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Coronavirus Takes A Toll On Albany County

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy (file photo)
Albany County/screengrab by WAMC
(July 13, 2020) Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy announced today that as of this morning, there have now been 2,007 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Albany County to date.

Although coronavirus cases remain relatively low in Albany County, good news is hard to come by on the financial front.
County Executive Dan McCoy says as of Monday morning, the county has seen 2,007 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 to date, up by 10 since Sunday. The five-day average for new daily positive cases has now ticked up to 10.4, up from 8.8 Sunday.

"There are 43 active cases in Albany County that we're working on and there are 6,068 people that have completed quarantine, and of those 1,964 of tested positive for the virus have recovered. That's an increase of 10 recoveries from yesterday, which is always good news. There's two people hospitalized, that's one down from yesterday, which is good news, no one in the ICU again, which is good news."

Coronavirus seems to be waning across the state. New York City, once the nation’s epicenter, reported no deaths on Sunday for the first time since early March. McCoy says it's over three weeks since Albany County saw the last reported death due to COVID-19.

"We're the second lowest in the state of New York for infection. I mean, we've been doing our job, people have been listening and doing the right thing.”

A Siena College poll out Monday shows 62 percent of New Yorkers believe the worst is yet to come. Pollster Don Levy:

"82 percent believe it's at least somewhat likely that the virus will suffer an outbreak again in the fall."

McCoy says nearly 59,000 county residents have been tested to date, of which 2,219 came back positive. He continues to encourage New Yorkers to follow regulations including social distancing, wearing a mask, and getting tested if you think you’ve been exposed.

"Unfortunately we're seeing a bit of the uptick in the Capital Region. A report from the governor yesterday found we had the highest percentage of positives in the state at 2 percent. The next highest for any region in the state was New York City at 1.3."

County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen:

"It only takes a small number of cases to start what can be termed 'exponential growth' of COVID in the county. And this means a higher risk of contracting illness for those that are likely to have a more serious course of illness."

McCoy is paying close attention to the pandemic's impact on county finances.

"We're literally down almost $16 million for the second quarter, which is a huge hit." McCoy says between January and June of 2019, Albany County brought in $139.1 million in sales tax revenue. Over that same time period this year, that number has dropped by roughly 11.17%, or $15.5 million, to $123.6 million. He continues to look to Washington for a federal bailout.

"Tough decisions are going to have be made on top of a crisis that, as everyone's aware of, is not going away."

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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