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Capital Region Increases Response to COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread across New York, local governments and other organizations have ramped up responses.

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Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
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"There's going to be a lot more people infected..." ~ Albany County Executive Dan McCoy

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says as of Tuesday there are 25 confirmed positive cases of novel coronavirus  in Albany County. 125 people are under mandatory quarantine and 450 people are under precautionary quarantine.      "People here need to know our numbers are rising quickly. There's still a lot more tests we got coming in. There's going to be a lot more people infected as we continue to go, go on, again because of the aggressive testing that we're doing here and all the meds doing under the leadership of our health department, state health department, the governor's office. Unfortunately, we continue to grow."

Local governments in Saratoga and Columbia counties have declared states of emergency.

Rensselaer County reported its first case of coronavirus Tuesday when a 35-year-old man from Troy tested positive. He and his family have been placed a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Back in Albany, St. Peter's Health Partners' Dr. Steven Hanks says patients and staff are priority one.    "We're basically at a no visitation policy. There are some very limited exceptions. And for those who meet those exceptions, those patients can identify a single Unique Visitor who has assuming they can pass screening meaning they don't have fever or upper respiratory illness or meet high risk category for COVID. That single unique visitor can visit them throughout their stay."

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Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan is urging people to work from home whenever possible, along with practicing social distancing and following those CDC handwashing guidelines.   "What every municipality is doing is looking at what it can do to reduce the number of people who are actually traveling into buildings and working out of various government buildings. And so we have accomplished that. At this point, we have reached the level where we can continue to provide essential city services. You know, we also have contingency plans in place if things get worse, if our workforce is significantly impacted, but at this point in time, we are going to continue to provide the basic services that we are providing all of our buildings are closed. So that's a very important message to get out there. And if you need to transact business, it'll be online in very rare instances and emergency situations, you can call and make an appointment.

Sheehan says  more than 60 percent of city employees are now working from home. The city website has a dedicated COVID-19 resources page that is being continuously updated.

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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