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Daily Briefing – 168

Post: Oct. 12, 2020

New York State COVID-19 Numbers and Cluster Initiative Update

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday, October 11th. Within the “Red Zone” focus areas, 2,190 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 81 positives or a 3.70 percent positivity rate. In the remainder of the state, not counting these “Red Zone” focus areas, 89,603 test results were reported, yielding 948 positives or a 1.05 percent positivity rate. Tracking data for the hotspots as compared to the rest of the State is below.
Positivity rates:
  • 20 hotspot zip codes: 3.70%
  • Orange 10950: 3.51%
  • Statewide: 1.12%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 1.05%
Below are some useful links

Rapid Testing to Be Made Available for Every County in New York State

The State Department of Health will deploy an initial 400,000 rapid result test kits free of charge to local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care providers to help increase access to free COVID-19 tests that can be done within 15 minutes and without having to send a specimen to a lab.

The rapid tests can be used to control new outbreaks, conduct surveillance testing, and will also be made available on a as needed basis to help schools in ‘yellow zones’ test students and staff as part of new requirements to monitor COVID-19 spread as part of the Governor’s Cluster Action Initiative.

Read the press release

Manufacturers: The Front-Line Defense Against COVID-19

Writing in IndustryWeek NAM CEO Jay Timmons and Carolyn Lee, CEO of the Manfuactuirn Institute write that “As the rate of COVID-19 cases ebbs and flows throughout the country, manufacturers have risen to the challenge in much the same way they did during WWII and other times of national crisis. Working day and night and over the weekends, they have helped us emerge from the early days of the pandemic by keeping shop floors open and making vital products, including the medical supplies and protective equipment people need to fight the coronavirus. Now manufacturing workers are spearheading our recovery, ensuring that the American economy reopens and generates prosperity. And we’ll need many, many more of them.”

“Throughout history, manufacturers have acted heroically—to protect our country and save lives. The pandemic was no exception, and manufacturing workers are a major reason why our country is on the road to renewal. If you’re ready to make a difference, pursue a career in manufacturing.”  

Read more at IndustryWeek

OSHA Refines COVID-19 Reporting Requirements

Jackson Lewis Attorneys report that on October 1, 2020, OSHA updated the FAQs again – this time taking a more reasonable approach. OSHA’s new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding its reporting and recordkeeping requirements and the conflicting state regulations create confusion for employers — and increase their chances of running afoul of enforcement efforts, say attorneys Gillian G. W. Egan and Cressinda D. Schlag of Council Associate Member Jackson Lewis.

In these most recent FAQs OSHA defines a “work-related incident” as “an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace.” This is a significant and welcomed departure from OSHA’s previous position, which eliminated the work-relatedness determination altogether.

Read more at Jackson Lewis

Great Barrington Declaration

“As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.”

Thus begins The Great Barrington Declaration, released last week by scientists who argue that most of us should return to our pre-COVID ways of life.  The declaration has generated a lot of attention and controversy. The cosigners represent a host of scientific disciplines such as public health, biostatistics, finance, and psychiatry. They include Michael Levitt, PhD, (who received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2013), Jonas Ludvigsson, MD, Angus Dalgleish, PhD, David Katz, PhD, and Mike Hulme, PhD.

Mid-Hudson Bridge Authority Traffic Off 16.55  Percent

In its August 2020 Traffic & Revenue Comparison Report the NYS Bridge Authority reported traffic on all bridges decreased by a total of 16.55 percent. There were just under one million fewer bridge crossings in the first eight months of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. There were over 4.8 million crossings this year, compared with 5.8 million last year.

The Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge had the biggest decline in traffic that with a loss of 18.05 percent. That was followed by the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, which lost 17.51 percent of its traffic. Traffic fell by 16.48 percent on the Mid-Hudson Bridge, by 15.94 percent on the Bear Mountain Bridge, and by 11.13 percent on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

Chinese Steel Production Drives Global Increase

Global steel output remained steady during August, with 156.2 million metric tons produced by 64 countries, about 0.9% more than during July and just 0.6% more than during August 2019. The World Steel Association, which tracks and reports monthly production in member nations, noted that many of the totals available for August represent estimates as a result of “ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

However, the structure of the global industry is such that Chinese steel production is offsetting decreases and adjustments made in other nations dealing with the pandemic.

Read more in American Machinist

Trucker Pay Increasing as Driver Shortage Grows, Industry Capacity Tightens

Multiple trucking companies are giving drivers pay raises, thanks in part to increased income from customers willing to pay for fast service during the coronavirus pandemic. The higher pay may also help carriers recruit new drivers to replace older ones who have retired because of health concerns and to meet higher demand caused by the growth in e-commerce.

Read more at Transport Topics

The Council of Industry 2020 Compensation & Benefits Survey is Coming October 20th 

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 Council of Industry Compensation and Benefits Survey will be available for completion beginning October 20th. Your participation provides great insight for the Council of Industry, your company, as well as your peers. The survey is co-sponsored by Rose & Kiernan and Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions.
Here is some information to help you get ready