ALBANY — Data for the eight-county Capital District indicate it will be ready to enter Phase II on Wednesday, said County Executive Dan McCoy during his daily briefing today.
As of Monday, there were 1,737 positive cases of COVID-19 in Albany County with 1,359 who have recovered.
A man in his 70s with underlying health conditions died from Sunday to Monday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 112. Prior to that fatality, Albany County had not seen a death in 11 days.
The death toll jumped by 24 on Saturday, when the county reconciled deaths in three private nursing homes. The deaths occurred between April 21 and May 26. Nursing homes are required to report deaths to the state Department of Health, the agency charged with regulating them, and not the county, said Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the county Health Department. There are 53 deaths in Albany County nursing homes as of May 20, according to the state DOH.
The deaths included 21 women and three men. Two of them were more than 100 years old, 16 were in their 90s, three in their 80s, two in their 70s, and one in their 50s.
All but two of the 112 deaths in Albany County were older than 60 and all but one had underlying health conditions.
As of Monday, the Capital District — comprised of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Warren, Washington, Greene and Columbia counties — is set to begin Phase II but there is still some concern about the impact activities over the last two weekends will have on the data. From May 23 through May 25 was Memorial Day, and on Saturday, May 30 there was a large demonstration in downtown Albany and a night full of rioting. Masks and social distancing were prevalent at the first rally, but not so much after the sun set.
“We have been watching it carefully and as we know there is a lot we don’t know about COVID-19,” Whalen said. “If we had large scale mass gatherings and that would include what occurred over Memorial Day weekend and what happened this weekend and we do not see a spike it could be interpreted as a seasonal variation but we just don’t know that yet.”
Still, McCoy said he is looking forward to hearing Gov. Andrew Cuomo give the green light for Phase II, which includes barber shops and hair salons as well as more retail, professional services and real estate, either on Tuesday or Wednesday.