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Capital Region COVID-19 Curve Slowly Descending

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin and Health Director Mary Fran Wachunas hold a COVID-19 facebook briefing.
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin and Health Director Mary Fran Wachunas hold a COVID-19 facebook briefing.

Overall deaths from COVID-19 are declining by the day in New York, but public health officials continue to report new positive cases and deaths.
Positive cases in Schenectady County total 518 as of Monday, with 683 people in quarantine. Another 264 people exhibiting symptoms are in isolation. 367 have recovered, while the county death toll is at 28.

Rensselaer County Health Director Mary Fran Wachunas says 350 residents there have tested positive.

"Today we recived 13 reports, four from Troy, two from East Greenbush, one from Stephentown, three from North Greenbush, one from Schagticoke and two from Rensselaer. Six hospitalizations today and one in ICU. We had 20 releases, so that made 194 altogther in people who have recovered. And the tests have come in steady and we're at 108 received it, 106 new residents that were tested so we're up to 3,347."

There are 364 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saratoga County, with 11 people currently hospitalized.

As of Sunday, Albany County had tested 11,563 of its residents, with a positive rate of 10.9%. Thirty-two people are hospitalized in Albany County, with seven in Intensive Care. County Executive Dan McCoy:

"Today we are at 1,224 positive cases. That's up 25 from yesterday. We're at 1,101 people under mandatory quarantine. That's down 10 from yesterday. And we're at four people under precautionary which is down six, which is good. Our Shaker Place nursing home stays the same. Forty-eight residents who recovered, 50 employees tested positive and nine have recovered and are back to work, that all stays the same, that has not changed and we yes, we are still aggressively testing out there and staying on top of it.

But McCoy says Shaker Place has had two more deaths.

"Two women. One in her 90s, one in her 70s. Both residents of Shaker Place Nursing Home that we run. Both with underlying health issues."

To date, 2,601 people have completed quarantine, with 621 of them having tested positive and recovered.

County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen addressed "herd immunity," characterizing the concept as "problematic."

"When you look at herd immunity, what are essentially looking at, is if someone is immune to the disease, if they have had the disease and have developed antibodies, they are theoretically immune, for a period of time. That person will serve as a block in transmission. So when you look at graphs, if one person gets the disease, we talk about they are not, one person may spread it to to others, they may spread it to one other. They may spread it to three others.

So if you have someone in the chain, that's interrupting this spread, because their immune that's helpful. As you look at the 'are not' you can calculate how many people you would need to be immune to covid-19 to be able to prevent the spread if we were to get back to life as normal."

Whalen cautions medical experts aren’t sure whether having the disease and having antibodies confers immunity, and for how long.

Whalen also reiterated COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting "communities of color" throughout the county, following a national trend.

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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