Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thirtieth Update

Thursday, April 9, 2020
Dear Guilderland residents:
 
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health (DOH) reported that there are now 365 confirmed cases with 34 persons hospitalized and 14 adults in the intensive care unit (ICU).  There were two deaths yesterday from COVID-19 which brings the County’s death toll to 11. There are now 477 persons under mandatory quarantine and 50 persons in precautionary quarantine. 
 
At his daily press conference today, Governor Cuomo stated that for the third day in a row, the State had the highest number of deaths from the virus.  And yet, despite the tragic loss of life, the Governor reported hopeful signs including a continuing decline in hospital and ICU admissions, and that, if these trends continue, the State may pass the apex of the virus.  The Governor emphasized that the State would continue enforcing social distancing and other restrictions to maintain the progress in preventing the spread of the virus.   
 
Based upon recent studies which show that a significant number of persons carrying COVID-19 are asymptomatic and can spread the virus to others without showing symptoms, NYS DOH last night issued new guidance supporting the wearing of “cloth face coverings,” and not N95 or surgical masks, when out in public and the minimum six-foot separation is difficult.  The recommended places included pharmacies and stores. You can obtain more information about all recommended methods for protection at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/protect-yourself-and-your-family-coronavirus-covid-19
 
I extend gratitude to Quick Response & Restoration, Inc. and its workers for their donation of time and supplies to clean and disinfect police vehicles, public spaces in Town Hall, Guilderland Fire Department’s firehouse, and EMS’s Station 1.  This work was carefully and professionally performed and ended with first responders’ facilities and equipment readied for their continued vital role in the Town’s response to this pandemic. I can’t thank local businesses enough for their donations of services and supplies in support of the Town’s response.   
 
As we all well know now, we are living in a “topsy turvy” world in which what was good one day (recyclable bags) and what was bad (plastic bags) have flipped roles in our grocery stores.  The same is unfortunately true for what were, until this morning, designated “essential services” provided by the Parks Department at the Western Turnpike Golf Course (WTGC) and playgrounds in Town parks.  The WTGC’s driving range opened on Monday with patrons enjoying fine weather and adhering to physical separation and other health guidelines, and despite the rain, the WTGC’s course was scheduled to open this weekend.  The same was true for playgrounds where families and children were also following posted guidelines.  
 
But that unfortunately ends today, and until further notice, because of today’s guidelines by the Empire State Development Corp. (https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026) which changes what recreational activities qualify as “essential services”:  
  • Parks and other open public spaces, except playgrounds and other areas of congregation where social distancing cannot be abided
  • However, golf courses are not essential
  • However, use of boat launches and marinas for recreational vessels is not considered essential
I rarely like sentences starting with “However;” they almost always bring bad news.
 
I’m not a golfer and I have no small children but I understand the importance of these recreational activities to residents and how their springtime opening was a harbinger for our return to normalcy.  But that’s what happens when the State is making every effort to stop the spread of this pandemic. And while the Town is exempt from these essential business restrictions, we strictly adhere to all restrictions and health guidelines for non-essential, in-person workforce and other operations, and will follow these new restrictions at the Town’s recreational facilities.  Please check the WTGC’s website for updates (https://www.westernturnpike.com/), particularly if there is further clarification about the driving range or golf course operations.  
 
Thank you for continuing to stay safe and calm.
 
Peter G. Barber
Town Supervisor