The death of a man in his 50s with underlying health issues Thursday night was the 12th coronavirus death in Albany County. Meantime, county officials continue to urge people to practice social distancing, especially during Passover and Easter.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says the numbers continue to inch up: 397 confirmed cases as of Friday, versus 365 the day before. 520 people are under mandatory quarantine, up 43 from Thursday. "There are now 38 people being hospitalized with a hospitalization rate just over 9.5% of those who tested positive. 14 adults are in the ICU. We're starting to see an increase in the positive cases in large part because of what's going on at SUNY Albany thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo and his team."
But County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen says the number of confirmed cases was not going to increase Friday. "The test center had to temporarily suspend operations this morning. As you are aware, these are tents and there was a high wind advisory. I think this is just temporary and we'll look forward to hearing an update on when the service is going to get up and running again."
Whalen dismissed news coming from New York City that the curve may be flattening. "While that is somewhat reassuring, I again want to assert that our trend may be very different from New York City. We may expect our apex to come a little bit later."
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says his office has been grappling with coronavirus: "I've had a deputy test positive clear, nobody else showed symptoms. We had a nurse test positive cleared. He's back to work. Nobody showed symptoms. I currently have one deputy assigned to our Clarksville station who tested positive this week. We have five or six other deputies reporting to work on a daily basis wearing masks and other PPE to protect themselves and are the others they're working with. If they show symptoms they will be sent home but this is what."
As the fight to save lives continues, Albany Med is among the first hospiatls in the nation to use an experimental therapy to treat coronavirus... Dr. Dan Pauze says it is called Convalescent Plasma Therapy, using plasma from a survivor of an infectious disease — the same kind of treatment used during the 1918 flu pandemic.
"So we've given the therapy to one patient so far late last night. We will have to see how that works. Overall, I would say well, we are cautiously optimistic, as it's been used many times in other types of illnesses like H1N1 or MERS or SARS in the past, and we now have a process set up by which potential donors can call our research clinic to see if they would be eligible for donating their blood for treatment of COVID-19."
Albany Med is looking for donors: "So, we have a phone number, it's 518-262-9340 which will connect to a screener and that screener will talk the patient or potential donor through the process. Again, that phone number is for potential donors that might be willing to give their blood who have had COVID-19 in the past."
The research is being coordinated under the Mayo Clinic’s protocols—the national testing site for the Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program.