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Daily Briefing – 138

Post: Aug. 27, 2020

Testing “Swat Team” Deployed in Western NY Amid Uptick in COVID-19 Cases

Governor Cuomo deployed a testing SWAT team to Western New York yesterday to address the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the region. The team will open free rapid testing sites across the region in partnership with Kaleida Health, Erie County Medical Center, and Catholic Health. Eight new testing sites will open on Saturday, August 29.

New York State will deploy 50 rapid testing machines to support the effort and will deploy more as needed. All tests are free of charge and the results will support the contact tracing efforts being conducted to monitor and control the virus spread.  

The Governor also announced that yesterday was the 20th day that the testing positive rate was under 1 percent for the 20th consecutive day.

Read the press release

Colleges & Universities Must Convert to Remote Learning if New Threshold Met

Also on Thursday, Governor Cuomo unveiled new guidelines for colleges and universities in New York State as they open campuses for in-person learning. “We’ve seen troubling reports of students congregating on college campuses, so we are setting a threshold,” Cuomo said. “We should anticipate clusters and that’s what we’re seeing. Be prepared for it, get ahead of it.” 

Cuomo says if a college or university in New York State get 100 positive cases of COVID-19 or the number of positive cases is 5% or more of the college population, whichever is less, the school must go to remote learning and limit on-campus activity for two weeks. Positive cases will include students, faculty, and staff.

Read more at Syracuse.com

Jobless Claims: Another 1.006 Million Americans filed New Unemployment Claims Last Week

Another 1 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment insurance benefits last week, as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic continue to reverberate across the economy. 

The Labor Department released its report on weekly unemployment insurance claims Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended Aug. 22: 1.006 million vs. 1.000 million expected and vs. 1.104 million during the prior week

  • Continuing claims, week ended Aug. 15: 14.535 million vs. 14.44 million expected and vs. 14.758 million during the prior week

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Rolls-Royce Loss Widens, Won’t Recommend Dividend

Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC said Thursday pretax loss for the first half of 2020 widened and the board won’t recommend an interim shareholder payment for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.K. engineering company said it has identified a number of potential disposals which are expected to generate proceeds of more than 2 billion pounds ($2.64 billion), and that these include ITP Aero and a number of other assets. As part of its restructuring plan, the company said more than 4,000 people in its civil aerospace division had left the business and it expects at least a further 5,000 to leave by year-end across the company. This includes over 2,500 voluntary severance and early retirement agreements in the U.K., it added.

Read more at MarketWatch

OSHA Provides Free COVID-19 Posters

You can order printed copies of OSHA COVID-19 posters and guidance booklets for your workplace. All items are free and available in multiple languages. Visit OSHA’s publications page to place an order.

Order your posters

Hiring Continues Amid Pandemic

The Manifest reports that 60% of employers have recruited at least one employee since the pandemic’s start and almost 50% have hired 10 or more employees. The survey also found that 61% of HR executives expect new recruits to stay with the company for two years or longer, and over a third say issues with work-life balance will drive employees to depart.

Read the full story at HR Dive

5 Key Takeaways From Powell’s Jackson Hole Fed Speech

At a speech in Jackson Hole Wyoming Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell outlined the revision to the central bank’s policy framework. 
Before the Covid-19 shock to the economy, the work on the new policy framework, led by Vice Chair Richard Clarida, benefited from a decidedly more open consultation process, including “a series of Fed Listens events around the country,” according to Powell. These were centered on the need to adapt monetary policy to “the new challenges that arise.” Specifically, the two-year review took into account the multiyear experience of lower potential growth, more depressed global interest rates, “the best [pre-Covid] labor market we had seen in some time” and muted inflation. The result — a self-described evolution (as opposed to revolution) to the dual objectives of the Fed — includes a more “broad-based and inclusive goal” for maximum employment and the flexible use of “average inflation targeting,” which enables monetary policy to “aim to achieve inflation moderately above 2 percent for some time” following periods when inflation has been below that level.

Read more at Bloomberg

Employers Likely to Face a Wave of COVID-19 Class Action Litigation

Council Associate Members and friends Bond Schoeneck and King write that as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to drastically impact the U.S., class action lawsuits have been on the rise. Despite court closures, class action filings have increased and are expected to continue. 

The risk to companies of class and collective action proceedings has been amplified. Below are the key areas that have already flooded the court system as well as issues that we expect to drive class action litigation arising from the pandemic…

Read more at BSK