Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sixty-Sixth Update

Friday, May 15, 2020
Dear Guilderland residents:
 
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health (DOH) reported that there are, on a cumulative basis, 1,425 confirmed cases, and that there are now 29 persons hospitalized and six persons in the intensive care unit.  There was one death from the virus overnight which increased the County’s death toll at 67.  There are now 852 persons under mandatory quarantine and 16 persons in precautionary quarantine.  The County noted that 3,646 people have completed quarantine, including 936 persons who had tested positive and have recovered.  
 
In his daily press daily briefing, Governor Cuomo stated that today’s data continued to show steady progress in reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including declines in new daily admissions, intubations, and deaths.  He noted that there was slight uptick in the number of hospitalizations.  The Governor announced that today was the partial reopening of the economy in five of the State’s ten regions including Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, North Country and Finger Lakes.  The first phase of reopening allows the resumption of construction, manufacturing, wholesale businesses and curbside retail pickup.  The Governor stated that New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware were allowing the opening of beaches starting the Friday of the Memorial Day weekend, and that local municipalities could do the same, but all beach openings are subject to specific health requirements.
 
As of today, the Capital Region is meeting five of the seven metrics but not satisfying metrics for daily hospital deaths and total net hospitalizations (https://forward.ny.gov/regional-monitoring-dashboard).  There is some disagreement among the counties, NYS DOH, and the Governor’s Office on how these mathematical measurements should be taken and how people are counted if they reside outside the area.  If you are interested, this Times Union article provides a recap:   https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Cuomo-aide-Capital-Region-can-t-begin-reopening-15271261.php.   The Governor said that other regions, including the Capital Region, could open at any time if they meet the seven metrics.
 
The County DOH continues to urge residents to consider testing for the virus.  Priority 1 Urgent Care in Hamilton Square, here in Guilderland, is offering tests for COVID-19 by using both PCR (Nasopharyngeal Swab) and Serum Antibody IgG (Blood) testing. You can arrange for the testing by calling (518) 867-8040 for screening of symptoms and an appointment.
 
Today, I signed a second extension of the State of Emergency which will keep Town buildings closed to the public until at least June 13th, consistent with the Governor’s latest Executive Order as discussed below.  We will soon announce a Town “Resumption of Business Plan” which will gradually reopen Town buildings to the public in phases by first limiting access to appointment only, setting capacity limits, and establishing protocols for entering the building.  This plan will be revised based upon updated health guidance and best practices seen in other municipalities.  For example, last evening, “unofficial” CDC guidance (64 pages) was released with recommendations on opening summer camps, public gatherings, and other special situations.   
 
Late last night, the Governor issued Executive Order 202.31 which extended the State’s “On Pause” until May 28th, subject to the phased regional reopening and also extended his emergency powers to June 13th.   The Order also suspends Penal Law 240.35(4) which states that being “masked” in a “public place” could be a violation.  The Order addresses concerns of some law-abiding residents that who will never feel right entering a bank while wearing a mask.  
 
But, what I found curious is that Penal Law 240.35(4) also says that a “masquerade party” is not loitering but only if it “held in a city” with a regulation requiring that “permission is first obtained from the police ….”  I just never knew that a pre-pandemic “masquerade party” in the Town might be loitering or that you would need police permission.  
 
Thank you for staying safe and calm.
 
Peter G. Barber
Town Supervisor