By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
ALBANY — The county’s Public Health Department issued an advisory Monday that all residents don face masks in indoor public spaces.
The warning was issued due to a rising number of COVID-19 infections, according to the department.
“Due to the rising COVID-19 positivity rate, in large part due to new variants, the Albany County Department of Health is issuing an official public health advisory strongly recommending all residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks in indoor public spaces, including private businesses,” according to the department.
Officials also urged county residents to get vaccinated as an additional measure of protection against the virus.
“In addition, we encourage residents to complete their primary COVID-19 vaccine series (if they haven’t already), get boosted when eligible, test when not feeling well or potentially exposed — including after traveling or attending events — and to contact a health care provider following testing positive to discuss eligibility for treatments,” according to a statement from the department Monday.
As of the most recent data on April 24, there were 107 new positive virus tests in the county over the previous 24-hour period, representing a 15.4% positivity rate among individuals tested for the virus, according to the New York State COVID Tracker.
The positivity rate in the county among those tests has been steadily climbing over the past two weeks, according to state data.
Two weeks ago, on April 11, the positivity rate in the county was 6.53%. By April 14 it was 10.99% and has remained in double digits ever since, on Sunday reaching over 15% for the first time in weeks.
Back on April 1, the positivity rate was 3.35% and on March 13 it was 1.37%.
The last time the virus positivity rate was over 15% was Feb. 5, when it spiked to 17.22%, according to the state COVID Tracker.
Residents can receive free Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, including booster shots, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Albany County Department of Health, located at 175 Green St. Appointments are required with the exception of Wednesdays, when walk-ins are accepted.
To register for a vaccine appointment, visit albanycounty.com.
The county also delivers vaccines to homebound residents, including seniors, individuals with disabilities, those lacking childcare or other accessibility issues, by calling 518-447-7198.