Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sixty-Fifth Update

Thursday, May 14, 2020
Dear Guilderland residents:
 
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health reported that, on a cumulative basis, there are 1,398 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and that there are now 30 persons hospitalized and four persons in the intensive care unit.  There were tragically four deaths from the virus overnight which raised the County’s death toll to 66.  There are now 889 persons under mandatory quarantine and 19 persons in precautionary quarantine.  The County noted that 3,351 people have completed quarantine, including 896 persons who had tested positive and have recovered.  
 
In his daily press daily briefing, Governor Cuomo stated that the data used to measure the spread of COVID-19 were good, with new daily admissions and intubations at levels before the pandemic, and that the number of COVD-19 deaths was below 200 for the fourth day in a row, and was continuing to decline.  He announced that Central New York would join the Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, North  Country and Finger Lakes as regions which could start the first phase of reopening the economy by allowing construction, manufacturing, wholesale businesses and curbside retail pickup to resume tomorrow.  
 
According to the updated metrics table (https://forward.ny.gov/regional-monitoring-dashboard), the Capital Region is still missing two of the seven metrics including standards for daily hospital deaths and total net hospitalizations.   County Executive McCoy remains hopeful that the Capital Region will soon meet the metrics.  And while the first potential date for the phase one reopening is tomorrow, the region is also eligible to open on the following days if it meets the seven metrics. 
 
Here’s a reminder that you can support local farmers, crafts persons, and artists by shopping online at Guilderland Farmers’ Market:  https://www.guilderlandfarmersmarket.com/online-market.   There are now 20 participating vendors.  To order for this Sunday’s pickup between Noon and 1:30pm at the Star Plaza parking lot, your order must be placed by 7pm tomorrow.
 
The U.S. Small Business Administration is urging small businesses and non-profits in our area to consider applying for the second round of Payment Protection Program loans which are intended to provide eight weeks of payroll and certain overhead expenses to keep workers employed.  The forgiveness of the loan is based on the retaining or rehiring employees while maintaining salaries and hours.  The loans have a 2-year maturity and an interest rate of 1%.  The application and information are available here:  https://www.sba.gov/document/sba-form-2483-paycheck-protection-program-borrower-application-form.
 
You might find of interest an article in The New York Times which supports what we are seeing here:  after a prolonged period of hibernation, people are more frequently leaving their homes:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/05/12/us/coronavirus-reopening-shutdown.html?referringSource=articleShare.  The article reports on a nationwide survey based upon tracking the movement of 15 million phones and identifies “home” as where the device is most over time, and considers “staying home” as staying within 100 meters of that location.  The study estimates that, before the pandemic, the share of people staying home was about 20.7%.  From March 20th, when states started issuing stay at home guidance, until April 30th, when states began easing restrictions, the staying home share more than doubled to 43.8%.   As of last week, the estimated at home share nationwide had dropped to 36.1%.  In New York State, the at-home estimates were far more dramatic: pre-pandemic (23%); during more restrictive period (54%); and last week (46%).  
 
It is a roundabout effort to note that we are seeing the same experiences here (and likely far more soon with much improved weather).  In addition to the heavy usage of Town parks and golf course, the Town police have noticed more vehicles on the road and have begun more vigorous enforcement of vehicle and traffic regulations.  There has been an increase in inattentive driving and higher average speeds, likely due to still fewer vehicles on the road.  
 
Please remember to drive slowly and carefully, and be aware of the increased number of walkers, bikers, and children playing in the street.  We all know well that, in order to maintain six-foot separation, your neighbors could be on the wrong side of the street or moving to avoid contact.
 
Thank you for staying safe and calm.
 
Peter G. Barber
Town Supervisor