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Daily Briefing – 221

Post: Dec. 29, 2020

NYS Updates Quarantine Guidelines to Align With CDC 

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced updated quarantine guidelines for New York which are consistent with the latest Centers for Disease Control guidance. Under the new guidelines, individuals exposed to COVID-19 can end their quarantine after 10 days without a testing requirement as long as no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. After day 10 is reached, individuals must continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14 and if any develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare provider to report this change and determine if they should seek testing. Individuals should to continue strict adherence to all recommended safe behaviors to stop the spread – wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings.

Read the press release

COVID and “Winter Cluster Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday, December 26th. 

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

  • Hospitalizations Statewide
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  7814
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .004%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in State  = 31%
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  899
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .004%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 36%
  • ICU Beds Statewide
    • Total ICU Beds   =  5,701
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  3937
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 31%
  • ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Total ICU Beds   =  681
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  405
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 42%
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.02
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 7.14%

Here are some useful websites:

Highlights of New COVID Relief Bill

Sunday night, President Trump signed the new Covid Relief Bill. Highlights include Changes the end of FFCRA Leave, Updates to PPP and EIDL programs, Extension of the Employee Retention Credit and an extension of Unemployment Insurance.  

Highlights of New COVID Relief Bill 1229 2020

McConnell: Senate Has Votes to Override Trump’s Defense Veto

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is signaling lawmakers have the votes to override President Trump’s veto of a mammoth defense policy bill as soon as Wednesday.  “The House voted to reapprove the conference report on this must-pass legislation. Today the Senate will set up a final vote for tomorrow, Wednesday, with this chamber to follow suit,” McConnell said from the Senate floor on Tuesday.

But whether the Senate holds a veto override vote today is in limbo. McConnell tried to set up the vote earlier but that effort was blocked by Democrats, who are trying to get a separate stand-alone vote to increase the amount of recently passed stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000.  If McConnell has to break a rare filibuster of the veto override effort, that would set up a 60-vote threshold procedural hurdle for Thursday.

Read more at The Hill

What We Know About the UK, EU Post-Brexit Trade Pact

The European Union and Britain on Thursday agreed a post-Brexit trade deal after almost 10 months of tortuous negotiations to govern ties when the UK exits the single market.  

Here is what we know so far about the 2,000-page accord — still yet to be published — that covers areas from fishing to future competition after Dec. 31. 

Read more at Industry Week

Pandemic Reshapes U.S. Employment, Speeding Changes Across Industries

The pandemic and related restrictions shocked the U.S. job market earlier this year, leading to a labor-force reordering as the economy recovered. Jobs have declined at retail stores, restaurants and bars and grown at warehouse and transportation businesses that serve online customers as e-commerce flourishes.

Here is a breakdown of how jobs in various categories of the labor market cumulatively changed from February, just before the pandemic hit the U.S., to November.

Read more in the WSJ

Boeing 737 Max Completes First U.S. Commercial Flight Since It Was Grounded

American Airlines Flight 718 took off from Miami around 10:40 a.m. ET, heading to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, according to aviation tracking site Flightradar24.com. The plane landed ahead of schedule, shortly after 1 p.m. The jet was grounded for some 20 months, after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed a total of 346 people.

The airline is the first U.S. carrier to return Boeing’s jetliner to passenger use — a move it announced in November, when the Federal Aviation Administration cleared the way for the 737 Max to return to commercial flight. In response to the FAA move, airlines in Brazil and Mexico put the plane back into service earlier this month.

Read more at NPR

State Attorney General Joins Parcare Vaccine Investigation – Cuomo Raises Fines

The attorney general’s office is joining the investigation of the Parcare Health Network for allegedly securing COVID-19 vaccine and administering it to populations not yet approved to receive it. Parcare operates facilities in Kiryas Joel, Brooklyn and Manhattan.  On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the AG’s office was also looking into the case and if there was any illegal activity, those who committed it could be fined $1 million and could face the loss of all their state licenses.

In a related story Governor Cuomo yesterday signed an Executive Order increasing penalties on health care providers who intentionally disregard the state’s vaccine prioritization protocols. Under the new Executive Order, providers who knowingly administer the vaccine to individuals outside of the state’s prioritization protocols may face penalties up to $1 million, as well as revocation of all state licenses. Additionally, certification of vaccine recipients will now be mandatory as part of the State’s vaccination process.

DHS Extends Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility Through January 31, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of the flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19. This temporary guidance was set to expire December 31. Because of ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, DHS has extended this policy an additional 30 days until January 31, 2021.

This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. See the original news release for more information on how to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9.

Read more at DHS