County Executive McCoy Provides an Update on the COVID-19 Response in Albany County
Discusses Guideline Compliance & Enforcement for Reopening Businesses; Announces New Mobile Testing Schedule for Next Week
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy announced today with County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen that as of this morning, there are now 1,619 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Albany County, an increase of 41 over the last 24 hours due to ramped up testing. Additionally, there are now 907 people under mandatory quarantine and 3 people under precautionary quarantine. To date, 4,101 individuals have completed quarantine, with 1,064 of them having tested positive and recovered.
While there were no new deaths overnight, there had been three deaths at private nursing homes earlier this month that had been reported to the state but had not been reported to the County Department of Health. The individuals who passed were a man in his 60’s, and two women in their 80’s, all with underlying health conditions. That brings the entire county’s death toll at 76, though it will not affect the state’s reopening metrics. With 27 people currently hospitalized, the hospitalization rate for Albany County stands at 1.66%, up slightly from 1.58% yesterday. There is currently one person in an Intensive Care Unit, unchanged from yesterday.
“While we want local businesses to reopen as soon as possible, we also need to ensure that everyone is on the same playing field and that they’re implementing the guidelines that will keep workers and customers safe. First and foremost, I want to educate business owners on the new restrictions before enforcement is ever necessary. However, those who do not comply won’t be covered by insurance and could face civil penalties and closures,” said County Executive McCoy.
“Ahead of Memorial Day, I know many residents want to be with friends and family to enjoy the nice weather and honor our fallen soldiers. These soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, and I’m asking everyone to honor them by making sacrifices of their own in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Please avoid large gatherings, practice social distance, wear masks and stay home when possible so we can get to Phase 2,” he continued.
Yesterday’s Capital Region Control Room call made progress in clarifying the ongoing question of enforcement for businesses reopening in Phase 1 and later, Phase 2. Businesses operating without clearance, found to be flouting state health guidance or operating without a reopening safety plan are not covered by insurance, which should be a deterrent for most. Enforcement will be largely complaint driven with the help of the general public who can file at this link or call 1-833-789-0470. Employees can file complaints at this link here. Local law enforcement is being tasked with investigating complaints, issuing warnings and ensuring compliance. Any businesses repeatedly violating health codes or new state guidelines could face civil penalties.
NY Forward Business Reopening Safety Plan Templates, which can be found here, do not need to be submitted to the state. They do however need to be completed and kept on the premises for all businesses, including the essential businesses that have been operating throughout the shutdown. The plan must include how owners will implement state mandated guidelines to stop the spread of the virus, including the stockpiling of PPE, maintaining six feet of social distance, and ensuring hand hygiene, health screenings and proper protocols if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. The Business Reopening Lookup Tool, found here, will allow owners to look up whether or not their business is eligible to reopen and also access the industry specific health and safety criteria one must follow.
During the briefing, the County Executive took time to highlight a letter from a resident who was discharged earlier this year from Shaker Place Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. She wanted to share that even though she wasn’t there with her friends and the staff, that she supports them through this difficult time.
County Executive McCoy also thanked Kinderhook’s Broad Street Bagel Company owner Paul, along with his family, who have been delivering bagels and bread to essential workers, including the County Executive’s staff.
Next week’s schedule for Albany County’s walk-up mobile testing sites is below and is posted on the county website. To date, 1,377 people have gotten tested at the Albany County sites. The schedule is based on demand and mobile site locations are updated weekly based on that need. All testing is by appointment only, after being screened for symptoms over the phone. To be screened, please call (518) 465-4771.
Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center - 920 Lark Drive, Albany
- Tuesday: 9:00am – 12noon
- Wednesday: 1:30 – 4:00pm
- Thursday: 1:30 – 4:00pm
- Friday: 9:00am – 12noon
Rotating Locations & Dates for the Week of May 26
Each week the mobile sites will rotate morning & afternoon testing. The full updated schedule can be found here.
Tuesday, May 26
- 9:00am – 12noon: Watervliet Health Center, 1804 Second Ave, Watervliet
- 1:30 – 4:00pm: Front of the Rensselaer County Administration Building, 1600 7th Ave, Troy
- Wednesday, May 27
- 1:30 – 4:00pm: Capital South Campus, 20 Warren St, Albany
- Friday, May 29
- 9:00am – 12noon: Watervliet Health Center, 1804 Second Ave, Watervliet
- 1:30 – 4:00pm: Whitney Young Troy Health Center, 849 2nd Ave, Lansingburgh
County Executive McCoy continues to highlight the latest testing site in Albany County at Priority 1 Urgent Care that is now also providing antibody testing, located in Hamilton Square at 2080 Western Avenue in Guilderland. The partnership was made possible by Albany County supplying the facility with critical personal protective equipment for the staff and supplemental test kits. Testing will be reimbursed by an individual’s health insurance, and will be done by appointments only after patients come in to be screened for expanded CDC symptoms. Priority 1 is also now doing antibody testing. To schedule an appointment, you can call (518) 867-8040.
County Executive McCoy also encouraged those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to register for the drive-thru community testing site at Rite Aid, 1863 Central Avenue in Colonie. Testing is free for those who are eligible based on CDC guidelines and are at least 18 years old. It’s available between 9am and 5pm, seven days a week by appointment only. Registration is now available at www.riteaid.com. Tests will be conducted from within an individual’s car with self-swab nasal tests and with the help of a pharmacist.
For those experiencing stress, anxiety or depression while confined to their homes for extended periods of time, the Albany County COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line is available seven days a week from 8am to 8pm at (518) 269-6634. Anyone experiencing a psychiatric emergency should still call the Albany County Mobile Crisis Team at (518) 549–6500. The 24-hour sexual assault hotline number is (518) 447-7716.
The County Executive continues to offer online videos on coping, crafts and reading, AAU karate, exercise, proper use of personal protective equipment and more.