Albany County executive warns of high infection rates, lack of testing

ALBANY – Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says he’s concerned that already-high COVID infection rates could go up after family and friends travel and gather for Thanksgiving.

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This year, the numbers in Albany County are worse than last year, even before we head into the holiday season.

From October 24 to November 24, 2020, there were 1,756 new COVID infections, and eight deaths.

In that same time period this year, there were 2,764 new COVID infections, and 19 deaths.

"I’m never advocating for shutting down," said McCoy. "But what I will start to do is probably mandate masks all over the county again, like they just did out in Erie County, mandate other things, and I don’t want to do that. I think we’ve come far. I think we’re almost there, and that’s why I’m pleading with the viewers and listeners: please, just do the right thing, and we don’t have to do this."

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The county is expanding vaccine clinics.

However, testing has become an issue. It’s not always easy to find and can be expensive.

It’s a missing component, especially for people who want to get tested before the holidays just to be safe, or for children who have to get tested each time they show any symptoms before they can go back to school.

"I met a parent outside Central Med and the father was so irate," said McCoy. "It was his third time. He said, ‘$375 now I’ve spent to get my kid back in school, and I’m tired. I don’t have the money.’"

McCoy says he and other county leaders are working on widespread testing.

"I was hoping today I could have announced that, and I can tell you the logistics of trying to get it done have been a nightmare."

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McCoy says if they were testing on a larger scale, those already high numbers we’re seeing now would probably be even higher.