ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Thursday, the City of Albany received more than 30,000 KN-95 masks and approximately 3,000 at-home COVID test kits as part of a county-wide initiative by local leaders aimed at stopping the spread of COVID. The county’s COVID Equity Task Force has helped determine the most equitable and prompt distribution of these vital and scarce resources. On Christmas Eve, Watervliet isn’t wasting any time handing them out after receiving them from the county.

The City of Albany distributed more than 13,000 KN-95 masks and nearly 2,500 At-Home COVID test kits to various community-based organizations that serve populations susceptible to a higher risk of severe illness. In addition, officials have ensured the protection of the city’s frontline workforce by retaining a limited number of KN-95 masks and COVID tests for use by employees during instances of possible workplace-related exposures.

List of community-based organizations include:

  • Albany Housing Authority
  • AVillage
  • Black Nurses Coalition
  • Capital District Latinos
  • Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Collaboratory
  • In Our Own Voices, Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NNORC)
  • Radix Ecological Sustainability Center
  • South End Children’s Cafe
  • South Mall Towers
  • St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry
  • Trinity Alliance

Watervliet City Hall is supposed to be closed on Christmas Even, but the door is open. Charles Patricelli, Watervliet Mayor, decided he didn’t want to wait to hand out those test kits and masks to residents.

“I know my wife would rather have me be home setting the table,” Patricelli said. “But it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Watervliet received 270 test kits and around 2,000 KN-95 masks. Although most city buildings are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Patricelli didn’t think residents should miss out on utilizing them, especially during the holiday gathering season.

“I’ve lived here my entire life. So I thought this was a wonderful thing that they are doing this morning,” Lorraine Alund, Watervliet resident, said. “I’m going to be with my nieces and nephews tonight.”

During Governor Hochul’s COVID briefing on Christmas Ever, she urged New Yorkers to skip the family gathering or get tested if they’re feeling under the weather. 

“Don’t be the one at the next get-together that says, oh that was the one who was sniffling or not feeling well and feeling a little feverish, and they still showed up because they wanted to,” Hochul said. “That, my friends, is selfish.”

 Hochul added that she doesn’t want people alone or isolated for the holidays, but New Yorkers need to strike a balance. 

“We couldn’t have done this before. We didn’t have vaccines and boosters and testing kits available,” Hochul said. “We have all these tools in our arsenal.”

For more information on where to locate a COVID test, residences can visit the Albany County Department of Health or New York State Department of Health websites. More than 7,500 KN-95 masks will also be available through the City’s 15 Common Council members.