Officials in Saratoga County provided updates Wednesday on a number of efforts related to assisting residents during the pandemic.
Saratoga County Public Health Services Commissioner Dr. Daniel Kuhles says the county is making progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re averaging now about 44 cases a day in the last week. At our peak on January 6th, it was 276 cases per day. So it’s a dramatic decrease,” said Kuhles.
Hospitalizations are down too, and to date, more than 32,000 county residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. Though the supply of vaccine being provided to the county through the state and federal government is increasing, demand still outstrips supply.
On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a number of new locations are being planned as vaccination sites, including the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany.
Saratoga County is still without one, but Republican Board of Supervisors Chair Todd Kusnierz says the county’s pitch to use the Saratoga Springs City Center as a mass vaccination center is being received positively by the governor’s office.
“The state is specifically looking to secure sites that can do 3,000-plus vaccinations per day with the ability to do that 24/7, and the City Center lends itself to, for that,” said Kusnierz.
In an effort to address confusion surrounding vaccine eligibility and getting an appointment, Saratoga County has launched a new initiative on its website. Saratoga Springs Supervisor Tara Gaston, a Democrat who heads the county board’s health and human services committee, said the online Potential Vaccine Recipient Interest List form is available for seniors and others seeking a vaccine.
“It’s important to note that just because you sign up, that does not mean you are currently eligible to be vaccinated by the county. Anyone who is interested can sign up on this list. It will, however, allow Public Health to reach, sort, and determine what individuals there may be vaccinations for at any given time,” said Gaston.
The officials stressed that the online form is not first-come-first serve.
Like in neighboring Albany and Schenectady Counties, Saratoga County has also taken action to cap third-party food service delivery fees.
Kevin Dugan of the New York State Restaurants Association spoke at Wednesday’s briefing.
“Currently, some restaurants in Saratoga County are seeing fees as high as 35, 40 percent on a single order. And in an industry that survives on small profit margins, merely between three and five percent, that’s very high,” said Dugan.
Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett, a Republican, elaborated on the county’s action.
“So there will be a cap: 15 percent on the delivery fee, five percent on the listing fee. The new standards will be in effect during the declared emergency and 90 days after the emergency ceases, and compensation paid to a delivery person cannot be reduced,” said Barrett.
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