Dear Guilderland residents:
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health (DOH) reported that there are now 453 confirmed cases with 40 persons hospitalized and 13 adults in the intensive care unit (ICU). The County’s death toll remains at 12. There are now 638 persons under mandatory quarantine and 74 persons in precautionary quarantine.
In his daily press conference, Governor Cuomo stated that the rate of hospitalizations and admissions to ICUs had continued to fall and that, while the death rate was lower, it remained at tragic levels. In noting his sharing of similar data for several days, the Governor remarked that his experience was like the film Groundhog Day. He urged residents to keep a minimum six-foot separation. The Governor planned to issue an Executive Order requiring essential businesses to provide employees with cloth or surgical face masks when interacting with the public.
The Governor also reminded residents that the NYS Health Insurance Marketplace has an ongoing second open enrollment period to assist workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure all workers are covered. Please remember that this new open enrollment period only lasts until Wednesday, April 15th: https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov. NYS DOH again strongly urges residents who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood because of antibodies in plasma which is vital to treatment. Here is the link: https://nybc.org/donate-blood/convalescent-plasma-covid-19-donor-request-form/.
On Friday, the Treasury Department launched a web tool to help people who do not typically file tax returns receive their coronavirus relief payments. The free tool enables non-filers to provide the IRS with their name, address, Social Security number, bank account information and information about any dependents. Here is the link: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here.
I thank Stuyvesant Plaza for its generous donation of $10,000 in gift cards to employees of St. Peter’s Hospital and Albany Medical Center. The gift cards were purchased from Stuyvesant Plaza’s restaurants that provide takeout and delivery orders. You can support local businesses by shopping online or in person at essential businesses. The Guilderland Chamber of Commerce has an updated list of open local businesses: https://www.guilderlandchamber.com/guilderland- small-business-hub/.
In 33 consecutive daily emails to you, I have sought to keep residents informed and urge you to stay safe and calm. When I started these emails more than a month ago, I had no idea that these efforts and our Town would catch the attention of the national media including an article, Keeping Calm in Guilderland, New York in the Time of the Coronavirus, published in The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/personal-history/keeping-calm-in-guilderland-new-york-in-the-time-of-the-coronavirus. This article was written by my daughter with a photo credit from my son. Both are journalists and provide designated “essential services.” Despite this ongoing pandemic, I try to share positive signs, and I’m sure, like many of you, having your children and loved ones safe at home is an unexpected blessing with unanticipated consequences and sometimes even something very special.
Thank you for continuing to stay safe and calm.
Peter G. Barber