COVID uptick worries Albany County leaders

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy held his first COVID-19 briefing since September 3. McCoy warned the ICU numbers aren’t looking good.

He said the county is seeing daily vaccinations slow, and infections, hospitalizations, and deaths going up.

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In the past two months, 25 Albany County residents died of coronavirus. Among them, 72% were unvaccinated.

McCoy warned winter isn’t even here yet, and the COVID-19 situation is worse than what it was at the end of the summer.

"A month ago, the percentage of Capital Region hospital beds available dropped down to 18% and ICU bed capacity dropped down to 7%, I believe one of the lowest we’ve seen,” said McCoy.

There are 72% of Albany County residents with at least one dose of the vaccine, while 66% are fully vaccinated.

Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen said while our vaccination rates are stronger than other counties, they can be better.

She also noted that 25% to 40% of the cases seen in the last two weeks are from the K-12 population.

"Most of the kids that are infected have a symptomatic illness. We are not seeing high levels of hospitalizations in children," said Whalen. "However, we know we still have a vulnerable population of people that are either unvaccinated, or those that have been vaccinated and may have a decreased immune response to the vaccine, and those are the people that we are seeing hospitalized, and those are the people that we are seeing that are unfortunately dying of COVID-19."

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When it comes to boosters, Whalen said they’re expecting guidance this week from the state Health Department, so they can start giving out the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.