Health department calls for volunteers as resources are stretched

Albany County

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany County announced on Friday that its coronavirus numbers have reached an all-time high. This comes as the health department said it needs volunteers to join its Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).

“Our department staff are taxed to their limits,” said Albany County Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Whalen. 

Whalen and County Executive Dan McCoy made the call for help following a plea for residents to follow health safety guidelines. 

“If you are someone in the medical field who can donate a little extra time, and that’s doctors and nurses, if you are somebody who wants to help the effort, please reach out and let us know,” Whalen said. 

71 new positive cases and two deaths from overnight were announced at the press conference.

“It’s eight months later and you’re like, ‘How hard is it to just wear your mask?'” McCoy asked.

Whalen is preparing for possible new restrictions in the future if the county meets Governor Cuomo’s metrics for his yellow zone, a focused strategy to curb rising numbers.

The county and state have also put the responsibility of enforcement on local policing departments. 

“Police are showing up. Their job is to keep people safe, right? They want to disperse that crowd. They want to get people to, you know, move along,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. 

Albany Police Department is tasked with gathering information and taking pictures of violations while on calls. Officers then pass details of the incident along to city code enforcement to cite offenders.

The city is also asking for residents to alert them to offenses. “We’ve done three very large ones. And now that people in private residences have been reduced to 10, we expect to be busier,” Sheehan said. 

The largest task for the county is lowering infection rates in the 20 to 29 age group. It’s a demographic eclipsing all others. Though the health department doesn’t know when the area could reach that yellow zone, they said it could be soon.

For doctors or nurses who are able to volunteer their time to the MRC, follow this link.

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