Coronavirus (COVID-19) Forty-First Update

Monday, April 20, 2020
Dear Guilderland residents:
 
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health reported that there are, on a cumulative basis, 656 confirmed cases with 35 persons now hospitalized and nine persons in the intensive care unit (ICU).  One person passed away yesterday which brings the County’s death toll from COVID-19 to 23. There are now 784 persons under mandatory quarantine and 38 persons in precautionary quarantine. The County noted that 1,555 people have completed quarantine, including 323 persons who had tested positive and have recovered.  County Executive Daniel P. McCoy announced that, starting Wednesday, there will be another drive-up testing site at the Rite-Aid store located at 1853 Central Avenue in Colonie. The testing will take place every day from 9am to 5pm, by appointment only starting tomorrow at http://www.riteaid.com.
 
At his press conference this morning, Governor Cuomo reported that the State’s daily death toll, rate of hospitalizations, and persons on ventilators continued to decline, and that the State was on the downside of the COVID-19 curve.  The Governor added that it would take more time to determine how long a descent must take before the reopening or expansion of non-essential businesses and schools. He expressed concern that with warming weather and more people leaving their homes that the infection rate could increase.  The Governor continued to stress that the continued progress against the spread of the virus was dependent upon strict adherence to physical separation and wearing of face masks in public if unable to maintain a minimum six-foot separation.
 
Governor Cuomo also said that the NYS DOH was beginning a State-wide antibody testing by starting first with a testing sample of 3,000 random persons.  The survey is a precursor to large-scale antibody testing to determine the percentage of the State’s population that may be immune to the COVID-19. More information is here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/amid-ongoing-covid-19-pandemic-governor-cuomo-announces-statewide-antibody-testing-survey-will
 
The United States Chamber of Commerce has launched today the Save Small Business Fund which provides a limited number of $5,000 grants for small businesses with 3 to 20 employees, located in an economically vulnerable community (most area zip codes are eligible), and were financially harmed by COVID-19.  The application became live today. You can learn more at: https://www.savesmallbusiness.com/.
 
Starting this week, the Town will resume holding meetings of the Town Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board, and Industrial Development Agency under the Governor’s Executive Orders.  Executive Order 202.1 suspended the Open Meetings Law “to permit any public body to meet and take such actions authorized by the law without permitting in public in-person access to meetings and authorizing such meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service, provided that the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed.”   
 
The Town will broadcast board meetings live on Verizon channel 34, Spectrum channel 1303, and on the Town website (https://www.townofguilderland.org/town-meeting-videos), and later recordings of the meetings with indexing and minutes will be posted on the Town website.  The Town will supplement the Order’s requirements by allowing public comment during the broadcast by dialing (518) 579-3721.   
 
The first meeting under this approved alternative procedure is tomorrow’s Town Board meeting at 7pm.  On Wednesday, April 22nd at 7pm, the Planning Board will follow the same process.  Copies of both boards’ agendas are available at: https://www.townofguilderland.org/minutes-and-agendas.  Based upon the State’s guidance, and today’s comments by the Governor, there is little chance for large in-person public meetings for the foreseeable future.   
 
Yesterday’s beautiful weather greatly increased usage and enjoyment of the Town’s park system and open space.  The Parks Department staff reported that trails at Tawasentha Park and Vosburgh Open Space were very busy, and that attendance at other parks was much heavier than normal.  Other than the occasional kind reminder, there were no problems with keeping adequate physical distancing. No word yet on the opening of the golf course. Your quickest update is at: https://www.westernturnpike.com/.
 
Thank you for staying safe and calm.
 
Peter G. Barber
Town Supervisor