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Capital Region COVID Spread Remains Concerning Even As Vaccinations Increase

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy gives his daily coronavirus briefing.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy gives his daily coronavirus briefing.

Officials are keeping a close eye on coronavirus cases, watching for any uptick following the Easter and Passover holidays. It comes as New York opens up vaccine eligibility to those 16 and up Tuesday.

During his Monday briefing on efforts to administer the vaccine and control the spread of COVID-19, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy noted we are in the 56th week of the pandemic.

"As of right now, there's 22,624 cases of COVID-19 to date, in Albany County. We have an increase of 71 positive cases since yesterday, the day before, that was 61. And the day before that was 60. So we kind of went up a little bit. The five day average is 65.4. Yesterday was 66.2. So that went down, which is good. There're currently 1,395 people under mandatory quarantine yesterday, it was 1,443."

The Democrat noted there have been 22,028 people who have tested positive for the virus and have recovered. 24 people are currently hospitalized, five are in ICU.

"Our Albany County 7-day average for percent positive rate is now 2.2%, down from 2.5 March 31st."

McCoy continues to implore residents to practice social distancing and sign up for vaccines when they are available.

"40% now have the first vaccine in Albany County. That means we're a little under 30% before we get to that 70% which we need to be at. 26.4 have completed the vaccine all together, which is good news so we are moving in the right direction."

Cohoes State Assemblyman John McDonald, a Democrat from the 108th district, is a licensed pharmacist . He says he is glad to see New York opening up vaccine eligibility to anyone aged 16 and older.

"It's smart that we've opened it up to pretty much everybody, anybody can get a vaccine. And I think it's helpful in regards to particularly hard to reach populations or the ones that are not trusting other vaccines. Because, you know, just like anybody else, word of mouth can be a great form of advertising. And if you have a trusted messenger friend who says, Hey, you know what, I went to John's pharmacy, or I went to Dr. Smith and it worked out just fine. We've got to build confidence which is what we want to do at the end of the day."

In Rensselaer County, where County Executive Steve McLaughlin says they're seeing 20 to 50 new cases of COVID each day, there've been no conclusive swings in either direction. The Republican expressed frustration over vaccine distribution.

"You know, not thrilled that we did not get any Pfizer this week. We had put in an order for a tray, which is like 1,100 to 1,200 shots are in a tray of Pfizer. We got none and as far as we're seeing around the area, none of the counties got any Pfizer. This was exactly at the moment that they opened it up to 16 and up, and you need Pfizer for the 16 to 18 year olds. So we're a little frustrated with the state over that situation. I think that they more than likely got rerouted to the state pods is my guess, because it sure as heck appears from talking to our our friends in the other counties that nobody got any Pfizer this week."

Both County Executives are hopeful that come summer there'll be a return to "some type of normalcy."

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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