County leaders respond to increase in COVID cases

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More Capital Region counties are now highlighted on the CDC’s COVID Tracker Map. In those areas, people are advised to wear masks indoors, even if they have been vaccinated.

"If you go into a store and you don’t know that everybody in there is vaccinated and COVID-free, then we recommend that you do that, that you wear a mask just to protect yourself, protect those around you," said Warren County Director of Public Affairs Don Lehman.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, now without the legal authority to make masking mandatory, is calling on local leaders to take action.

"People are going to be upset no matter what you do. So show leadership and do it," he said, at a news conference Monday.

In a flurry of statements from local counties, leaders continue to point to the recommendations of the CDC. No new mandates have been put in place.

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Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said in statement, ""We are following CDC guidance which recommends that those in counties with substantial or high rates of community transmission have all individuals, vaccinated or not, mask indoors. If the situation changes, we will respond accordingly.”

Schenectady County Director of Public Communications Erin Roberts said in a statement, "Schenectady County strongly encourages everyone to follow the CDC’s most recent guidance for areas that have been designated as having a substantial level of community transmission of COVID-19."

Rensselaer County Director of Operations Richard Crist said in a statement, "We are keeping a close eye on the situation, along with communicating with our partners in neighboring counties. Rensselaer County has made substantial investments in the fight against COVID-19, and has expanded community vaccination clinics throughout the county. There are six opportunities for residents to be vaccinated this week across the county. We are also encouraged by the low rate of hospitalizations during the recent increase in cases. Residents should continue to use common-sense, and be aware of CDC recommendations in the coming days."

In Columbia County, the department of health has now gone back to full mask-wearing.

In Warren County, a number of recent COVID cases there involve children under the age of 12, who are not vaccine-eligible right now.

Lehman says we can’t let our guard down, especially as we head into the fall.

"Kids had a terrible year last year, being in and out of schools, and virtual school," he said. "The priority right now for everybody would seem to be let’s get this under control and get our kids back in the classroom."