urge the public to trust the medical professionals who have trained for years to be able to respond to a situation like this,” Whalen said.
Anyone traveling from the state’s on New York’s quarantine list are required to stay home for 14 days and are encouraged to get tested.