Reporting coronavirus cases by the numbers has become a daily ritual for Albany County officials. Monday’s message came with a bit of hope. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy opened his morning briefing with some optimism: "No one passed away last night. So that's the good news. The other news we have is that we have now 300 positive cases of the coronavirus here in Albany County."
340 people are under mandatory quarantine with 57 people under precautionary quarantine. "There are now 41 people being hospitalized with the hospitalization rate just over 13.6% of those who have been tested positive. We have 15 adults in ICU."
Joining McCoy were Rabbi Roy Feldman of Congregation Beth Abraham-Jacob and Father Chris DeGiovine of St. Matthew’s Church. They spoke about the importance of following state guidelines on mass gatherings, social distancing and self-isolation ahead of Passover and Easter.
Rabbi Feldman says for thousands of years Passover heas been a time for family gathering, but not this time. "Normally we say 'why is this night different from all other nights?' Well, now we're saying 'why is this Passover different from all other Passovers' and that is that we have to stay home. Many families are tempted to gather together and young people are tempted to visit their parents. Older people are tempted to go visit their children for Passover but the Jewish perspective is danger to life overrides any ritual needs whatsoever."
Father DeGiovine says synagogues, mosques and churches are doing the best they can under the circumstances. "We are doing our services on YouTube and video. We are trying to reach people in any way we can. But the essential nature of our service is to gather together, to be in communion with God, and to be in communion with one another. And to not be able to do that in this holiest week is going to be very, very difficult."
Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen is hopeful that Albany won't be as hard-hit as some of the downstate counties, but concedes "we don't know that yet." "We know this virus is very contagious. We know that for every person infected, two people may become infected from them. The only way that we can change this is to continue the measures that we've discussed, to stay at home, to stay away from others, and to protect especially vulnerable populations. So going forward, this is going to continue to be essential. It is more important on a daily basis. So we encourage people to continue to practice these important infection control measures."
McCoy also gave an update on ventilator production by PVA of Cohoes. The company expects to have FDA approval in the next week and is already taking orders. PVA expects to send its first shipment out April 24th.