Initiative urges residents to keep in touch

GLOVERSVILLE — Following social distancing guidelines doesn’t have to mean socially isolating, according to 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young, who is encouraging Fulton County residents to set aside five minutes each day to call a family member, friend or acquaintance as part of the statewide initiative, Take 5 for New York.

The campaign created by the New York State Association of Counties encourages residents to call someone they know who may be alone or feeling isolated while state protocol requiring residents to practice social distancing while non-essential businesses remain closed remain in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Young said Monday he wanted to introduce the campaign to Fulton County to remind residents of the importance of remaining connected while the temporary restrictions keep people physically apart.

“We’re more of a rural county and the people are a bit naturally social distanced inherently and I feel that it’s important that we still keep connected with neighbors and loved ones and that we don’t allow social distancing to become social isolation,” he said.

Currently working from home as an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Cobleskill, tutor at Fulton-Montgomery Community College and member of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, Young said he’s enjoyed connecting with friends and relatives while taking part in the campaign.

“It’s good for the people being reached out to and good to connect with somebody,” said Young. “It’s been great to catch up with friends who I haven’t spoken with in a while, making sure that neighbors and loved ones are doing well. I feel it’s good for not only our social wellbeing, mentally it’s great to connect with somebody and lift their spirits and let them know that they’re not alone.”

“Many of us, myself included, took for granted all of the interactions we have with one another on a daily basis,” he added. “So even a conference call or office hours that might have been routine three or four weeks ago, now is a more enjoyable opportunity to connect with somebody.”

Community members are seemingly recognizing the importance of checking on their neighbors, Young said, noting that several of the people he’s reached out to said they have been receiving more phone calls in recent weeks than ever before.

“That’s a good problem to have, too many people reaching out to you,” said Young.

In addition to picking up the phone more often, Young is also encouraging residents to figuratively join him in taking a stroll outdoors while maintaining a distance of at least six feet between themselves and others.

“I’m getting out for more walks which is nice, and I definitely encourage people to take up solo activities like walking around their neighborhoods and seeing the first signs of spring,” said Young. “It’s easy to keep your social distance while you’re out and about and enjoy this small community.”

Young added that he has been following new federal guidelines when venturing out in public by wearing a cloth face mask or covering, encouraging others to follow the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday issued a recommendation that individuals wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain like grocery stores or pharmacies.

Wearing a cloth face mask while maintaining a distance of at least six feet between individuals may help slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to the CDC, by helping reduce the rate of transmission by individuals who have the virus and who become contagious before they begin showing symptoms. The CDC recommends the general public use only cloth face coverings made using household materials, not medical grade surgical masks or N-95 respirators that are critical to healthcare professionals and first responders.

For more information on the coronavirus and methods to prevent its transmission visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/.

By Josh Bovee

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