With the University of Albany announcing there is a concerning spike of COVID-19 among students, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said Friday morning that the region is at a "critical moment" to prevent this spike from spreading.
As of Thursday evening, UAlbany had 40 positive student cases recorded, 31 of which had been reported to the Department of Health within the last 24 hours.
The cluster has been traced back to athletics and off-campus housing in the Pine Hills neighborhood. If not addressed immediately, the university says it may have to suspend all in-person activities, including teaching, on campus.
"We are at a critical moment right here. We need people's help and we need to have these students continue to come forward to identify the places where they've been," McCoy said Friday.
The university says it will be working closely with the Albany County Health Department to ensure that impacted students are quarantined. It issued the importance of all students and staff continuing to follow essential safety guidelines such as mask wearing and social distancing.
According to the university, violations of these safety violations will result in "severe consequences, up to and including suspension or dismissal from the University." So ar, six students have been suspended and five removed from campus.
"This is a deadly serious pandemic and we must not, and cannot, let our guard down," UAlbany President Havidan Rodriguez said Friday.
Rodriguez added that there will be increased testing for student athletes and all athletics are suspended until further notice.
Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen cautioned that some of the new cases may not be linked to Albany County residents, meaning the numbers on local dashboards may change.