Our Blog

Daily Briefing – 210

Post: Dec. 13, 2020

NYS COVID “Winter Plan” To Begin This Week

As positivity rates and hospitalization rates continue to increase New York is recalibrating protocols with a new Winter Plan based on the most recent public health data.  The State i will make announcements regarding color zone designations on Monday, December 14th.

Here are the new metrics for determining color zone designations.

  • Red Zones: A “red zone” will be declared when a region is 21 days from 90% hospital capacity. “Red Zone” designation will put a region under NY on PAUSE restrictions, which is the Governor’s Executive Order from March 22nd, implementing a 10-point policy which closed non-essential businesses and limited public interactions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Orange Zones: A region will be designated an “orange zone” if it has 4% or higher positivity rate over the last 10 days AND 85% hospital capacity OR the NYS Department of Health (DOH) determines the region has an unacceptably high rate of hospital admissions.
  • Yellow Zones: An area will be designated as a “yellow zone” if it reaches 3% positivity rate over 10 days AND the cluster is in the top 10% for hospital admissions per capita over the past week and experiences week-over-week growth in daily admissions.

The announcement was made Friday.

COVID and Cluster ‘Surge & Flex’ Update

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, December 12th.  The State’s focus has shifted from positivity rates to regional hospitalization rates.  

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

  • Hospitalizations Statewide
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  5410
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 22%
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  685
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 26%
  • ICU Beds Statewide
    • Total ICU Beds   =  5735
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  3828
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 34%
  • ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Total ICU Beds   =  741
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  385
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 49%
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.19
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 4.96%

Here are some useful websites:

Cuomo Encourages Schools to Remain Open

Data has shown that schools have proven to be safer for students and faculty than local communities in terms of COVID-19 transmission and infection rate. Initially, experts believed schools would be sources of transmission similar to mass gatherings. However, due to high compliance with the protocols put in place, the data has shown that the positivity rates in schools is lower than the surrounding communities. Local governments have had a large degree of control in determining whether schools remain open or go to remote learning, but Governor Cuomo advocated that schools should remain open unless there is data that the school has a problematic infection rate.

Read the press release

F.D.A. Clears Pfizer Vaccine, and Millions of Doses Will Be Shipped Right Away

The authorization is a historic turning point in a pandemic that has taken more than 290,000 lives in the United States. With the decision, the United States becomes the sixth country — in addition to Britain, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico — to clear the vaccine. Other authorizations, including by the European Union, are expected within weeks.

The authorization set off a complicated coordination effort from Pfizer, private shipping companies, state and local health officials, the military, hospitals and pharmacy chains to get the first week’s batch of about three million doses to health care workers and nursing home residents as quickly as possible, all while keeping the vaccine at ultracold temperatures.

Read more at the NYT

Best Practices for Mental Health Care in the Workplace – 5 Strategies

Employee well-being and mental health care have been elevated from perks to requirements as life and work have collided amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gallup researchers note. They offer five strategies culled from top organizations, such as training managers to talk about mental health and identifying high-risk employees.

Read more at Gallup

Trust is Key to Discussing Vaccinations in the Workplace

At the end of the day, says Pearce, the workforce needs to believe that the employer is doing the right things, having balanced the needs of the organization, the safety of the employees, and the expectations of the customer.

“This success of managing the vaccination, and other issues related to COVID-19 will be achieved through an ongoing dialogue based on trust,” says Pearce.

Read more at EHS Today

West Point Tests COVID Tracking Device -Beats Navy 15-0

Cadets at West Point have been selected for a test that utilizes a wearable, proximity logging device that helps evaluate where and when COVID outbreaks happen within troops.

The system uses a Samsung smartwatch with enhanced proximity and contact logging to gather data on interactions between devices, with the distinction that no GPS data or physiological data is being gathered. That is, it’s not tracking individuals. The study is an investigation of an enhanced contact tracing technology used in Singapore. 

Army beat Navy 15-0.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

Regional Transportation Study Suggests ‘Micro-Transit’

The findings and recommendations from the study, which began in 2018, suggest improving the technological infrastructure of regional transit, based on results of 1,295 surveys representing 75 percent ridership and 25 percent non-riders.

In the vein of technological improvement, one of the implements backed by data is creation of micro-transit services. Micro-transit acts like a public Uber, or Lyft, and allows riders to directly request vehicles. The study recommends a 10-zone micro-transit service area across the three counties. Those areas would be the 17M/US-6 corridor, a west of Newburgh area, an east of Newburgh area, Beacon to Newburgh on both sides of the Hudson, south Poughkeepsie, northern Dutchess, southern Ulster County, Bearsville/Woodstock and West Hurley. 

Read more at Mid Hudson News

Talks On Stimulus Package Deadlock On State And Local Aid Despite Assurances Of Progress

Congress will return to work on Monday with one more week to hash out a comprehensive coronavirus aid bill but despite assurances from a bipartisan group of senators that a $908 billion relief framework is coming together, old disagreements are proving difficult to resolve. 

Democratic leaders want the $908 billion framework to include more federal aid to state and local governments to stave off layoffs and protect essential services, according to CNN’s Manu Raju, but many Republicans view that as a bailout for blue states and are opposing its inclusion. On top of that, lawmakers reportedly still don’t have an agreement on coronavirus liability protections for businesses and schools, a major Republican priority that Democrats say will put the interests of corporations ahead of workers’ safety.

Read more at Forbes