Coronavirus (COVID-19) Twenty-Seventh Update

Monday, April 6, 2020
Dear Guilderland residents:
 
In its daily update today, the Albany County Department of Health reported that there are now 300 confirmed cases with 41 persons hospitalized and 15 adults in the intensive care unit.  There were no deaths yesterday or overnight from COVID-19. There are now 350 persons under mandatory quarantine and 57 persons in precautionary quarantine.  
 
County Executive Daniel McCoy stated that for its opening day, the UAlbany testing site could test about 400 persons today and that when fully operational should be able to handle 1,000 tests. No walk-ins are allowed and all persons must be in a vehicle with an appointment made by calling (888) 364-3065.  County Health Commissioner Elizabeth Whalen, M.D. stated that this community testing could provide a meaningful epidemiological basis for determining where the County is at in containing the spread of COVID-19. The State’s website (www.ny.gov/covid-19tracker) provides more information about testing, results, and trends at the County level.
 
At his daily press conference today (https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home), Governor Cuomo announced that all schools and non-essential businesses are closed through April 29th.  The Governor stated that the number of deaths in the State has remained steady for two days and that for a third straight day, there was a single-digit percentage growth in hospitalizations after an extended time period of growths by 20 or 30 percent per day. The Governor added that the new data suggested that the spread of the virus in the State is nearing its apex, but stressed that the State still faced an emergency.  
 
State and County DOH stressed that our collective fight against the spread of COVID-19 is everyone’s adherence to health guidelines including maintaining a minimum six-foot separation from each other; regular hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds; coughing and sneezing in the inside of your elbow; disinfecting touched surfaces; and wearing a cloth face cover when out in public. 
 
I made a mistake in yesterday’s email about this morning’s opening of the driving range at the Western Turnpike Golf Course.  The range is open daily from 11am to 5pm.  Please remember to carefully review the course’s COVID-19 guidelines (www.westernturnpike.com) before you arrive and call the pro-shop at (518) 456-0786 if you have questions about these guidelines and the opening of the course.
 
This weekend saw heavier than normal use of Town parks with all parking spaces at the Winter Recreation Area filled on Sunday afternoon, and other parks used by hikers, Frisbee players, dog walkers, and other patrons enjoying activities with adequate physical separation.  New signage was installed at basketball courts about using them for only solitary play.  
 
There are news reports that the pandemic has resulted in more home gardens and a shortage of some seed types.  The Building Department is also issuing more building permits for hen houses. Before embarking upon this project or the premature buying of unreturnable hens (and avoidable unfortunate consequences (please hold the fried chicken jokes)), please consult the Town’s “keeping of chicken” regulations at: https://www.townofguilderland.org/building-zoning/pages/guidelines-checklists.
 
If you are interested in gardening, please consider the Town’s Community Gardens, an organic garden located a short distance from Tawasentha Park at 181 State Route 146.  Started in 1989 as a community garden project with around 15 garden plots, the gardens have expanded to over 110 plots, most measuring about 690 square feet, and are enjoyed by more than 80 residents and families under the passionate stewardship of Jerry Houser, Coordinator of Community Gardens.  The gardens include apiaries, bluebird houses, hoop house, pond, gardeners’ pavilion, picnic area, hiking trail, and the historic Houck barn, with harvest dates from the 1800s carved into the hand hewed beams.
 
There are a limited number of plots available for this season.  As with all Town outdoor facilities, the gardens are operating under COVID-19 guidelines, including a minimum six-foot separation.  If you are interested, please call Jerry at (518) 452-7450 or visit the garden’s website at https://www.townofguilderland.org/community-gardens where you can review and submit a "Garden Request Form," and review “Rules of the Row,” a garden plan, photos, and brief history. 
 
Thank you for continuing to stay safe and calm.
 
Peter G. Barber
Town Supervisor