COVID-19: The Pandemic that Reshaped the Lives of Many
The COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented event that triggered chaos, distress, uncertainty, and fear for several people and families worldwide. Throughout these precarious times, municipalities/cities, states, and countries were quickly ushered to make transformative changes to help individuals adapt to the incessant nature of the virus. Simultaneously, governing bodies desperately needed to create sustainable yet dynamic policies to allow civilians to continue with their lives while also adhering to proper hygiene and health measures. As I have dissected the Guilderland population’s community health profile over the last few weeks, I have incorporated brief analyses of each health facet in the context of the pandemic. In this blog, I intend to convey a more compendious overview of the town’s coronavirus response.
The Town of Guilderland has aspired to provide frequent updates (daily and hourly, if necessary) regarding the evolving COVID-19 pandemic to keep the local community well-informed. Also, while the town remains consistent with the procedures laid out by the Albany Department of Health, it has developed a specific and thorough strategy for the local community known as, The Moving Forward Plan. This plan essentially depicts a framework for how the town will effectively and safely operate during the epidemic. Some of the action points included: safer work practices, engineering controls in workplace settings and edits in work policies to significantly reduce exposure to the virus. The plan’s primary motive is centered around the prevention of COVID-19 spread. For instance, there is a heavy emphasis on the continual cleaning and disinfection of workplace areas, equipment, vehicles, and general settings where people typically congregate. The Emergency Medical Services Department has worked in tandem with Guilderland to supply facilities with PPE: hand sanitizers, face masks, face shields, gloves, and other forms of personal protective equipment. Furthermore, the town has intensely utilized signs, postings, and markings in most (if not all) public settings to enforce social distancing rules (colored markings on the floor to maintain a six feet distance) and correct hygiene such as effective handwashing techniques.
In terms of the “Mitigation” approach, the plan explicitly and strongly encourages telecommunication, video conferencing options, and emailing instead of in-person contact to decrease the chances of being exposed to the virus. When conducting in-person meetings and gatherings, town buildings/facilities are expected to abide by the state and county size/capacity standards. In town buildings, there is a singular point of entry that is overseen and regulated by a trained employee. This employee will take temperatures and check for acute symptoms: fevers/chills, headaches, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, sore throats, etc. Beyond these fundamental guidelines, the Moving Forward Plan dives into greater detail about specific restrictions, what employees should do if they do contract COVID, and what particular steps should be taken when COVID-19 exposure occurs in the workplace or at home.
Where does the Guilderland and the General Albany Area Stand Now?
As of November 10, Albany County has reached a total of 3,950 confirmed cases. The Albany Department of Health has earnestly warned of the dramatic increase in cases and hospitalizations as people continue to “let their guard down.” This could potentially stem from exhaustion and ‘pandemic burnout.’ However, as Governor Cuomo has said, “While we may be tired of COVID, it is not tired of us.” There is more carelessness and an unconcerned sentiment that has taken over Albany and Guilderland’s people, which is a step in the wrong direction. Although New York State currently ranks as the third-lowest positive case rate in the country, this can metamorphose very quickly. Therefore, as Guilderland (along with the rest of the world) persists in its battle against this ferocious pandemic, it is imperative that people correctly wear masks, stay home if there is no legitimate reason to go out, maintain good hand hygiene, and most importantly, hold each other accountable.