Coronavirus (COVID-19) Forty-Eighth Update

Monday, April 27, 2020
Dear Guilderland residents:
 
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health (DOH) reported that there are, on a cumulative basis, 937 confirmed cases, and that there are now 43 persons hospitalized and six   persons in the intensive care unit.  Four persons passed away yesterday which brings the County’s death toll from COVID-19 to 36.   There are now 812 persons under mandatory quarantine and 35 persons in precautionary quarantine.  The County noted that 2,027 people have completed quarantine, including 478 persons who had tested positive and have recovered.   The County’s “dashboard” has more demographical statistics 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 press conference this morning, Governor Cuomo reported that the State’s death toll, rate of hospitalizations, number of positive cases, new COVID-19 cases, and intubated patients has declined.  The Governor observed that the data supported his decision for a phased reopening of the State under strict guidelines.  
 
The Governor stated that, “in many parts of the State,” he would be extending his Executive Order, set to expire on May 15th, which shuts down schools and nonessential businesses.  Before reopening, the Governor said that the State would create a robust tracing system, involving more than 30,000 medical students, to track down anyone who had contact with a COVID-19 infected person.  Starting with the first of a two phase process, the State would restart on May 15th on a regional basis with “low risk” construction and manufacturing activities.  He emphasized that the reopening process would involve a two-week monitoring of hospitalizations, diagnostic and antibody testing, and infection rates.  The Governor said that the State was working on details of the reopening process, and reiterated a “new normal” with limits on gathering sizes, minimum six-foot physical separation, face coverings, and other health requirements.
 
As part of the assessment process, the Governor announced the results of random testing for antibodies which showed a wide variation in infection rates in the State, including 2.1% in the Capital Region, 10.4% in Westchester/Rockland Counties, and 24.7% in New York City.   He emphasized that the results are preliminary.  
 
To advance the assessment of a region’s reopening, in Executive Order 202.24, Governor Cuomo authorized pharmacies to administer approved COVID-19 tests to detect the virus.  The testing is limited to first-responders, health care workers, and essential workers even if they are asymptomatic.  Here’s the link to the Order:  https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20224-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency.   The Governor stated that with added testing capacity, there would be an expanded eligibility for tests.
 
Local hospitals are again warning that, with public blood drives suspended, the supply of blood is running low and are urging residents to help by making an appointment to donate blood at www.RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.  In the near future, the Town will announce Red Cross blood drives (by appointment) at Town Hall and EMS Station 1.  NYS DOH is also requesting residents, who have recovered from COVID-19, to please consider donating blood because of antibodies in plasma which is vital to treatment. Here is the link:  https://nybc.org/donate-blood/convalescent-plasma-covid-19-donor-request-form/.  
 
Saturday’s beautiful weather brought 125 golfers to Western Turnpike Golf Course.  Every tee time was reserved, and players adhered to special posted health guidelines.  The new procedures ran smoothly, with complements for the "touchless" check-in system.  The golfers were very excited to get back on the course and shared very positive comments about the course’s conditions.  The Nines at Western Turnpike, the new food vendor, offered “to go” lunches and drinks.  Going forward, there will be placards with food ordering options placed on the 8th hole tee boxes for pick-up at the end of play. 

Sunday’s cool temperatures, rain, and even wet snow, tampered some enthusiasm.   If not for this global pandemic, I wonder if we would be hearing more about this bizarre weather.  It is certainly consistent with our current Upside Down world, and yet another reason for hoping for an expedient and safe return to normalcy. 
 
Please continue to stay safe and calm.
 
Peter G. Barber
Town Supervisor