Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thirty-First Update

Friday, April 10, 2020
Dear Guilderland residents:
 
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health reported that there are now 397 confirmed cases with 38 persons hospitalized and 14 adults in the intensive care unit (ICU).  There was a death yesterday from COVID-19 which brings the County’s death toll to 12. There are now 520 persons under mandatory quarantine and 75 persons in precautionary quarantine. 
 
In his daily press conference, Governor Cuomo announced that, for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, the number of patients in the ICU had dropped and the number of hospital admissions remained flat.  The Governor reported that, while the number of deaths had also fallen, that figure remained high. He emphasized that confirmed cases continued to increase. The Governor concluded that the decrease in the numbers of hospitalized patients and persons in ICU was happening sooner than expected, and were further indications that the virus was at or near its apex.
 
I was asked by the NYS Department of Labor to provide an update on its new processing of unemployment cases.  In response to the flawed and frustrating launch, and the record number of claims, the State streamlined the application process with fewer questions and, if there are questions, the DOL will call the applicant within 72 hours after their application is submitted.  You can access the application process here: https://labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm.  The Governor also announced that the State will offer $600 in additional weekly unemployment benefits and would extend the benefits for an additional 13 weeks for a total of 39 weeks.  The new provisions related to COVID-19 also expand eligibility for unemployment benefits to self-employed and part-time workers.
 
The Governor also issued an Executive Order (that’s 15 if you are curious) which allows all eligible voters to vote by absentee ballot for the June 23rd primaries.  You can apply for an absentee ballot online at https://www.elections.ny.gov/votingabsentee.htm.
 
To help in its development of a treatment, NYS DOH is asking for any person who has recovered from COVID-19 to consider donating blood.  DOH is seeking to increase the supply of convalescent plasma which has antibodies against the virus and could help with the development of a treatment for the virus.  You can obtain more information about donating here: https://nybc.org/donate-blood/convalescent-plasma-covid-19-donor-request-form/.   Due to cancelled blood drives, the supply of blood remains low.  You can help in our fight against COVID-19 by making appointments for blood donations at www.RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.  
 
We are all in the midst of our collective “upside down” world which scuttles, often without warning, longstanding and anticipated plans.  Such was the case yesterday when Empire State Development Corp.’s new guidance forced the Town’s abrupt closure of playgrounds and golf facilities.   It was very unfortunate because Parks staff had worked hard to make these recreational facilities ready for your enjoyment during these very stressful times.  The staff also had diligently monitored compliance with COVID-19 health requirements and made adjustments for your safety.
 
Please note that, while the golf course is closed, the Western Turnpike Golf Course is also a Town-owned open space and that the cart paths over rolling hills and vista views remain open to the public.  You will see reminders about staying on the paths, and off the green and fairways. You will also see Town staff there every day, including weekends, maintaining the course for its opening. Please also remember that, while playgrounds are closed, all Town parks, open space and trails remain open, and that everyone must keep a minimum six-foot separation.     
 
Upon behalf of the Town, I wish a happy Passover, happy Easter, and weekend to all. 
 
Thank you for continuing to stay safe and calm.
 
Peter G. Barber
Town Supervisor