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Albany County Updates COVID-19 Figures

On the same day Albany Medical College announced that a staff member is positive for COVID-19 from exposure outside the facility, Albany County Officials an update today on the spread of coronavirus.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy is trying to stay optimistic.     " I want to be proactive. I'm not trying to scare anyone. We're just trying to say, listen, it's here. It's been here. We need to stay calm, but you need to be prepared. And you need to be ready and take this serious because the more serious precautions that we take, the less infected people will get and the spread will stop."

Albany County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen delivered the numbers as of Monday morning.     "We have 15 confirmed cases. These cases range in age from 13 to 74. They are people from around the Capital District.   Many of them are home recovering from illness, one is hospitalized.   Of the patients that we've identified, two of them were travelers, one was from Italy and the other was from Ireland. The others appear to be community acquired.   And this is an incredibly important message because this really hammers home the importance of utilizing community mitigation strategies."

Whalen says what happens over the next two weeks is vital.     "We are estimated to be nine to 10 days behind Italy. Please look at what's going on there. What we do right now as a community, in terms of limiting social interactions can blunt the curve and help... What's our hospital capacity and our capacity to care for those that are ill. It is time for the community to take this seriously."

McCoy says that should anyone be placed under precautionary quarantine, it is absolutely essential that they abide by county health guidelines and remain in home to prevent the spread of this virus.  If not, it can and will be changed to a mandatory quarantine that is legally binding.

He adds "don't congregate and keep your six-foot distance."     "I can assure you, first and foremost, residents' health and safety are the first priorities, not how much money we're losing. Not how it's going to affect our economy going forward. We'll bounce back. We're Americans. We're great at that. We'll get through this. And again, it's going to get high before it gets low, and then we'll hit that high, that high peak, and then we're going to be on the slope down and we'll bounce back. We always do."

If you would like to volunteer for the Albany County Medical Reserve Corps to help the response to COVID-19, please call the Department of Health’s MRC Coordinator at (518) 447-4610 or visit this website to register:   https://www.albanycounty.com/departments/health/medical-reserve-corps/-fsiteid-1

County Executive McCoy also announced Monday that the Department of Social Services will continue to work with clients, but mainly by phone. The new guidelines are posted at www.albanycounty.com/covid-19


Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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