Dear Guilderland residents:
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health reported that there are, on a cumulative basis, 784 confirmed cases with 30 persons now hospitalized and seven persons in the intensive care unit (ICU). One person passed away yesterday which brings the County’s death toll from COVID-19 to 31. There are now 753 persons under mandatory quarantine and 54 persons in precautionary quarantine. The County noted that 1,902 people have completed quarantine, including 431persons who had tested positive and have recovered.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, Sr. reported that his office had investigated 70 complaints of gatherings and nonessential businesses operating, and that no actions other than cease-and-desist orders were required and that there were no repeat offenders. Chief Daniel P. McNally reported the same situation in Guilderland, with only educational reminders and no further action required. The Police Department is visiting open essential businesses to provide reminders about adhering to health guidelines and also giving sealed packages of washable cotton face masks for use by workers and their families.
At his press conference this morning, Governor Cuomo reported that the State’s daily death toll continued to fall, the three-day average of confirmed cases fell for 11 straight days, and that the number of intubated patients has fallen for 12 consecutive days. He cautioned that the relatively unchanged number of newly admitted patients was a troubling factor. The Governor said that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a two-week period of declining or flat infection rates before deciding upon the reopening of non-essential businesses. He expects an announcement next week on whether schools would reopen this year. The Governor also announced that the NYS Board of Elections will mail a postage-paid application to every registered voter for an absentee ballot for the State’s June 23rd primary election.
As we are still in an ongoing self-imposed hibernation (good for bears; not so good for humans), it is important that we maintain safe physical separation but not, in my view, social separation. This prolonged unsettling period has caused an increase in friends and neighbors coping, often alone, with stress and anxiety. Whether its emails, like this, phone calls, letter writing, and social media, the continued social interaction is vital to our collective well-being.
A test can detect coronavirus in the body, but it is very difficult to discern who may need help with mental issues. Please do not hesitate to seek help; it is a private phone call away. There are many confidential resources available. The County has a mental health hotline at (518) 269-6634 where a caring person is ready to listen or talk every day from 8am to 8pm. Please remember that if you or someone you know is experiencing a psychiatric emergency, don’t hesitate and immediately call mobile crisis at (518) 549–6500. Community Caregivers’ volunteers are also available for social support by phone at (518) 549-6500 between 9am and 4pm weekday, and offer Lunchtime Chats at 1pm on Tuesday and Friday, where you can join speakers on interesting topics by calling (518) 261-2761.
The Highway Department is keeping up with providing essential services with one-half staff to maintain physical separation. Most importantly, by following health guidelines, employees have remained healthy. The crews are continuing with pick-up of lawn bags and tied bundles, and have resumed regular scheduled pick-ups on your street every seven days or so. The crews have replaced damaged mail boxes and plan, if the weather improves, to start restoring lawns in rights of way. Other crews are sweeping streets and cleaning out stormwater basins. Throughout this pandemic, Highway and Parks Department mechanics have kept ambulances, EMS fly cars, police vehicles, heavy and light trucks, and other equipment in top working order.
As our weather continues to improve (despite Sunday’s possible snow; an overlooked example of our Upside Down world), there will be even more walkers, bikers, scooters, skaters, strollers, and other non-motorized vehicles on our streets. Please remember to drive slowly and carefully because children can appear without notice and people might unexpectedly walk in the middle of the street to keep the required physical six-foot separation. Because of the importance of keeping that safe distance, and with more people outside, it is advisable to have a face mask ready whether walking, biking or otherwise enjoying the outdoors.
I wish our Muslim neighbors an enjoyable start of Ramadan.
Thank you for staying safe and calm.
Peter G. Barber