Dear Guilderland residents:
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health reported that there are now 309 confirmed cases with 39 persons hospitalized and 13 adults in the intensive care unit (ICU). There were no deaths yesterday or overnight from COVID-19, and remains at eight. There are now 459 persons under mandatory quarantine and 57 persons in precautionary quarantine.
Two paramedics in the Town’s Department of Emergency Services (EMS) have tested positive for COVID-19. Both medics are asymptomatic and resting well at home under quarantine. The EMS followed County DOH’s guidance which identified additional staff for testing. Test results are forthcoming and all staff members are asymptomatic. EMS is adhering to State DOH protocols which set forth conditions under which essential personnel, including medics and emergency medical technicians, may return to work following COVID-19 exposure or infection. There has been no impact upon system status or the full deployment of ambulances and fly cars. The County has reported that 90% of new cases over the past week were first responders and emergency workers who are on the forefront of dealing with people possibly sickened by coronavirus. I thank EMS staff for dedicated service to our community in response to this pandemic.
In today’s press conference, Governor Cuomo stated that yesterday the State had its largest single-day number of deaths but that the number of deaths was a lagging indicator in the fight against the virus. The Governor noted that the rate of hospitalizations continued to decrease, and the number of patients in ICUs over the past day was the lowest since March 21st. The Governor stated that the State was still projecting a plateauing of the spread of the virus. The Governor announced that planning was underway to restart the regional economy. The Governor concluded that our collective fight against the spread of COVID-19 is our continued adherence to a minimum six-foot physical separation from each other and other well-known guidelines. With the Governor’s announcement yesterday that all schools and non-essential businesses are closed through April 29th, Town facilities will also remain closed to the public until further notice. Your best way to contact the Town for non-emergency services is by email and letter as noted on the Town website. Because of very limited staff on duty, your phone calls may not be answered or returned for days.
If you have questions about the new State FY 2020-21 budget, please join Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy and John McDonald tomorrow Wednesday, April 8th from 3 pm to 4:30pm for a virtual public town hall on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/846266339205746/.
The continued closure of most local businesses will likely exacerbate a crisis in our local economy. The Guilderland Chamber of Commerce has helped by launching an online small business hub with updated information on how we can support our local businesses, in person at essential service businesses and online: https://www.guilderlandchamber.com/guilderland-small-business-hub/. Before making the trip, please call ahead because some businesses are operating with limited hours. If you believe that your business is an essential service but was not included in the State’s approved list, you can apply for designation as an “essential service” business at https://esd.ny.gov/content/request-designation-essential-business-purposes-executive-order-2026.
The Capital District YMCA is providing daycare for school-aged children of employees who provide “essential services” as identified by the State. More information, including registration and fees, and list of “essential services” is available at www.CDYMCA.org/EmergencyChildcare or at (518) 869-3500. Health Research, Inc., a nonprofit organization, has started First Responders Fund which assists first responders and health care workers who have endured added expenses, including child care costs, due to their frontline fight against COVID-19. You can help by donating and clicking on the COVID-19 box at https://www.healthresearch.org/donation-form/.
This year’s Household Hazardous Waste Day and Confidential Document Shredding are still scheduled for this Saturday, April 11th from 8:00am to 2:00pm at the Highway Department garage. This event will strictly adhere to COVID-19 guidelines by having the participants stay in their vehicle and letting the workers remove the material from the vehicle. The unloading takes place inside a large garage and will be held in the rain, snow, or shine. Please continue to check the Transfer Station’s website (https://www.townofguilderland.org/transfer-station) for any late changes. Before you load your vehicle, please review the website’s list of accepted materials or call (518) 861-6776 for more information.
Thank you for continuing to stay safe and calm.
Peter G. Barber