Social distancing — as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — was not observed Wednesday afternoon as protesters crowded in front of the state capitol. They demanded an end to the “pause,” declared by the governor, which shut down schools and nonessential businesses until May 15 to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections, which had the potential to overwhelm the health-care system.

A COVID-19 maternity task force has been created to examine the best approach to authorizing and certifying additional dedicated birthing centers in an effort to provide mothers a safe alternative to already stressed hospitals amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

ALBANY COUNTY — Elizabeth Whalen, Albany County’s health commissioner, said at Tuesday’s press briefing that her department has heard from area hospitals that the number of visits they are receiving for heart attacks, strokes, and other emergencies are “not what they normally are.”

Elizabeth Whalen

“The more testing availability we have, the more valid the data is,” Elizabeth Whalen, Albany County’s health commissioner. As she launched the Data Dashboard about the coronavirus, posted to the county’s website. She also said that data becomes more meaningful over time.

The state’s labor department has launched a new application for New Yorkers to apply for traditional Unemployment Insurance or the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

This one-stop-shop for unemployment benefits will not require New Yorkers to call the labor department.

Rite-Aid pharmacists will conduct the COVID-19 tests at the new site in Colonie, handing people who drive through a swab they will use for a nasal test; results will be reported through email or by phone. The site is expected to perform about 200 tests per day.

Paul Tonko

ALBANY COUNTY — Congressman Paul Tonko does not think that local and state governments will receive federal aid as part of the “interim model” currently being hashed out in Congress, but he is hopeful the fourth round of coronavirus aid will include those funds.

In announcing confirmed cases at daily briefings, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy gives just the number of cases not the location of the residents who were infected. “We wanted people to know it was all around us,” he said. McCoy also said the county hopes to post data on its website this week.

“The concerns that lead to using more drugs and alcohol or potentially relapsing if you’re in recovery or even overdosing are present all together right now and posing enormous challenges to folks that are struggling with addiction,” says Stephen Giordano, Ph.D., director of the Albany County Department of Mental Health.

With unemployment numbers reaching historic levels due to the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo has called upon the pro bono network formed by the New York State court system and the New York State Bar Association to help jobless New Yorkers. 

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