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COVID-19: Deaths, Masks And Mental Health

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC / cdc.gov)

Friday's tallies show the COVID-19 death roll continuing to rise.
Saratoga County reported says 11 people have now died of COVID-19. The county also says a Brooklyn resident who was staying with family in Clifton Park died of the disease this week. Columbia County has had 13 deaths and reports 66 of 138 positive cases have recovered.

Schenectady County reported 15 deaths and 390 positive cases: 677 are quarantined. 208 who tested positive recovered.

31 Albany County residents have now died of the virus. County Executive Dan McCoy says the latest death was a man in his 60s with underlying conditions who lived at the county-run Shaker Place nursing home, the third coronavirus death at that facility.

"As of today there's 784 positive cases. There's 753 people under mandatory quarantine and 54 people under precautionary quarantine."

McCoy noted that to date, 1,902 people have completed quarantine, with 431 of them having tested positive and recovered. He says 370 people have so far been tested at mobile testing sites set up at the University at Albany and Colonie Rite-Aid. Out of 250 tests that came back Thursday, 17 were positive for COVID-19.

Schenectady County has opened a community testing site at Ellis Medicine’s McClellan Street Health Center.

Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen offered tips on properly wearing face masks.

"When you wear a surgical mask or a homemade face covering, what you're really doing is protecting others from germs you may be carrying. So people that have a tendency to say 'I'm not worried about COVID,' please realize that you're putting this on for other people. It is protecting other people from your germs, when you wear a mask. That's what we know that these face coverings do best. It's for protection."

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says deputies distributed free masks at local supermarkets Thursday. He added his office received about 70 complaints of nonessential businesses continuing to operate and mass gatherings still occurring, but there were no repeat offenders and no actions needed beyond cease-and-desist orders.

Apple is quite concerned about the toll the pandemic is taking when it comes to mental health.

"This week we literally had to talk a lady off a ledge at Thacher Park, 64-year-old female, pretty much upset over not being able to move about or see her grandkids, and that's pretty damn sad. And I think we're gonna see more of that. We're gonna see a lot more issues pop up when people are evicted from their homes and apartments, when people go into foreclosure and some businesses do not open back up. I think we're gonna have a lot of issues."

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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