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Albany Co. Exec: Partygoers Should Seek Testing

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy gives his daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says 14 more people tested positive for the novel coronavirus Tuesday, meaning there are now 84 active cases in the county. 

Upon receiving word from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, McCoy says the county health department is looking into reports that an additional county resident has died, bringing the death toll to 123 – but he is unable to verify that information at this time.

"If we do have someone who passed away, to the family: my condolences and prayers go out to you," McCoy says. "Back on May 25, when we discovered 11 deaths that happened in late April at Our Lady of Mercy, that [were] reported to the state but not to us — it was frustrating then. But we thought we worked it out with [the state Department of Health] and everyone else, and obviously that didn't happen. So we are chasing that down." 

Of the new cases, McCoy says four have been traced back to the massive July 4 party on Albany's Hudson Avenue that hosted over 200 people. That brings the total number of cases stemming from the party to 28, after some of Monday’s new cases were ultimately traced back to the event as well.

McCoy is urging anyone who was at the party to get tested, even if they’re not experiencing any symptoms. He also stresses there are no repercussions for any attendees who may test positive – as the city prepares for the return of college students this fall, he wants people to feel free to come forward.

"You're not gonna be in trouble, we're really trying to stop this domino effect — and we can't do that if people say 'Hey I wasn't there,' or 'Hey, I'm not on Facebook, I'm not on Instagram, there's no pictures of me at that party, and I feel fine,'" McCoy explains. "Our health department will not share names with [any] universities, I will assure you of that. They're not allowed to under HIPAA." 

As for the other new cases announced Tuesday, McCoy says four stem from out-of-state travel, two are healthcare workers, one had close contact with another person who was infected, and three show no clear transmission source.

The county is also looking into reports that a kitchen employee at Albany’s Tipsy Moose Tavern tested positive Tuesday. The restaurant announced on Facebook Tuesday night that it was temporarily closing its location on New Scotland Avenue in order to sanitize and allow the rest of its employees to get tested, adding: “Since the time of testing, the employee was at work between 1 p.m. — 9 p.m. on July 17 and 18. The employee was asymptomatic throughout their time at our location, and underwent testing due to personal contact outside of work.”

Over the last five days, McCoy says there’s been an average of about 12 new cases a day.

Jesse King is the host of WAMC's national program on women's issues, "51%," and the station's bureau chief in the Hudson Valley. She has also produced episodes of the WAMC podcast "A New York Minute In History."