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Albany County COVID-19 Update 4/14/20

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WAMC Composite Image by Dave Lucas
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As of this morning, there were 499 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Albany County. Officials maintain social distancing is working, but two more county residents have died from the disease.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says 676 people are under mandatory quarantine and another 77 under precautionary quarantine. Two more deaths have been reported – a man in his 60’s with underlying health issues and another man in his 70’s whose medical history wasn't investigated. The coronavirus death toll for the county now stands at 16.

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Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
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Albany County Executive Dan McCoy

"There are now 35 people being hospitalized with a hospitalization rate of over just 7%. It was 8 yesterday. So that's down a percent and 13 adults that are in ICU that's down from yesterday also which is also good news."
 
McCoy says testing will be expanded in the county beginning Thursday. County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen walked back some recommendations she made earlier in the pandemic.
 
"Some of the information that I may have imparted to you in earlier press conferences may in fact be contradicted because of what we're learning and part of this really is about asymptomatic spread and the importance of wearing masks."
 
Whalen says new information suggests asymptomatic transmission may be more prevalent than originally thought.
 
"We know that surgical masks and face coverings are good tools for source control.  That means they protect you if you have the virus from spreading the virus to others."
 
McCoy says the only way the economy can reopen is if everyone gets tested for COVID-19.
 
"Testing is going to be a thing I think is going to be the norm for everyone in obviously they're going to come up with quicker testing there you they are now, you can get result within like five minutes, you know, but you got to make it. So that's gonna take time."
 
He now estimates the economy reopening in July or August.
 

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Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
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Guilderland Central School District Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles

Guilderland Central School District Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles says while this is a challenging time for schools, parents and students, it is most difficult to apply remote learning in cases of students with special needs.
 
"The other huge challenge really is an equity challenge and making sure that every single one of our 5000 students has equal access to the activities that are provided by our faculty and staff and that comes down to having ample devices in the home, having ample access to WiFi, having parents who are you know, able to monitor their students work."
 
With New York state schools closed until at least April 29th, McCoy thinks area schools will remain shuttered for the rest of the academic year.

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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