Albany County Executive and UAlbany President address spike in cases on campus


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy held a COVID-19 alongside University at Albany President Havidan Rodriguez and Albany County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen.

UAlbany President Havidan Rodriguez said the overwhelming majority of students at the college are eager to comply with protocols to ensure the health and safety of their peers. However, if the 40 positive cases turn into 100 over the next couple of weeks, the school will have to consider going fully remote.

31 new cases were reported on the campus within 48 hours. Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Liza Whalen said there were issues in the reporting of test results from certain testing sites, which led to discrepancies in the numbers preliminarily.

“We have had to develop a new mechanism, and right now we’re asking them to call the local health department and let us know,” Dr. Whalen said, “what happened with these initial reports is that they were called to the SUNY student health services.”

The numbers will likely still fluctuate, County Executive McCoy said, as the new mechanisms for reporting get underway.

McCoy said a number of the positive cases were linked to athletes in the Pine Hills neighborhood. Athletics have been suspended on campus until further notice.

President Rodriguez said any student found in violation of the COVID-19 pledge they signed at the beginning of the semester will face disciplinary measures. Six have been suspended, five have been removed from campus housing, and another group is currently under investigation.

“While this is a measure of last resort,” President Rodriguez said of suspensions, “we will definitely continue to move in this direction if we find that anyone is endangering the health of our campus community and of our surrounding communities.”

Dr. Whalen says the cases on campus are a mix of symptomatic and asymptomatic. She could not comfirm if the spread is a result of parties gatherings.

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