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Albany Co. adds 20 new cases, 2 deaths Wednesday

Emily Burkhard
Updated: July 29, 2020 06:43 PM
Created: July 29, 2020 05:47 PM

ALBANY - Albany County added 20 positive coronavirus cases Wednesday. Three of them stem from the Hudson Avenue Fourth of July party. Two people died Tuesday as well.

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County Executive Dan McCoy said they have 84 total active cases right now.

He also said the state health department adjusted their numbers, lowering the overall count in Albany County by 109 people, as those cases were mistakenly included in their totals.

McCoy said though people are eager to get back to a sense of normalcy and things are reopening, that doesn't mean the virus is any less dangerous.

He stressed the importance of continuing to keep a social distance, wearing facemasks, and handwashing frequently.

"I was hoping that we were going to start going back down again but unfortunately we went back up to 20 and that seems to be in the ballpark where we've been at lately between 13 and 20," McCoy said.

Case numbers aren't the only things increasing in Albany County. Food pantries are also seeing more people in need.

Natasha Pernicka, Executive Director of the Food Pantries for the Capital District, said some people have had questions about whether or not the food pantries are open to help those in need.

She said their locations are open, even if other offices or entities in the same building are not. They're taking extra precautions to make sure volunteers and clients are safe when organizing or picking up food.

Several produce pop-up locations are also available to anyone in need. She emphasized there is no qualification process to receive food; it's given on an as needed basis.

Pernicka also said they're are working on getting volunteers together so they can deliver food to people who are vulnerable or are quarantining at home.

Pernicka said they've seen numbers climb over the last four months, and they're expecting those numbers to climb even higher as unemployment stipends run out and students may not be on campus for free or reduced meals this fall.

"Nearly 50% of food pantries in our region experiencing extreme increases," she said. "Some even experiencing 150 to 200% increases in services…We are in need of volunteers. We have both remote and on-site volunteer opportunities throughout the Capital Region, especially this summer."

To learn more about where you can access food pantries in your area, or volunteer, visit The Food Pantries for the Capital District website.

McCoy also shared concerns Wednesday about a fifth federal stimulus package. He said counties and cities are going to be faced with some extremely tough decisions if it doesn't come soon.

We know the state isn't planning to bring workers back to offices here in downtown Albany until sometime early next year. Because of that, McCoy said many of these small businesses along State Street and in downtown Albany might have to close their doors, especially if they don't see any additional federal stimulus money.

McCoy said he's concerned about finances for the rest of this year, but he's even more concerned about what they'll look like in 2021 and even into 2022.

Not only are state workers going to be absent from downtown Albany for the rest of the year, many college students also won't be on campus this semester, which likely means we'll see a lower population count for the county on the census.

That means not only could the state could lose congressional seats, it could also lessen the amount of federal aid cities and municipalities are eligible for the next decade.

"We are going to need every dollar this year and next year," McCoy said. "Trust me when I'm saying that because governments are going to be making some really tough decisions if the stimulus package five doesn't come in."

McCoy said he was planning to travel to Washington, D.C. to push for more federal resources for states as well as more resources to help collect census data, but he said with a mandatory quarantine in place, he decided not to go.

He said 1,000 people are being trained now to help collect census data.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates on this story.


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