Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fifty-Third Update

Saturday, May 2, 2020
Dear Guilderland residents:
 
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health reported that there are, on a cumulative basis, 1,185 confirmed cases, and that there are now 34 persons hospitalized and eight persons in the intensive care unit.  There were two deaths overnight which brought the County’s death toll to 46.  There are now 1,057 persons under mandatory quarantine and 11 persons in precautionary quarantine.  The County noted that 2,386 people have completed quarantine, including 591 persons who had tested positive and have recovered.  
 
After yesterday’s announcement that schools were closed for the rest of the academic year, today’s press briefing by the Governor was a comparatively quiet event for our community (lots of talk about the daily cleaning of New York City’s subways).  He emphasized that the State is in “uncharted waters” and is dependent upon accurate data and facts to navigate a path forward.  The Governor reported that today’s data, including declining hospitalizations, intubations, and new admissions, continued to show progress in lowering the infection rate.  He reported that the antibody survey of confirmed cases showed, as of May 1st, that COVID-19 was present in 12.3% of the State’s population, 19.9% in New York City, and 2.2% in the Capital Region.  The Governor concluded that this data, and more facts learned over the next week, is important to the State’s phased regional reopening starting on May 15th.   
 
In case you missed it, the Governor issued his 26th Executive Order which delays school board elections and budget votes from May 19th to June 9th.   The Order also provides that the school board elections and budget votes will be conducted by mail and all qualified voters will be sent an absentee ballot with return postage paid.  The Order also postpones library, village and local special district elections until September 15th, except that a library may choose to participate in the school’s June 9th vote.  
 
As you might guess, by modifying already complex elections laws, this Order is confusing.  With about 142 lines, 29 directives and sub-directives, the Order requires careful reading (and multiple re-readings and extreme patience).  It also officially displaces, in my ranking, Executive Order 202.7’s expansion of notaries’ authority as the most befuddling directive so far.  Here’s the link (but please wait until a rainy day to read):  https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20226-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency
 
There is one phrase in the Order which seems symptomatic of the complexity of this Order.  In the 29th directive, after making remarkable suspensions of election laws, there was a need to “clarify” that “provided, however, each voter shall not be sent more than one ballot.”  It is simply striking that there was a need to reaffirm the constitutional guarantee of “one person, one vote” and that, despite unprecedented changes to every-day life, this “Upside Down World” is still a functioning democracy.  
Thank you for staying safe and calm, and enjoy the weekend’s gorgeous weather.
 
Peter G. Barber
Town Supervisor