Schenectady County reports spike in COVID-19 infection rate


SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Schenectady County is seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases. Local health officials have seen more cases now than in the Spring. Officials are preparing if the county will soon become a yellow precautionary zone.

 “We had 53 new cases and had 63 the day before that, so we hit 3%. Today, we’re lower. We’re in the 2% range… it definitely has been going up,” says Keith Brown, Schenectady County Interim Public health Director.

Under New York State guidelines, a county can be considered a Yellow Precautionary Zone if the seven days rolling average positivity rate is above 3% for 10 consecutive days. Yellow Zone restrictions are 25 people at gatherings, 50% capacity at places of worship, and 20% of students/staff will be tested in the schools on a weekly basis. “For us, we don’t think the schools can’t and shouldn’t stay open. Most of the places where this is happening, where they’ve gone in the yellow zones, the rates in the schools are lower than they are in the surrounding communities so if that’s the case, the schools can stay open,” says Brown.

Brown says the COVID-19 cases stem from social gatherings and residential gatherings. He says it’s community spread at this point. “We’re seeing it happen in small, social contact settings, we’re seeing some of it in terms of workplaces and residential but we can’t really tie it to one or two or even a handful of specific large events — it’s really just community spread at this point…We’re seeing what we’re expecting to see and I think we’re bracing for more,” says Brown.

Brown says it’s inevitable that cases will surge after Thanksgiving. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thanksgiving for many families will be celebrated differently this year. Schenectady resident, Lorenzo Mayweather, says he doesn’t feel comfortable doing the traditional sit-down with a large gathering for dinner this year. “I’ll probably take a plate to go. If anything, that seems safer to me,” says Mayweather.

Linda Arduini from Niskayuna says she’ll be at the dinner table with immediate family only. “We started off with 8 people and we are down to just myself, my husband and my son. So we’re keeping it very small. You just have to do it day-by-day and just enjoy it,” says Arduini.

Whether it’s fewer people at the dinner table, socializing through the computer screen or taking the meal to-go, ultimately, health officials just want everyone to be safe.

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