ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Happy almost Friday! Per Meteorologist Jill Szwed, we’re dealing with the worst air quality so far, and most will remain under an air quality alert today. However, today’s smoky layer won’t be as thick as yesterday, but it will still be with us through the day. A shift in the wind sends the plume of smoke south of us.

Gov. Kathy Hochul gave an update Wednesday on the air quality across New York State. Meanwhile, News10 spoke with asthma and allergy experts regarding the health effects of wildfire smoke. These stories, and more, are covered in your five things to know this Thursday morning.

1. Hochul gives update on air quality across New York state

Gov. Kathy Hochul gave an update Wednesday on the air quality across New York State. Far and wide, visibility is low, and haze and a smoky smell is pervading the Empire State due to Canadian wildfires.

2. Capital Region asthma, allergy experts talk health effects of wildfire smoke

Your sinuses were probably already struggling through the start of allergy season. Now add to the mix a blanket of ash and smoke blowing in from Canada, and local doctors are flooded with concerned calls.

3. Officials urge New Yorkers to renew Medicaid eligibility

Experts say during the Covid era, Medicaid enrollment increased by nearly 30%. Now that the public health crisis is over, officials are urging New Yorkers to renew their eligibility or shop around for coverage if they’re no longer eligible. During Covid, Congress prohibited states from dropping anyone from Medicaid regardless of eligibility.  This protected health coverage for many people over the past three years. But with the pandemic over, that process has changed. Some people are eligible for auto-renewal, but not all. 

4. Watervliet Police Department arrests serial thief

The Watervliet Police Department arrested a man accused of stealing from the Price Chopper at 515 19th Street on May 20. Police say that James J. Merriwether, 58, unlawfully entered the store and stole property.

5. New eatery opening at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park

Drifter’s, a new restaurant that took over the Riverlink Café, is set to have its grand opening in Riverlink Park Wednesday night. The opening coincides with a performance by Skeeter Creek in the park amphitheater at 7 p.m.