County Executive McCoy Provides an Update on the COVID-19 Response in Albany County
Joined by Sheriff Apple to Discuss Violent Summer in Albany and County Programming
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy announced today that as of this morning, there have now been 1,880 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Albany County to date, an increase of ten since yesterday. Additionally, there are now 158 people under mandatory quarantine. Under the new state tracking system, there is no longer a precautionary quarantine distinction. All quarantines are tracked together. The five-day average for new daily positive cases is now 4.8. There are currently 31 active cases of COVID-19. So far, 5,670 individuals have completed quarantine, with 1,849 of them having tested positive and recovered.
There are currently four individuals hospitalized, down from five yesterday. The hospitalization rate is now 0.21%, which is down from 0.26% yesterday. There is still one person currently in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). There have been no new hospitalizations reported since Sunday and no new deaths reported since Wednesday. The death toll for Albany County stands at 121 since the outbreak began.
In response to the recent rise in gun violence witnessed in the City of Albany, County Executive McCoy brought in Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, Sr. to discuss how his department is stepping up to uphold public safety and some of the county programs available to ensure youth are diverted from lives of crime.
“Just as Albany County and New York are turning a corner in our response to COVID-19 while other states are forced to pause their reopening, we must quickly pivot to also address gun violence that is ravaging our communities and leaving residents to live in fear and helplessness. When a young man is gunned down in broad daylight on a busy street, we have a problem that needs to be addressed and we need to act quickly. Words are not enough,” said County Executive McCoy.
“Addressing gun violence must always be a two-pronged approach, and I’ve been proud to partner with Sheriff Apple over the years. Law enforcement has the difficult task of keeping communities safe, but we also must invest all we can into the programs that prevent a young man from ever resorting to joining a gang or to a life of crime to begin with by providing them with the opportunities to succeed,” he continued.
The County Executive says action needs to be taken immediately and he will fast track implementation of his Equity Agenda. He says we need to take back our neighborhoods and proposes hiring ambassadors who will work with communities to clean up, beautify and restore our neighborhoods. Additionally, County Executive McCoy will work with local colleges and universities on educational opportunities for distressed communities to offer tutoring in math, reading and writing. He emphasizes all of this needs to be done with strategic partnerships including members of the community and encourages those who want to be a part to call (518) 447-7040 and leave your name, email address and phone number to be contacted.
Late last year, County Executive McCoy convened his Zero Youth Detention Taskforce in order to bring together experts in public and behavioral health issues as well as legal experts to look build on programs that prevent young people from ever entering the justice system. He plans to convene the taskforce again soon. Other programs that have advanced the cause of Zero Youth Detention include the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program, which helps divert those suffering from mental illness and addiction into treatment; Project Growth, which helps young offenders build life and job skills; and the award-winning Five-Hour DMV Pre-Licensing Program, which help probationers get connected with drivers licenses that can help with well-paying jobs.
Some of the other programs Albany County has funded over the years include, but are not limited to, the Summer Youth Employment Program, summer programming at Lawson Lake County Park, the Juvenile Accountability Board, Trinity Alliance’s anger management and jail transition programming, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girls Inc., St. Anne’s Youth Shelter, Police Athletic League, Mediation Matters, the Life Unplugged partnership with SEFCU, the South End Children’s Café, Equinox Transitional Living Programs, and more.
As the Capital Region gets closer to entering Phase 4 of reopening the economy, the County Executive announced that he is once again distributing two gallons of hand sanitizer to businesses who have filed their health and safety plan affirmation statements. Anyone interested can go to the back of the Times Union Center by taking Market Street, follow the ramp to the right and call (518) 487-2023 when you arrive. This will run Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm.
County Executive McCoy also discussed some of the latest guidelines from the Governor’s Office responding to COVID-19 and reopening. Those traveling to or returning to New York, New Jersey or Connecticut from any states with high COVID-19 infection rates will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. Those state currently include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington. While it will be difficult to enforce, violations range from $2,000 for the first violation, up to $10,000 if someone causes another harm.
Next week’s schedule for Albany County’s walk-up COVID-19 mobile testing sites will be posted to the Albany County website shortly. To date, the partnership with Whitney Young, Jr. Health Center has carried out 2,189 tests throughout the Capital Region. 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.
County Executive McCoy continues to highlight the testing site in Albany County at Priority 1 Urgent Care, which 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 encourages 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 during the ongoing pandemic and the ongoing gun violence in the City of Albany, the Albany County Mental Health Support Line is available seven days a week, now from 8am to 5pm 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.