Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fifty-Second Update

Friday, May 1, 2020
Dear Guilderland residents:
 
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health (DOH) reported that there are, on a cumulative basis, 1,151 confirmed cases, and that there are now 33 persons hospitalized and eight persons in the intensive care unit.  There were two deaths overnight which brought the County’s death toll to 41.  There are now 1,104 persons under mandatory quarantine and 14 persons in precautionary quarantine.  The County noted that 2,348 people have completed quarantine, including 578 persons who had tested positive and have recovered.  The County’s “dashboard” provided detailed demographical data about the spread of the virus and testing:  https://legacy.livestories.com/s/v2/covid-19-dashboard-albany-county-ny/dabd57f3-5285-4666-97fc-53c5bf4b8560/.
 
At his daily press briefing, the Governor announced that all schools and colleges are closed for the remainder of the academic year, and that he would determine by the end of May whether summer school programs would take place.  He also added that the reopening of schools in the fall would require well-considered plans and “re-imagine school facilities” that keep students and employees safe including physical separation and other health guidelines. 
 
The Governor confirmed that non-essential businesses would remain closed until Friday, May 15th, when “low risk” manufacturing and construction activities would reopen.  After two weeks of monitoring the infection rate, the State would allow “more essential” businesses to restart.  The details are being considered by the Governor’s New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board.  The Governor also noted that State data, including hospitalizations, intubations, and deaths, had continued to decline but that the number of new admissions for COVID-19 had flattened at an unacceptable high number and would require investigations to discern and address the causes as part of a reopening plan.  
 
The Town has a Reopening Task Force which is developing plans to protect the public and employees as more parts of the Town government are soon restarted, making the physical work space safer, and taking steps to lower the risk of infection.  The overarching concern is a safe environment which is dependent on physical separation and adherence to health protocols.  The plans must also comply with Executive Orders (25 as of today) with about 296 directives.  
 
The Town offers diverse services for young, old, and in-between in different indoor and outdoor settings including over 300 persons in Town Court on Monday and Thursday evening; hundreds of children in the Parks & Recreation’s summer recreational programs at Tawasentha Park, and sporting activities in Town parks; dozens of seniors who rely upon transportation to local stores and doctor’s appointments, and attend programs at the Senior Center; and hundreds of residents who visit Town Hall every week for permits, tax payments, hearings, and meetings.  The Town has responded with updated forms with direct submission, audio-visual improvements for remote hearings with public participation, contact-less payment of taxes and fees, and other creative measures.   We will soon announce new methods for the safe provision of more services. 
 
Happy Friday and May Day, which in most of the world is a labor holiday, but not here.  But it is still a day, like every other day in the past seven weeks, when we should thank the workers who have continued to provide essential services in our community.  There are so many to thank including first responders, volunteers, postal and delivery workers, cashiers and stock clerks, cooks and cleaning staff, building and fire inspectors, and moms, dads and others who, for more than seven weeks, have kept children safe and entertained.    
 
The Albany Times-Union has an “Everyday Hero” feature which focuses on remarkable persons who are on the frontline in helping in our community’s response to the pandemic. This week, it highlighted the professionalism and dedication shown by Guilderland EMT Caitlin D’Allesandro in her care of patients:  https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Everyday-hero-Caitlin-D-Allesandro-15229531.php.   I thank Caitlin and her fellow first responders for her service and congratulate her for this well-deserved recognition.  
 
Thank you for staying safe and calm.
 
Peter G. Barber
Town Supervisor