Updated: 10/23/2020

THIS IS A RAPIDLY CHANGING SITUATION

PLEASE CHECK THE RENSSELAER COUNTY WEBPAGE AND FACEBOOK PAGE FOR UPDATES REGULARLY

For any other questions not covered in these FAQs, call the NYSDOH COVID-19 hotline at (888) 364-3065

Rensselaer County Test Result Information 518-270-2659 (Monday-Friday, 9-4)

  • On weekends, please leave a voicemail with your name and number and your call will be returned on Monday

Rensselaer County Department of Health Urgent After Hours Line: 518-857-4660

  • For Health Department issues that cannot wait for the next business day

Rensselaer County Department of Social Services: 518-266-7800/518-266-7850

Rensselaer County Department for the Aging: 518-270-2730 9-5 M-F; 518-270-2767 after hours

Rensselaer County Mental Health Department 24 Hour Hotline: 518-270-2800

Rensselaer County COVID-19 (Corona Virus) email: Coronainfo@rensco.com

Helpful Websites

FAQs

NYS TRAVEL ADVISORY

Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 205, requiring all travelers coming from states with significant rates of transmission of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of their last contact. The requirements of the travel advisory do not apply to any individual passing through designated states for a limited duration (i.e., less than 24 hours) through the course of travel, including layovers between flights.

Governor Cuomo updates the restricted states every Tuesday. For the most current list of restricted states, please visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19? (Per the CDC, last updated 5/13/2020)

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Preliminary information suggests older adults and people with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems may be at higher risk of severe illness from this virus.

CAN I GET TESTED FOR COVID-19?

If you think you need to be tested for COVID-19, you have choices:

•     Contact your health care provider.

  • UAlbany Test Site: Call the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) 2019 Novel Coronavirus 24-hour hotline at 1-888-364-3065 to schedule an appointment to be tested.  Hours are Monday-Friday 8:30-5:30 & Saturday 8:30-2:30. No walk-ins will be allowed at the UAlbany testing site.  You must make an appointment and be in a vehicle.
  • Rensselaer County: The IMA Group and Lab is doing testing for symptomatic residents. Appointments are NECESSARY and can be made by calling:
    Phone: 1-800-245-4245
    Address: 85 Bloomingrove Dr., Troy NY (Van Rensselaer Manor)
    Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-4.
  • Community Care Physicians Urgent Care: Accepts walk-ins. Also provides COVID-19 Antibody Testing for patients
    Phone:518-782-3888
    Address: 711 Troy Schenectady Rd. Latham, NY
    Hours: Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm (Suite 109)
    Monday-Friday from 5pm to 11:30pm, weekends from 10am to 7:30pm) and holidays from 10am to 4:30pm ( Suite 102 )
  • Whitney M. Young, Jr Health Center: Phone (518) 465-4771 ext. 3506 to be screened for a testing appointment. Sites and hours vary.
  • CVS Albany- Limited appointments, must call ahead
    Phone: 866-389-2727
    Address: 885 Central Ave, Albany
    Hours: Verify when scheduling appointment
  • Rite Aid Troy: Make an appointment online at riteaid.com
    Phone:518-272-1355
    Address: 83 Vandenburgh Ave, Troy
    Hours: Monday-Friday from 10am to 1pm, 2pm-8pm
    Saturday-Sunday from 10am to 1pm, 2pm-5pm
  • WellNow Urgent Care: Offers COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 antibody testing at all locations.
    Latham: 800 New Loudon Rd, Latham, NY 12110
    Phone: (518) 218-4220
    Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
    Albany: 1438 Western Ave, Albany, NY 12203
    Phone: (518) 649-9986
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    Clifton Park: 1694 U.S. 9, Clifton Park, NY 12065
    Phone: (518) 930-7486
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m
    Niskayuna: 445 Balltown Road, Schenectady, NY 12305
    Phone: (518) 387-3566
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    Hudson: 446 Fairview Avenue, Hudson, NY 12534
    Phone: (518) 267-3496
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m
  • Walgreens Albany– Offers Rapid testing for symptomatic individuals
    Address: 41 Holland Ave.
    Phone: 518-426-2976
    Hours: Monday-Friday: 9-5

CAN COVID-19 BE PREVENTED?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to prevent exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of any respiratory viruses

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash can and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others and are unable to social distance.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get a flu shot for yourself and your family members. This will not prevent COVID-19 but it will prevent you from getting flu, keeping you healthy and out of the hospital.

WHO IS AT HIGHER RISK FOR SERIOUS ILLNESS FROM COVID-19?

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. These people who may be at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, includes:

  • Older adults
    * According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older.
  • People who have serious underlying medical conditions like:
    * Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    * HIV or other immunocompromising conditions like cancer treatment
    * Heart disease with complications
    * People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [(BM]I)≥40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk

NYS MATILDA’S LAW

Governor Cuomo announced “Matilda’s Law” – a guideline – to protect New Yorkers age 70+ and those with compromised immune systems.

Under the law, vulnerable New Yorkers are advised to:

  • Remain indoors
  • Go outside for solitary exercise
  • Pre-screen all visitors by taking their temperature
  • Wear a mask in the company of others
  • Stay at least 6 feet from others
  • Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary

CAN COVID-19 BE TREATED?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 and there is currently no vaccine. People infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment in a hospital might be required. Call your healthcare provider to find out more about what care and treatment is available to you.

CAN SOMEONE WHO HAS HAD COVID-19 SPREAD THE ILLNESS TO OTHERS?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others, even if they are not showing symptoms. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. Individuals who have tested positive must wear a mask when they cannot social distance while isolating.

Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.

Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements:

Patients with mild to moderate illness who are not severely immunocompromised:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved

Patients with severe to critical illness or who are severely immunocompromised1:

  • At least 10 days and up to 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved
  • Consider consultation with infection control experts
  • If asymptomatic: Transmission-Based Precautions may be discontinued when at least 10 days and up to 20 days have passed since the date of their first positive viral diagnostic test.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION?

Quarantine

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Someone in self-quarantine stays separated from others, and they limit movement outside of their home or current place. A person may have been exposed to the virus without knowing it (for example, when traveling or out in the community), or they could have the virus without feeling symptoms. Quarantine helps limit further spread of COVID-19.

Isolation

Isolation is used to separate sick people from healthy people. People who are in isolation should stay home. In the home, anyone sick should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick” bedroom or space and using a different bathroom (if possible).  In NYS, the following definitions apply for quarantine and isolation related to COVID-19;

1) ‘Mandatory Isolation’ applies to the following persons:

  • You have tested positive for COVID-19; OR
  • Testing is currently unavailable to you, but you are symptomatic and have had contact with a known COVID-19 case.

2) ‘Mandatory Quarantine’ applies to the following persons:

  • You have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is currently in mandatory isolation; OR
  • You are symptomatic and have returned within the past 14-days from a country designated with a level 2, 3, or 4 advisory for COVID-19.
  • Example: If a member of your household tests positive, you will be placed on Mandatory Quarantine.

3) ‘Precautionary Quarantine’ applies to the following persons;

  • You are asymptomatic and have returned within the past 14-days from a country designated with a level 2,3 or 4 advisory for COVID-19; OR
  • You have been determined to have had proximate exposure with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

WHAT IS ANTIBODY/SEROLOGY TESTING? AND CAN I BE TESTED USING THIS METHOD?

Serology testing checks a sample of a person’s blood to look for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These antibodies are produced when someone has been infected, so a positive result from this test indicates that person was previously infected with the virus.

CDC is working with other federal agencies to evaluate the performance of commercially manufactured serology tests that are becoming increasingly available from healthcare providers. This evaluation is expected to be completed in late April.

We do not know yet if the antibodies that result from infection with SARS-CoV-2 can protect someone from reinfection with this virus or how long antibodies to the virus will protect someone. Scientists are conducting research to answer those questions.

Serology tests may not be able to tell you if you are currently infected because it typically takes 1 to 2 weeks to develop antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. To tell if you are currently infected, you would need a test that identifies the virus in samples from your upper respiratory system, such as a nasopharyngeal swab.

If you are interested in being tested for antibodies, call the COVID-19 hotline at 888-364-3065 to find the nearest testing location. There are a limited number of antibody test kits available; many test sites have a maximum number of people they can test each day.

PLASMA DONATION

When fighting illness, the body produces antibodies—proteins that counteract a pathogen. Antibodies remain in plasma for weeks or months after recovery. The antibodies in patients who have recovered from COVID-19 attack the virus and can potentially be useful as a treatment for the virus.

The American Red Cross is accepting plasma donations from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. For more information or to determine your eligibility call 1-800-733-2767 or visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/plasma-donations-from-recovered-covid-19-patients.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgKmrs7PL7AIVAq_ICh3zCwhxEAAYASAAEgLrtvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

NYS CLOTH FACE COVERINGS GUIDANCE

Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low-cost, and should be used as a public health measure, beyond social distancing.

Individuals must procure, fashion, or otherwise obtain face coverings and wear them when they are in a public and are:

  • Within six feet of distance from other individuals;
  • In a situation or setting where they are unable to maintain six feet of distance from other individuals;
  • In a public or private transportation carrier or for-hire vehicle.

When wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community transmission, you should:

  • Make sure that they fit snugly and cover their nose and mouth.
  • Be changed frequently and laundered when they are soiled or wet.
  • Not become complacent with other protective measures:
  • Do not touch the cloth covering or face.
  • Continue to be vigilant with thorough and frequent hand washing with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer of 60%+ alcohol.
  • Practice respiratory etiquette and cover your coughs or sneezes.
  • In a situation or setting where they are unable to maintain six feet of distance from other individuals;

While cloth face coverings may not prevent the wearer from becoming infected, they might help slow spread from people who have the virus and are unaware.

Read the guidance document on use of cloth face coverings by the NYS Department of Health.

WHAT IS THE NYS DOH GUIDANCE FOR FACE COVERINGS IN THE WORKPLACE?

Executive Order 202.16 directs employers to provide essential workers with masks free of charge to wear when interacting with the public.

WHAT CLEANING PRODUCTS SHOULD I USE TO PROTECT AGAINST COVID-19?

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Using one cap of bleach to a gallon of water will disinfect surfaces. Use a rag or spray bottle. If storing in clear bottle you must change solution daily. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. See CDC’s recommendations for household cleaning and disinfection.

EPA Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)

CDC Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes

SHOULD I USE SOAP AND WATER OR A HAND SANITIZER TO PROTECT AGAINST COVID-19?

Hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

WHAT TEMPERATURE KILLS THE VIRUS THAT CAUSES COVID-19?

Generally coronaviruses survive for shorter periods of time at higher temperatures and higher humidity than in cooler or dryer environments. However, we don’t have direct data for this virus, nor do we have direct data for a temperature-based cutoff for inactivation at this point. The necessary temperature would also be based on the materials of the surface, the environment, etc. Regardless of temperature please follow CDC’s guidance for cleaning and disinfection.

CAN THE VIRUS THAT CAUSES COVID-19 BE SPREAD THROUGH FOOD, INCLUDING RESTAURANT TAKE OUT, REFRIGERATED OR FROZEN PACKAGED FOOD?

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day use a tissue to cover your coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, like a packaging container, that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging.