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Albany County Executive Director Dan McCoy says he had COVID-19 months before the pandemic



ALBANI – Albany County Executive Director Dan McCoy told reporters Monday that he has antibodies to a COVID-19 attack that he believes is at the beginning of the year, a development that, if true, could become one of the first Americans to get the disease,

McCoy said he received an antibody test in May that revealed he had previously contracted the virus. Studies show that coronavirus antibodies decrease over time. The county executive said a doctor who spoke to McCoy about the test results assessed the level of antibodies in his system, suggesting he had the virus in December, January or February.

The district executive had not previously announced the results of the test, and his office could not explain why.

If he had become ill in late 201

9 or the first months of 2020, McCoy would have been among the earliest in the United States to get the virus without traveling abroad.

“They set the schedule before he even failed here, before we even found out about him,” he said.

McCoy, who became the face of the region’s battle against the virus during months of news briefings, has been tested several times for COVID-19 since the pandemic hit the United States in February. None of these tests returned positive, his staff said.


The district executive said McCoy traveled to Washington in early December to meet with U.S. district officials and visited Texas in February for a National Guard duty. Later that month, he went to Maryland for another meeting of American district leaders.

McCoy believes he had symptoms of coronavirus in December.

“It was scary because I didn’t know what I was doing then, but I knew I was really sick,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I can’t get it again. It just means I’ve had it once and experienced it. That’s why I’m cautious.”

McCoy, who has never spoken publicly about the results of the antibody test, has asthma and is deliberately not exposed to the virus. In recent months, he said he has been criticized for being an ardent provider of the message that people should wear masks and social distance in public.

His office can’t say why McCoy didn’t reveal the result of the antibody tests earlier.

The earliest known death of an American infected with the coronavirus who did not travel outside the country occurred on February 6, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Santa Clara County, California, a woman died after falling ill on January 31. Her death was followed by the unrelated death of another man, who died at home between February 13th and 17th.

For months, scientists have been trying to determine when the virus arrived in the United States earlier. A June report published by the Centers for Disease Control estimated that the disease could have begun to spread to the United States in mid-January.

McCoy turned to the hostility and criticism he received from county residents for his advocacy of social distancing and the need to use face masks.

“When you put your head on the pillow at the end of the day, you hope that every decision you make is a decision that doesn’t cost anyone their life,” he said.

Albany County, meanwhile, tried to reassure the public on Monday that Shaker High School had been rehabilitated after a school official tested positive for COVID-19.

The school in Columns was closed on Monday for cleaning. McCoy said the county learned of COVID-19’s positive case on Sunday.

“Out of plenty of attention, the school was closed today,” said Elizabeth Whalen, the county’s health commissioner. “This is an issue that has been comprehensively addressed by the school district and the health department.”

All persons who were in contact with the employee were in contact, Whalen said.

McCoy acknowledged that parents may feel uncomfortable sending their children to school as early as the fall, and said distance learning is still an option for those parents.

A total of nine new cases of coronavirus were observed in the county on Monday, leading to 2,304. Three of the new cases were health workers, two traveling outside the state, and another person linked to the Fourth of July party at Hudson Avenue residence. The total number of people present in this country who eventually signed a contract for COVID-19 is now 47.

The hospitalization rate dropped to 0.4 percent, with one patient COVID-19 in the hospital and zero in the intensive care unit.

“We listen to the manager for guidance every day and the CDC,” McCoy said. “He’s still there in the community right now.”

Both McCoy and Whalen dealt with compliance issues that would prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wallen said she and her staff receive significant discounts from people they contact to direct quarantine.

“If you decide to shut down my staff, that will be difficult for you, the next step will be to have law enforcement on your doorstep, so please take this seriously,” Wallen said. “It’s becoming an increasingly difficult situation for our employees to work with.”


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