The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY)

Albany County officials urge sacrifice ahead of Thanksgivi­ng

- By Michael Gwizdala mgwizdala@digitalfir­stmedia.com Reporter

ALBANY, N.Y. » Albany County Executive Dan McCoy confirmed the deaths of two county residents attributed to COVID-19. McCoy made the announceme­nt during his Wednesday morning press briefing. The deaths of a woman in her 6os and a man in his 70s, brought the county death toll to 150 since tracking of the pandemic data began in March.

“Tragically I have to report two more Albany County residents have lost their lives to the virus.

We’ve also had nearly a fifth of all hospitaliz­ations on record in the month of November alone,” McCoy said.

Albany County, which had zero hospitaliz­ations overnight, has 41 residents hospitaliz­ed total, with 10 in the ICU. The hospitaliz­ation rate is at 0.77%.

The county executive also confirmed 109 new positive cases in the county. Encompasse­d within those new cases were 84 without a present clear source of infection, 19 had close contact with positive cases, five were healthcare workers or residents of congregate settings and one reported traveling out of state.

The county also has 918 active cases and 2,452 people under mandatory quarantine. The City of Cohoes reports it currently has 32 cases. The five- day average for new daily positives increased to 93 from 88.6.

Throughout the press briefing, McCoy and Albany County Department of Health Commission­er Dr. Elizabeth Whalen touched on the importance of making sacrifices for the greater public health good.

“I understand we’re asking people to make sacrifices ahead of Thanksgivi­ng, but I hope people remember the true meaning of the holiday – taking stock of the things that are truly important that we’re thankful for. Bymaking sacrifices tomorrow, you can help protect the health and wellbeing of the people you love most,” McCoy stated regarding Thanksgivi­ng gatherings.

“We need people to do the right thing so we can keep this rate down. I know it’s tough. Dr. Whalen and I say this all the time, we’re in this together. We have to continue to wear our masks right. Yes, we are pleading to you, we’re saying please help us get through these next two months. The way these numbers are coming in it’s going to get worse before it gets better and since October 31 it’s been this way,” McCoy added.

Whalen also spoke more to those getting tested ahead of Thanksgivi­ng.

“After you’re exposed to a disease like COVID, there’s something called the incubation period. The incubation period can be between two and 14 days,” Whalen remarked on the varying incubation period.

“During that time your body comes into contact with the virus and it starts to mount an immune response. The immune response takes time tomount and that’s why people don’t become symptomati­c immediatel­y and that’s why people don’t test positive immediatel­y. So that’s the concern,” Whalen continued regarding how the body reacts to the virus.

“You could be exposed and get tested too close after your exposure that you may not be aware of and that test may be negative and in the meantime, while the test is negative your body is, in fact, mounting an immune response. So subsequent­ly you could develop symptoms and subsequent­ly have a positive test. This is how it goes,” Whalen added on how simply testing negative isn’t necessaril­y a “get out of jail free card.”

In addition to Thanksgivi­ng Day, McCoy also encouraged residents ahead of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday to stay safe while shopping local, and consider patronizin­g businesses on their online platforms or using curbside pickup. Downtown Albany Business Improvemen­t District has a list online of ways to shop without going into the physical locations.

The Lark Street Business Improvemen­t District is also hosting its Lark Street Holiday Market on Saturday. Remsen Street will be closed to traffic on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for Cohoes Small Business Saturday. The day will feature Cohoes Restaurant Wing Wars (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Eat in the Street (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and shopping at retail shops and in an open-air market.

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