Dear Guilderland residents:
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health reported that there are 278 confirmed cases with 34 persons hospitalized, with 12 adults in the intensive care unit. Since yesterday, there were two additional deaths of persons and the County death total from COVID-19 is now six. There are now 464 persons under mandatory quarantine and 82 persons in precautionary quarantine. County Executive Daniel P. McCoy expressed condolences for the loss of lives and impacts upon families and the community.
The State has a new website (www.ny.gov/covid-19tracker) that provides details, at the County level, on the numbers of tests and results. The statistics are updated twice a day. Starting at 10am on Monday, April 6th, and every day thereafter from 8am to 6pm, St. Peter’s Health Partners and Albany Medical Center are operating a drive thru testing site (no walk-ups) at UAlbany’s Colonial Quad parking lot. The testing requires a prior appointment by calling (888) 364-3065 and is prioritized for persons with the highest risk of contracting COVID-19.
The State is asking retired health care professionals, health care workers, qualified medical and nursing school students and staff to consider joining, if they are able to serve, a reserve workforce if the need arises. More information is available at http://health.ny.gov/assistance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that persons wear cloth face covers, and not surgical and N95 masks, when in public settings. The CDC has guidance on making, using, and cleaning the face covers: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
The wearing of a face covering does not allow making it safe to play basketball with friends, shake hands after a successful putt, arrange long-postponed play dates, or host house warming parties. It is not sufficient protection for you or others. The best prevention against the spread of COVID-19 are keeping a minimum six-foot separation from each other; regular washing of hands with soap for at least 20 seconds; coughing and sneezing in the inside of your elbow; disinfecting of surfaces; and wearing a cloth face cover when out in public. The continued strict adherence to these guidelines is our best defense against this pandemic.
For several weeks, women in the Altamont Train Station Quilters, Schoharie Valley Quilters, and many individual seamstresses have made nearly 500 cloth masks which have been delivered to Ellis Hospital, Belleview Maternity, Albany Medical Center, St. Peter’s Hospital, and Albany County Health Clinic. Dozens of these face masks have been delivered to the Town’s Emergency Medical Services Department for use by Town staff and to be provided to seniors. I greatly appreciate the care and commitment to others by seen in the beautiful handiwork performed by these women.
As I previously noted, Deputy Assessor Heather Weinhold is also a Marriage Officer. On Friday, when I was just starting two different conference calls, I had a second floor view of Heather performing two wedding ceremonies on the Town Hall’s front lawn in the rain. The first was very colorful with the bride, groom, and family in traditional Indian dress. And while Heather had no control over the rain, she maintained the minimum six-foot physical separations and ended with a very happy family. The second was equally successful with all health guidelines observed. There was one glitch: someone forgot the marriage license. I’m not good at reading lips but one person appeared to be taking the blame. But, no worries, Heather is very patient and understanding, and passed the time back in her office inputting assessment data, while awaiting the bridal party’s return. The crisis was avoided, vows were joyfully taken, and Heather congratulated the new couple under her umbrella, at a safe six feet distance.
Thank you for continuing to stay safe and calm.
Peter G. Barber