The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Albany County has been steadily rising, prompting a new round of stern warnings from local officials.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy has been holding daily coronavirus briefings since the outset of the pandemic. Just when it seemed that COVID was being contained, there were outbreaks on college campuses around upstate New York, and talk of second and third waves of infection.
"I talked to business owners over the weekend when I was out. They're worried. Because the ones I talked to said 'if we shut down again, they're not opening.' They go 'I don't even know if I can stay open through the winter, let alone if we shut down.'"
McCoy says the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Albany County has now climbed to 3,950, an increase of 39 new positive cases since Sunday. He says local officials had been planning for a second spike in January and February, but instead that expected rise is occurring now.
"Just to put it in the right set of mind, since November 1st, we've had 335 new positive cases since November 1st. Which is pretty alarming."
With four new COVID patients hospitalized overnight, McCoy says he is keeping an eye on the numbers.
"The other big alarming thing is there's now 32 people currently hospitalized with a hospitalization rate of 0.81 percent of those who tested positive. Yesterday it was 0.79 percent, and we're just shy of the 33 residents who were hospitalized back on May 26th."
McCoy repeated his pandemic mantra:
"You know, we need people to continue to socially distance. Wear your mask. Cough into your arm. Wash your hands and stay six feet apart."
The county executive cautioned against what has been perhaps the most alarming component to the spread of COVID: mass gatherings.
"We are looking into Cohoes. The community center had a huge tournament over the weekend. It was on Instagram. People, if you put it on Instagram and Facebook, we're gonna see it. But you're not helping us. The crowd that was there, you can't play basketball, period. You can't do this stuff. Because this is what's keeping it going with the travel basketball, and the other things, and the last thing I wanna do, and I will say this for Sheriff Apple, is to go fine businesses and go fine people. We know you're trying to get back on your foundation. The last thing I wanna do is go in and hurt you more. But if you're not gonna do the right thing, what am I supposed to do if this continues as well?"
McCoy says he received about 30 videos from people alarmed by the Cohoes event.
Neither the Cohoes Community Center or city Mayor Bill Keeler could be reached for comment.