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Capital Region Qualifies for Reopening: The Capital Region, including Rensselaer County, has been qualified for reopening and the county will carefully begin moving into the next phase, said County Executive Steve McLaughlin

McLaughlin said the county will continue efforts to protect residents from COVID-19 while the reopening progresses.

“We are committed to a reopening that returns economic vitality and quality of life, while still maintaining a commitment to protect health and beat COVID-19,” said McLaughlin.

“This is a crucial moment in our efforts to return to normalcy and our fight against COVID-19. I urge residents to continue using common-sense, compassion and competence in addressing the challenges before us,” added McLaughlin.

The metrics used by the state to determine reopening were changed following efforts by McLaughlin and other area officials to correct hospitalization figures relied on by the state. The state had incorrectly used higher hospitalization figures last week.

“We worked in recent days to ensure the state had the right figures, and I thank those area elected officials who joined in the effort to correct this issue. Without that work, we would not be poised to reopen,” said McLaughlin.

The remaining issue to be addressed is contact tracing, and McLaughlin said he expects the county will have that issue resolved early in the week.

“Many residents have been affected by COVID-19. Many have also been affected by economic uncertainty, depression and anxiety. We have also lost too many from overdoses. I look forward to a balanced return that allows all these issues to be productively addressed,” said McLaughlin.