Albany County to distribute KN-95 masks, tests

Leaders in Albany County held a COVID briefing on Thursday. They are urging people to be cautious ahead of Christmas holiday.

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In a Thursday morning briefing, the county reported 245 new COVID cases, and one new death – a woman in her 50s. The county’s 7-day average of new positive cases is just over 228.

Albany County has received both K-95 masks at home COVID tests.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says his deputies are helping to distribute the masks and the COVID tests.

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With the COVID numbers rising, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says it is important to not let our guards down.

"We don’t want them sitting around. We want to get them to people that need them. Especially with the holiday, and I know people are panicking. This is just the first shipment of 10,000 going out. By the end of the month, we’ll have more," said McCoy.

He says the goal is to continue to get these tests to people who need them.

McCoy was joined by Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen and Sheriff Craig Apple.

McCoy and Dr. Whalen are urging people to get vaccinated.

So far, 71.3% of Albany County residents are fully vaccinated.

Dr. Whalen says the county is seeing a rise in cases. She believes the omicron variant could be contributing to the rise.

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McCoy says the majority of the people who have COVID that are hospitalized are not fully vaccinated. McCoy wants people to gather for the holiday, but wants people to do so safely.

"If you got your vaccine shots more than six months ago, you’re up for a booster. Please go and get your booster. I know you don’t want to hear that. I know people are like ‘I’m done, I got my two.’ Please, now is not the time. Now is the time to roll that sleeve back up," said McCoy.

Learn about the supply of at home COVID tests and KN-95 masks the county plans to hand out, by watching the video of Jonathan Hunter’s story.