Gearing up for the eventual restart to the economy took center stage at today’s Albany County coronavirus briefing.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said as of Tuesday morning, there were 309 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the county, up nine from Monday. "The numbers that have gone up have been the first responders primarily. There's been a few other people in there. But 90% of the numbers that we've been reporting this last week have been, you know, either fire, police, EMS. The women and men that work in our nursing homes or hospitals."
Additionally, 459 people are under mandatory quarantine, 119 more than Monday, with 57 people under precautionary quarantine. The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the county stands at eight. "We have 39 people being hospitalized with the hospitalization rate of 12.6. That dropped down, which is good. And we have 13 adults in our ICU, which is two down from yesterday."
McCoy suggested "we'll come out of all this" in July, adding he'll have a better idea of what the future holds later this month.
County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen believes widespread testing is the only way to get an accurate picture of and a handle on COVID19. "We looked at the number of cases that test positive and we also looked to the percentage of people that get testing that are positive. Those are two important numbers. We also look at how this is affecting the hospitals. The hospitals have not had an issue with surge capacity in Albany County as yet. So this is good, but it is not necessarily a reason for optimism. It may be that it just hasn't hit us yet."
During the briefing, McCoy unveiled his Albany County Economic Development Strategic Plan — a five-part strategy he said would fundamentally change the economic trajectory of Albany County.
County Director of Economic Development, Conservation and Planning Kevin O’Connor says the plan looks to provide relief to local businesses amid mass layoffs and skyrocketing unemployment claims and outline a pathway to economic recovery. "Albany County is one of the only counties in the region that doesn't have a countywide economic development entity, and this blueprint here will put us on a path to get that, and hopefully be well positioned to help businesses recover from the COVID crisis."
One of the main goals in the early phases of the plan is a Business Retention and Expansion Program, directing small businesses to available financial resources at the local, state and federal levels.